Recently read an article by Heidi Grant who listed 9 things successful people do differently. Though I will not elaborate all details of each of the points here, I will summarize and list for my benefit and comment on what I took away from this. She suggests successful people do things differently when they define goals and they do this by being extremely specific. For me, personally a goal that reads "study and read good books" is vague, however "read 50 books in 2017" is a very specific goal.
Secondly, successful people seize the moment to act on their defined specific goals. Grabbing opportunities through techniques like time blocking for me have been extremely helpful. This is easier said than done but disciplined application will turn this practice into delight; however awareness that time does slip away, or the urgent will always take precedence should keep you on guard in protecting your most valuable asset 'time'. The "whirlwind" as the authors of 4DX would say will always compete for your wildly important goals. Thirdly, knowing "how far you have left to go" is important to people who do things differently. This effectively means measuring and tracking your progress. At a given time knowing where you are at and how far your end goal lies is a conscious exercise one must practice to keep your momentum moving forward.
The others in the list of 9 things she includes had grit, building one's willpower muscle, being a realistic optimist, focussing on getting better rather than being good, and knowing your limitations and not tempting fate. Of the latter list what spoke to me most was of being the "realistic optimist" which means when you are setting goals, infuse a lot of positive energy, motivation, pep talk yourself that will help you sustain the needed focus and energy for the arduous journey ahead. This means while setting goals intentionally being willing to narrow them down. Elizabeth Grace Sunders suggests coming to a congruence between your inner desires and your external pressures. I found the three questions she suggests helpful in thinking this through when you set your professional developmental goals for the year: