Please turn on JavaScript. This content requires Javascript to play.

  • Male cartoon character standing on top of a small box named anxiety, next to a larger box named control Prepare For The Big Day

    Learn how to prepare both mentally and practically for a big event using advice from sport psychology.

  • Male cartoon character on podium Get Motivated

    Anyone can have a goal, that's easy. The hard part is staying energised and not giving up...

  • stressed out male cartoon character Managing Stress

    Stress is all too natural. But here are some tips for keeping it under control.

Seven Steps to Success

Step 1: Decide on your goal, and know your deadline.

It's important to be absolutely clear on what your goal is, so you'll know when you get there. A goal like 'become famous' for example is no good, it's too vague.

'Complete an animation course, create a 5 minute showreel and apply for work experience at 5 companies' is much better. It might sound like a lot of hard work, and it will be. But now you're clear on exactly what you need to do.

If there isn't a natural deadline, like an exam, then choose a deadline, and write it on your calendar. This might move, but you need a date to focus on.

Step 2: Make an effective plan

Use our Brainsmart planner and tips sheet to organise everything you have to do in the time you have to do it.

Step 3: Think ahead: What sort of help will you need?

Look round corners – you now know what you've got to do and when, but will you need any expertise or practical help to get there? If so, don’t leave it to the last minute, contact people early.

Step 4: Stay motivated

A big goal will require a lot of hard slog, and a lot of persistence. You need to keep your energy and enthusiasm levels high, and this is within your own control. Here’s how to motivate yourself.

Step 5: Don't get stressed

Easier said than done when your project starts to go off the rails... but if you understand what stress is, you’ll be able to manage it better.

Step 6: Prepare for the Big Day

Many people’s goals involve a ‘performance’ of some kind at the end, whether it’s an exam, a job interview, or an important audition. Anxiety about this big event can ruin all your hard work just when it matters. However you can reduce your anxiety greatly by taking control of the situation. Successful sportspeople know how to do this, and here's how the rest of us can learn from them.

Step 7: Perform like a champ when it counts.

Time for another lesson from the world of sport psychology. Your brain’s like a computer in the sense it only has a certain amount of capacity for conscious thought. Worrying and wobbles are the result of your mind focusing on scary imaginings of Bad Stuff Happening. If you can, increase your focus on the positive aspects of what you need to do, then you’ll have less mental space left for anxious speculation. Manage your mind, in other words. Decide in advance what you're going let it think about - it'll make a big difference. Got all that? Now, go for it!


About Success.

Achieving your goals takes effort – but you'll do even better if you know the best way to organise your time, stay energised, and pull everything when it counts. Here's the Brainsmart toolbox for success...

More from the BBC

Deer in nature illustration


Packed with information, videos and games to help unwind your mind.

A doctor and a clock

Health: Stress

The effects of stress, and how to reduce them.

Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.