Two weeks ago, I wrote about our company’s quarterly goal-setting process and how we decided to only set a few big goals each quarter.  Quarterly goals serve as a sort of “down payment” on longer-term goals and as reminders for the decisions that we need to make each day.

If we don’t apply the right energy on a daily/weekly basis, the quarterly goal will not get done. And if the quarterly goal isn’t completed, longer-term objectives will be off-track.

This simple alignment concept is the secret to why some organizations and individuals accomplish so much more than others within the same amount of time and/or resources. It’s the reason that person you know is always getting big things done while you or others lament about “not having the time.”

Big goals, those things we say we really want in life, often sit on the horizon as an intimidating, seemingly impossible mountain to climb. We struggle to take the first step because we don’t map out our trek to the summit into smaller “chunks.” It’s like trying to summit Everest in one day without reacclimating at basecamps for days or weeks along the way.

Instead, we tend to attack easier, less important things on our tasks list that have nothing to do with our larger goal(s).  The result is that every time we look up at the mountain, it has not gotten any closer. And when we see others who are already halfway up, we wonder in amazement how they’ve done it.

Here are a few examples of larger goals that seem to allude us:

  • Writing a book
  • Completing a 10K, marathon or triathlon
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Paying off debt
  • Starting a business

While one person contemplates all that they have going on in their life that’s preventing them from accomplishing their goal, another person just starts working toward it.

It’s hard to underestimate the value that these small “deposits” of energy have, even over just 90 days.

While one person gets on Facebook for 30 minutes a day, another chooses to invest that same time writing a book. At the end of three months, the first person is much wiser about their friends’ vacations and the food people are eating whereas the other person has drafted the first 30-40 pages of their book.

No one really sits down and writes a book; a book is written a page a day over many months. The same is true for an athletic challenge. It’s the culmination of completing a lot of daily practices.

Not everyone needs to have big goals. What we do need to do is let go of our excuses around why we don’t have the time to achieve something that would enhance our lives for the better or get something important done. Those individuals who get a lot of really impressive things accomplished don’t have more time; they have more discipline and focus. They chip away at their audacious objectives one day at a time and the effect is compounding.

With that in mind, I have two challenges for you this week.

The first is, for just five days, track how you spend your time every hour of the day. I’ve done this and I was very surprised to see where it really went. I had been telling myself seemingly harmless white lies that were hindering my ability to get what I wanted most out of my life.

I’d venture to guess that you will have a similar experience.

The second is, write down that one big thing you’ve been talking about doing forever but have yet to start. Then, break it down into 15 to 30-minute tasks that you can do each day for the next week and see how it goes.

The Whole Life Dashboard that I developed may be able to help you with this process.

Quote of the Week

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.”

John Heywood