How To Be More Ambitious (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published July 23, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published July 23, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To reach your career goals, you need to be willing to put in the hard work and effort. Having ambition is a big part of feeling determined to work toward your dreams and desires. It can help you stay motivated and focused on what you want to achieve. In this article, we explain what ambition looks like and share how to be ambitious.

Related: How To Get Motivated at Work

What is ambition?

Ambition is when you have the desire and determination to achieve great things. Ambitious people use hard work and focus to find success in their work and personal lives. They have an inner drive that helps them stay motivated when working toward their goals.

Why is ambition important?

Ambition is an important part of achieving what you want in life. Many worthwhile goals take hard work and determination to achieve, so ambition can help you stay motivated as you work toward them. With ambition, you can begin to see your vision and figure out how you're going to make it a reality.

How to be ambitious

Here are a few steps to become more ambitious:

1. Compete with yourself

Rather than focusing on the achievements of others, focus on improving your own life and career. Your biggest competitor should be yourself. Compete by finding new ways to challenge yourself and improve your effort. When you focus on your own goals and achievements instead of comparing yourself to others, you may find it easier to stay positive and motivated.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set To Advance Your Career

2. Surround yourself with ambitious people

When you surround yourself with ambitious people, you may feel more inspired to be motivated yourself. Get to know what habits and thought processes help them be so ambitious. Seek support through networking or by finding a mentor. When choosing a mentor, find someone who is where you want to be. They can help you start working toward this place.

3. Continuously set goals

As soon as you reach one of your goals, replace it with a new one. This way, you are constantly working toward bettering yourself. When setting goals, follow the SMART method:

  • Specific: Narrow down each goal for more effective planning.

  • Measurable: Find ways you're going to measure your progress and success.

  • Attainable: Choose ambitious yet realistic goals that you can achieve.

  • Relevant: Set goals that align with your values and long-term objectives.

  • Time-based: Pick an end date for your goal to keep you motivated.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

4. Take exciting risks

Being ambitious is all about taking risks. Learn to be comfortable betting on yourself to achieve your dreams. Give yourself a chance to explore new opportunities. Even if you make a few mistakes along the way, this can serve as an important part of the learning process. When you start taking action, you can begin to see real changes in your life.

5. Embrace your imagination

When facing challenges, use your imagination to escape to a more positive state of mind. Think of all of your future possibilities and how getting through hard work now can lead to better days. Imagination is also an effective tool when creating your goals. You can always start off with big goals and then scale them back to be more realistic. Little by little you could even work toward especially ambitious goals.

Tips to be more ambitious

Follow these tips to be more ambitious and successful in life:

Make time for your goals

Instead of thinking "I'll do it later," find a time to get started on your goals. Waiting for the perfect moment to start may hinder your progress, so it's better to begin now. When planning your goals, figure out when you're going to make time for them. For example, if you want to run a marathon, you may need to wake up earlier to train.

Work on positive thinking

Finding ways to shift to a positive mindset can help you stay focused on your inner drive. Using positive self-affirmations is a great way to boost your mood and confidence. When you repeat these phrases to yourself each day, you may find yourself believing them and incorporating them into your daily life. Here are a few you can use:

  • I am capable.

  • I can achieve great things.

  • I am talented.

  • I am allowed to feel happy.

  • I am making a positive change in this world.

Shift to an abundance mindset

An abundance mindset is when you focus on the good things you have. When thinking this way, you feel that there is plenty out there to achieve and improve. This way of thinking can also make it easier to share your successes with others and support what they are working toward. It allows you to create bigger goals and feel a sense of freedom to try new things.

Related: Career Goal Statement: Why They Are Important + Examples

Reflect on your previous achievements

If your ambition is ever feeling low, reflect on everything you have achieved so far. This can help you remind yourself that you have been capable of working toward your goals and you can continue to do so. It's okay to give yourself a break from being ambitious every so often, but it's important that you find ways to get back to these positive habits.

Related: A Guide To Achievement Motivation

Find ways to stay motivated

Every person has different ways to stay motivated. Here are a few ideas to improve your desire to get started:

  • Create a personal reward system.

  • Ask your peers for feedback.

  • Remind yourself of your purpose.

  • Learn to be patient when working toward your goals.

  • Embrace healthy habits, such as exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep.

  • See every moment as an opportunity to learn something new.

  • Listen to a motivational podcast or song.

  • Switch to a more interesting task.

  • Connect with people who have similar goals.

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