If you’re feeling down and like you’re not getting anywhere in life, you might need some inspiration to improve. One of the best ways is to become ambitious, and this article is all about how to do that.
These are the 5 steps to become ambitious:
- Spend time with ambitious people.
- Take time by yourself to discover what inspires you to act on your biggest goals.
- Start with tiny goals to get some wins and understand how good it feels to be ambitious.
- Set bigger goals and be patient and persistent to achieve them.
Ambition is a strong desire to accomplish your goals even though they require hard work. Ambitious people are focused, dedicated, get stronger from setbacks, work hard, and stick with their goals even when they’re difficult to reach. Learn more here.
The reason you want to become ambitious is that it’s a lot more fulfilling because it allows you to live up to your full potential.
It’s a matter of choosing to do the difficult things that are good for you, rather than avoiding them and having to deal with the problems that come from inaction.
So let’s get right into it and learn how to become ambitious!
Step 0: Spend Time With Ambitious People
This principle is summed up nicely in one of my favorite quotes:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
Or another way to put it:
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” ― Dan Pena
The easiest way to become ambitious is to spend more time with other people who you consider to be ambitious.
But the biggest problem with this is that you likely don’t know a ton of ambitious people right now. Otherwise, you’d be ambitious, per the two quotes above.
So you need to do two things:
- For the long run, you need to work on finding more ambitious friends. Think of places that these kinds of people would go, then be there. Usually, I find that ambitious people are in certain places online, rather than at parties or other social events, so look on the right social media accounts and reach out to connect with people who inspire you.
- In the short term, listen to books written by ambitious people. It’s almost the same as spending time with them and thus, they can be one of the “five people that you spend the most time with.” Some of my favorites include Ryan Holiday, Benjamin Hardy, and Stephen Covey.
Think about how you feel when you spend time with energetic people and this will start to make more sense.
When you’re with certain people, don’t you always leave feeling inspired and motivated to be better? I’ve got a ton of friends like this and I love being around them because they always fill me with ambition.
So, find ambitious people, online or in person, and spend more time with them and you’ll become more ambitious.
Step 1: Take Some Time to Find What Inspires You to Action
One thing you’ll need to remember as you work to grow your ambition is that nobody is coming to save you. It’s entirely up to you to make the changes you want become reality.
That might make it sound harder than it actually is, though. Remember that you can change your entire life if you can give yourself just 15-30 minutes of focused action per day.
Or even just 30 minutes of journaling to get you started.
Begin by setting aside some time when you know you can be alone without interruption. I find that Sunday mornings or afternoons are best for this. You could even take a lunch break at work to do this if you wanted.
Get a piece of paper or a journal, or use the Notes app on your phone and during this time, ask yourself these questions:
- What lights me up inside?
- Which jobs made me feel the best while I was doing them?
- What makes me angry if I don’t do it?
- What goals excite me when I think about accomplishing them?
You might have to take some time to really figure each of these out. If you need some help you can ask other people. What you’re trying to do is find your strengths and what gets you into a flow state to spark your ambition.
Be prepared to not figure it all out at once, too. You may need multiple journaling sessions. Or you might get a flash of inspiration while at work or school.
Step 2: Set Small Goals That Motivate You to Get Some Small Wins Behind You
Once you have some potential aspirations figured out, it’s time to start setting small goals and trying things out. Take what you found in the last step and just go for it.
Here are some examples of what you might do:
- If you found that the idea of working for yourself excites you, begin by writing online to see what kind of opportunities come your way.
- Maybe you had the idea to run a marathon. Start by signing up for a 5K and training for it.
- Or maybe like me, you learned that one of the times you feel most alive is when you’re hiking. What I’ve done, and what you could do, is set the small goal to go hiking every Saturday morning.
Whatever it is, set a small goal and start working toward it. You want something tiny enough and simple enough that you can get a quick win.
That’s because when you start to succeed, you gain confidence, and that feeling of “I can do this” is contagious and spreads into all of your goals. As you keep setting and achieving small goals, the improved confidence will make you more ambitious to go after bigger and bigger goals.
Remember to begin small. Even the tiniest win will propel you forward to greatness.
Step 3: Set More Ambitious Goals and Stay Consistent Until You Achieve Them
Once your ambition starts to grow, it’s time to set bigger, more exciting goals. These are the kinds of aspirations that may take months or years to achieve and are the epitome of what it means to be ambitious.
The pattern you’re going to follow is simple:
First, find the one goal, the biggest, that is the most inspiring for you. You’ll know it because it’s the one that the idea of achieving fills you up with excitement so big you can hardly contain it.
Then, it’s time to make a plan to achieve that goal. You’ll need:
- Action steps
- Weekly outcomes and quarterly milestones
Your daily action steps should lead you to accomplish your weekly outcomes, which, over the course of each 12 weeks, will allow you to reach your quarterly milestones.
You break it down in this way because you can only accomplish a big goal by making it into bite-sized pieces that you can work on every day.
Then, it’s time to get to work. Do everything you can to stay consistent, because that’s the key to success. Think of a small tree root growing below heavy concrete and breaking it up.
That can be you, breaking your goals up into achievable parts, but only if you put in the work every day. Challenge yourself to see how many days in a row you can stick to your action steps. Or try a Ulysses Contract.
And finally, the last step is to set up a tracking system. You can use a journal, an app, a spreadsheet, or just the Notes app on your phone.
However you do it, you need a system where you record whether or not you did your action steps each day and whether or not you reached your outcomes each week.
Do a daily review to check in with your tasks and note any difficulties you’re having. Then do a weekly review in which you see how you’re doing overall and if you’re moving toward your big goal.
Remember: set, plan, act, track. Start small, and you’ll win big. As one of my good friends says:
“Big things never start big. Everything in this life starts small.” — Nik Goke
Let’s Wrap This Up
In review, here are the steps to become ambitious:
- Get friends who are ambitious or read books by ambitious people
- Spend time finding what inspires you to action
- Start with some small goals to get some confidence
- Set bigger goals and follow the set-plan-act-track system to accomplish great ambitions