Get All Access for $5/mo

The 4 Attributes You Must Develop to Achieve Everything You Want in Life Creating a life plan gives you the framework you need to support real, meaningful change and reach your full potential.

By Meiko Patton Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Everyone wants success. But are you willing to change?

Without change, there can be no growth. And in order to get what you've never had, you must become someone you've never been. Before you go into the woods, you'll need a map. Rest assured others have forged the route before you. Their experiences can help guide you to your own best you.

Live forward by making a life plan.

With "Living Forward: A Proven Plan To Stop Drifting And Get The Life You Want," authors Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy help you begin to become the architect of your own life. Most of us make plans for everything -- vacations, dinner, our children's school functions. But rarely does a person make a life plan. If I asked you to summarize your life plan, could you tell me? Probably not.

If you finally want to live with more intention and purpose in your life or become an entrepreneur now and not later, then your extraordinary life is on the other side of your life-planning design process.

Related: Are You a Candidate for Reinvention?

"Living Forward" offers solid advice in several key areas:

  • Understanding why you need a plan (because as humans, we drift and get distracted).
  • Learning how to create your life plan beginning with the end in mind (answering, "What legacy do you want to leave behind?").
  • Making it happen (triaging your calendar and scheduling your priorities).

Many of us see change as threatening. Some even regard it as the destroyer of what is familiar and comfortable rather than the creator of what is new and exciting. Unfortunately, comfort is the enemy of excellence.

"For the timid, change is frightening, for the comfortable, change is threatening, but for the confident, change is opportunity," motivational speaker Nido Qubein writes in "Stairway to Success: The Complete Blueprint for Personal and Professional Achievement."

Decide what you'll do with your current opportunity. In order to grow and achieve new heights in your life, you must make a commitment to change. Focus your attention on growing in areas that will add personal and professional value. Don't let your comfort zone kill the excellence within your reach. Make your life plan today.

Distill your thoughts and actions to 4 key attributes.

New York Times best-selling author Brendon Burchard believes there are four cornerstones to achievement. In "The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive," he writes that if you truly want to succeed in your career, you must develop four attributes: desire, direction, discipline and distraction radar.

Desire. You have to really want it. Your new endeavor should make you feel alive -- it might even keep you up at night. Your desire to develop greater KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) will lead to you becoming a better person in the process. The challenges you encounter will test your boundaries, forcing growth.

Direction. Desire is one thing, but you need to harness it by learning to stretch your competency. You must be willing to educate yourself in new ways. You might take a class or attend a seminar, read a new biography, participate in a webinar, ask for help or seek out mentors. Learn how others have achieved a goal, model it, and mimic their strategies while you carve out your own path. Be a student of life. Continue to read and expose yourself to new ideas. Never stop learning.

Discipline. Success is within your reach if you're willing to be more consistent than ever before. You must establish habits and repeat them every day until they are second nature. Ask yourself, "What discipline could I consistently follow to get me where I want to be in my career?" Don't think of discipline in a negative way. Think of discipline as the joyous pursuit of your dreams.

Distraction Radar. You inevitably will be distracted from your goals. Many things compete for your time -- emails, phone calls, social media, television and the list goes on. The world will toss its agenda in front of you. You have to be savvy enough to recognize distractions and move them out of your way. Listen to those moments your distraction radar sounds a warning and take away these interruptions' power to sap your time and energy.

Related: To Achieve Your Goals You Must Become Attractive on the Inside

To begin thinking more intentionally about these four attributes, ask yourself a few pointed questions tomorrow morning:

  • What do I desire today?
  • What direction will I take today?
  • In which area will I be disciplined today?
  • To which distractions will I not succumb today?

Plan how you'll deal with resistance to change.

In order to continually implement these four attributes, you need a system -- a framework -- to which you continually return when you fall off the motivational wagon. It's resistance at work, and it happens to the best of us. In Steven Pressfield's book "The War of Art," he puts it quite bluntly.

"Resistance's goal is not to wound or disable," Pressfield writes. "Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique priceless gift we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death."

Related: 5 Proven Ways to Turn Failure into Success

Start each day focused and productive.

How you wake up and start each day is vital to your levels of success in every area of your life. Author Hal Elrod makes a compelling case in "The Morning Miracle: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)." He writes that "Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days -- which inevitably create a successful life -- in the same way that unfocused, unproductive and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive and mediocre days and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible."

Aren't you excited by those words? I know I am. Remember, when you start changing your habits, you are changing who you are becoming. It's by far the greatest determinant in your quality of life now and in the future. Still, most people avoid change. This will not be you. This is your time to banish self-limiting thoughts and share your gifts with the world.

Related: How to Wake Up at 4 a.m. and Be Successful

S.A.V.E. yourself from an unfulfilled life.

The framework that helped Hal Elrod can help you. He identifies six practices as Life S.A.V.E.R.S. Each letter signifies meaning.

The first "S" is for silence. Elrod starts his day silently to reduce stress and anxiety. During his silence, Elrod likes to meditate, pray, reflect, do some deep breathing and concentrate on gratitude.

"A" is for Affirmations. Elrod challenges readers to identify five simple outcomes that create personalized affirmations:

  • What you really want (program your mind with beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that are vital to you being able to reach Level 10 success).
  • Why you want it (when you are clear about your deepest whys, you will gain an unstoppable purpose).
  • Whom you commit to being, in order to create your new reality (life gets better only when you do).
  • What you commit to do to attain it (write down an action step or steps and stick to your list).
  • Which inspirational quotes and philosophies you'll read to influence your thoughts (my favorite motivational speakers are Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar).

"V" is for Visualization, a tool most successful athletes use. I like to call it intentional daydreaming. Visualization enables you to see a future you want. When you do it often enough, you'll look for ways to make that future your reality. Visualization can be a powerful aid to overcoming self-limiting habits such as procrastination. It helps you find the willpower to take necessary actions and achieve your goals.

"E" is for Exercise. Author and thought leader Robin Sharma said, "If you don't make time for exercise, you'll probably have to make time for illness." Get moving. You might never feel like working out, but remember that emotion follows motion. Once you start moving, you'll feel good you did it.

"R" is for Reading. It's said that "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read." You must develop a love for reading -- or at least remember the previous point about emotion following motion.

The last "S" is for Scribing -- another word for journaling. When I get something out of my head and onto paper, I see it more clearly. Journaling can help you gain mental clarity as you reread your own thoughts in black and white.

Devote six minutes each morning.

You might think all this will take too much time to do each morning. Do you have at least six minutes to spare? Then you have enough time. Just take one minute for each.

  • Minute 1: Wake up and say a prayer of gratitude.
  • Minute 2: Repeat your affirmations to help tap into your unlimited potential.
  • Minute 3: Visualize yourself smiling and laughing with a loved one.
  • Minute 4: Write down a reason you have to be grateful today.
  • Minute 5: Read a page or two in a personal or professional development book.
  • Minute 6: Run in place for 60 seconds.

Realize it takes daily discipline to form new habits.

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments," Charles Duhigg writes in "The Power of Habit." That bridge must be crossed daily. Habits are behaviors you repeat regularly and most often, subconsciously. As Duhigg puts it, "People do not decide their future, they decide their habits and their habits decide their future." The key is consistency.

Elrod agrees. He believes it takes at least 30 days to solidify a habit. You might feel discomfort or even some pain in the first 20 days. The transformation comes in the last phase, when the new habit becomes a part of your identity. It transcends the space between something you're trying and who you are becoming, leading you to associate pleasure with your new habit.

  • Days 1 to 10 are Phase One: Unbearable.
  • Days 11-20 are Phase Two: Uncomfortable.
  • Days 21-30 are Phase Three: Unstoppable.

To achieve real, meaningful change, you must first design your life and then emulate the four attributes every morning. The first step begins with dedicating yourself to this new purpose.

Will you commit?

Meiko Patton

Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author

Sacramento-based Meiko S. Patton is a writer for the federal government and author of How a Postage Stamp Saved My Life.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.

Business News

Joey Chestnut Is Going From Nathan's to Netflix for a Competition 15 Years in the Making

Chestnut was banned from this year's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest due to a "rival" contract. Now, he'll compete in a Netflix special instead.


Are Your Business's Local Listings Accurate and Up-to-Date? Here Are the Consequences You Could Face If Not.

Why accurate local listings are crucial for business success — and how to avoid the pitfalls of outdated information.

Money & Finance

Day Traders Often Ignore This One Topic At Their Peril

Boring things — like taxes — can sometimes be highly profitable.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.