THE BLOG
12/30/2014 03:31 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The One Thing You Need to Achieve Your Goals

urfinguss via Getty Images

We all want to be happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser. Every year we make new goals to change our habits so that we may live better. Days and weeks pass, then months, then years, and soon enough you're much older, but you're still trying to achieve the same goals you had for yourself years ago.

When it comes to goals and actually accomplishing them, one thing separates the achievers from the dreamers, the walkers from the talkers, and the winners from the losers.

The one important thing that makes the difference on whether you achieve your goals or not is...

Action.

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Without action, goals are distant futures, deferred dreams, and figments of your imagination. Unaccomplished goals become reminders of current and past failures and accumulate to become a lifetime of regrets. Inactivity creates short-term comfort, but long-term hardships.

With action, goals are steps on a journey, an iterative process, and a learning cycle. Goals are attainable, reachable, and built upon. Goals become benchmarks for future successes and opportunities for new gains. When movement is made on your goals, you learn what you're made of and what's most important to you.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. -- Albert Einstein

I've been able to accomplish a number of goals this year that I'm particularly proud of. These are the goals that I've thought about for years, but never got around to doing. Now I finally can say they are done. This year I have:

  • Completed a half marathon and a full marathon.
  • Lost 15 pounds and returned to my high-school physique.
  • Read more books this year than the sum total of the last four years.
  • Started and grew my blog, Live Family Travel.
  • Became a regular contributing blogger on The Huffington Post and other publications.
  • Started writing the first draft of my book.
  • Started my first crowdfunding campaign for charity.
  • Eliminated more than 90 percent of my family's material possessions.
  • Traveled the world with my family on a cultural sabbatical for over five months (Upon our return, we then decided to go all-in by taking a full gap year of travel in 2015.)

For all of these accomplishments, I started with baby steps, which led to bigger steps, which led to continual forward movement. With each step, I gained more confidence and received more favor and grace along the way. Step by step, each of my goals went from dreams to realities.

A thousand mile journey begins with a single step. -- Lao Tzu

Ready. Set. Action. Take a first (baby) step towards your goals. Then take another, then another, and discover where the road leads you. You'll be amazed how far you can go.

Originally appeared on LiveFamilyTravel.com. Images courtesy of author.

Cliff Hsia is a father who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. He writes about travel, family, love, happiness, faith, and everything else that life throws at him.

Read Cliff's articles at Live Family Travel and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.