When you have a goal, it is all too easy to get distracted and find that you are not making progress. Alternately, you may find yourself running out of energy because real achievements take time, focus and continual effort. If you can take one small step every day then you will get where you are going. Ask yourself what small thing you can do each day and eventually you will build up the momentum you need to make that giant leap.
Part of the Ask Yourself, Improve Yourself Series
- Ask yourself “What is one thing that I can and will achieve today?”
- Check that it is small enough that you will guaranteed achieve it
- Now write it down in “First person completed form” (See below)
When to ask “What is one thing that I can and will achieve today?”
This is a question when you are low. When you are failing, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel and nothing you do seems to go right. You still have air in your lungs, but you feel like each breath just brings you down.
Why ask this question
Success is like a ship getting going. The first turns of the propeller do nothing, the ship stays where it is. It takes a great deal to get the ship moving, but getting the propeller to turn is an achievement. In fact getting the engine started is a success and even getting up in the morning to get the engine going is a win.
When you are stuck and just cannot get moving or have failure after failure, then set achievable goals no matter how small that you can and do achieve. It doesn’t matter if they are tiny, success breeds success, so start as small as necessary.
Most people believe that you need to test yourself continually and put challenges in your way. This is drilled into us at school where teaches give tests, but is actually not the best way to learn, achieve or make progress. A better way is to lock down the number of failures to a specific minimal percentage of your actions so you are continually getting positive reinforcement [and ideally also get the answer for each failure]. Good modern electronic learning games work in this way.
Success breeds success so write down a goal that is small enough that you know you will achieve no matter what happens.
Write it down in “First person completed form”
Writing down your goal as if you have already achieved it keeping it very specific.
EG. ”I sent the email to …” or “I finished reading chapter 5″, etc.
This has several subtle advantages
- It means that you avoid using words like “will” (bad in NLP)
- You are not sub-consciously loading up your to-do list
- You avoid open ended goals like “started draft”
- You can put a tick against it when complete instead of crossing it off the list.
These are subtle differences, but a tick is a celebration and crossing it off the list has a more negative connotation like one less thing to do.
Remember to keep them specific.
Process for increasing the goals over time
Don’t increase the size or number of your written down goals too fast. Only increase so you have a maximum of 20% failure. It is critical that you achieve 80% success with the goals you write down so do this by keeping them small rather than risking faiure.
- Start with goals that you are just about to do and you know you will do them.
- Write it down as if you have just achieved it.
- Do it
- Tick it and smile (smiling is positive reinforcement, feel free to air punch, clap, pat yourself on the back, sing a celebratarory song, whatever works for you)
- Now do this for a few days
- After that, increase the size and/or number of the goals and start adding a challenge like time – Do this slowly, this is not a test, it is intended that you maintain an 80% success rate. Higher is fine too.
- Finally, move to writing them down in a journal or diary the night before. this gives your mind time to mull over the completion of the goal.
Acknowledging success physically is really important – Smile, air punch, yell hurrah!
Examples of small goals (written prior to the event in this form):
Simple immediate goals
- I made myself toast today
- I finished the last chapter of my book
- I got the kids to school
Add Time to your goals
- I was out of the shower by 7.30am (write it down just before your shower giving yourself plenty of time)
- I spent 30 minute studying
- I got the kids out the door by 8am
- Adding future lock in
- I called Michael and agreed to meet next week
Add enjoyment to your goals
- I enjoyed breakfast today
- I had a good chat with Michael
- I enjoyed 15 minutes playing with the kids today
Achievable goals with action is more important than stretching yourself and risking failure
How to embed “What is one thing that I can and will achieve now?”
This is a strategy to get moving. So grab a piece of paper, Put the question at the top and write down what you are about to do (in first person completed form) and do it. Leave your paper in an obvious place and if you loose it then get another one!
Some variations you may prefer – Make up you own:
- What 1 thing can I achieve now?
- What can I achieve today?
- What can I do right now?
- What will I achieve today?
- What task will I complete today?
- What one small thing can I tick off immediately?
One of UR’s readers made an insightful comment on this [rather controversial] post http://upgradereality.com/stop-blaming-others-your-life-sucks-because-of-you. The reader indicated that telling people the that it is their own fault that their life sucks just adds another failure to their life. Failure (even if initiated originally by another party) is most likely the root cause why their life sucks, so this won’t help the problem. So that’s where the question came from – So thank you.
Now put a tick against that goal. Smile at your achievement and repeat. You can do it.