It’s no secret that it’s easier to set goals than it is to reach them. I know people who write entire books on setting goals, but no matter how complicated you make it, getting from where you are to where you said you wanted to be is still where the real work takes place.
Let’s say you know what you want to do, what you want to change, or where you want to go. So you say, “What I REALLY want is __________.” And then, sooner or later, sometimes immediately, there’s that little voice that says, “Well how are you gonna do that?”
That little voice says you “can’t.” You don’t have the time. You don’t have the money. You don’t have the skills. And as that list goes on and on pretty soon you don’t have the motivation either.
Or maybe you tackle that goal with gusto. You’re in overdrive. Nothing can stop you. Until something does. Then the little voice says, “See. Told ya so.”
There are two questions that will shut down that devil on your shoulder faster than a hurricane can finish off a fireworks display.
Question One: “What one thing can I do today that will put me even one step closer to my goal?”
Right, one thing. A possible thing. If you only have 15 minutes what one thing you can do in 15 minutes? If you have zero dollars what one thing can you do with zero dollars? There is always ONE thing you can do with what you have. Do that one thing. Ask the question again tomorrow.
Question Two: “What one thing can I commit to doing every day that will put me even one step closer to my goals?”
I heard a story about a personal trainer who asked his clients to promise they would put ONE running shoe on every day. They didn’t have to commit to anything more. But you know, who walks around with only one running shoe on? So then they had their running shoes on, one barrier to success down, and they might find themselves on the treadmill or taking the dog for a walk.
Nothing breeds success like a little success. The results are cumulative. So decide what you can promise yourself you will do every day. Without fail. And see what that leads to. You might reach a point where that one thing isn’t moving you closer to your goal, because you’ve already passed the point where its effective. Great. Ask the question again.
It’s that simple. I won’t promise easy. But it is simple.
In Just Blow It Up: Firepower for Living an Unlimited Life, I shared examples of these and other techniques I use for getting barriers out of my way and living life on my terms. There is a story in that book from Ava Diamond, whose goal was to do the Avon Cancer Walk. That’s no small goal, and she was in no shape to attempt it. But she asked that question, “What one thing can I do today that will put me even one step closer to my goal,” and the first day all she did was to go online and fill out Avon’s fitness plan. The next day she bought a new pair of shoes. The next day she walked around the block. Every day she repeated that question, and she did that one thing. And every day that one thing put her even closer to her goal. Spoiler alert; that story has a happy ending.
There’s also a story from my fellow coach and friend, Mitch Matthews. Mitch had a client whose goal was to write a book. But he was still working a full time job, he had a wife and kids, he didn’t want to sacrifice time with his family or the quality of his work in order to reach his goal. To him, writing a book was a big undertaking and he didn’t see how he could ever get it done. So Mitch asked him how much time he could carve out of every day. He said he couldn’t promise more than 3o minutes. So Mitch challenged him to create a blog and write on the blog for 30 minutes a day. He did that. And he loved it. And the blog got good traffic. And on the day Mitch told me that story his client had not only published a book, he was scheduled to appear on the Dr. Phil Show to promote it. He promised himself to do one small thing, every day, and it turned into a way to do the “impossible.”
There are a lot of other questions that go into setting and reaching goals. But those are the two that are most important for creating momentum.
What’s your answer today?
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