You’ve got big aspirations that you’re excited to accomplish. You know just what you need to do to get there, and you’re excited to make it happen. But then, disaster strikes, and your daily goals get derailed.
What does it take to stick to these little steps that, if you could become consistent at, would change your life?
If you want to accomplish your daily goals you need to prepare for the inevitable times throughout your day that your plans will get off track. When that happens, immediately re-plan the remainder of your day. Next, know the key 3-5 choices that will make the most impact on your success. And finally, and most importantly, make sure that you’ve got a larger vision for your life that will motivate you to stick to your goals each day when it gets boring or difficult.
I’m excited to share each of these ideas with you because I’ve tried them and know that they will work for you as well as they have worked for me!
Let’s dive right in and see what you can do to turn your day around right now!
1. Make New and Inspiring Plans Every Few Hours to Get Back on Track When Your Original Plans Fall Apart
“The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done… you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do.”
– Lil Wayne
How often do you start your day early, excited to get work done, only to end up frustrated that you’re already off track by 10 am? Let’s face it, this happens almost all the time and it’s no fun.
But can you imagine how it would feel if you could immediately get back on track, keep going, and see your daily goals through to completion even after getting derailed like this?
It’s an amazing feeling. I know because I’ve done it, and it’s all thanks to the power of regular planning.
Take today for instance. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and this morning I still felt tired from my food coma. My productivity at the beginning of the day struggled. But I regained control by refocusing myself with re-planning the rest of the day twice.
At one point this morning I realized I was getting distracted so I thought to myself “what’s most important right now?”
I realized that I needed to step away from the computer to reset, and then focus on writing a book summary. I did that and an hour later the summary was done!
Then again this afternoon, I was out on a walk with my boys when I had the same thought to plan my evening. I thought about what was most important, made some mental notes on what I would do and when, and got it done!
If You Want to Harness the Power of Regular Planning, Start by Identifying When You’re off Track
For me, this usually happens mid-morning, around lunch, and mid to late afternoon. If you know the times you usually need to re-plan your day it makes it a lot easier.
You might even say to yourself “every day at 10 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm I’m going to take five minutes to check in with my plan and revise it.”
This is much more than some boring form of daily planning. It’s a chance to refocus yourself on the motivation that comes from getting projects and tasks done. And also on your higher vision, which we’ll get to in a minute.
But first, we need to talk about the power of keystone habits.
2. Focus on Getting Just 3-5 Key Choices Right
“If you focus on changing or cultivating keystone habits, you can cause widespread shifts.”
– Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
In the introduction to The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg tells the inspiring story of a woman who goes from being a divorced smoker to running marathons and traveling the world.
The entire time he’s explaining it you keep thinking “I know based on the title of the book that it’s probably because of her habits, but how on earth did this lady do it?”
I hate to spoil it for you but the answer really was her habits. The interesting thing, however, was that she did it by focusing on just a few keystone habits at a time. And those little decisions made her entire life better.
Take exercise, for instance. Here’s how it can change all aspects of your life:
- Exercising makes you eat healthier and improves sleep quality.
- When you eat and sleep healthier you look better, which can improve your relationship opportunities.
- Physical health also makes you more efficient at work, and the gains in this area grow even further when your mental health is sound from healthy relationships.
- As your productivity improves, you’ll make more money.
See how one habit can make such a huge difference throughout your life?
The neat thing is that this applies on a large scale, like in the case of Duhigg’s example in his book, and in your daily actions.
Pay Attention to Your Daily Keystone Habits
If you think about it, there are usually just 3-5 choices which, if you made right every day, would make you succeed at all your other daily goals.
For me, these include:
- Waking up at 6:19 am.
- Exercising at 6:45 am.
- Writing at 8 am.
- Going on a walk with my kids at 3 pm.
- Going to bed at or before 11 pm.
If I get all of those things right, or even just three of them, then it’s a guarantee that I’ll win the entire day.
I have proof that it works, too. I’ve been tracking my progress on my daily goals for the last year and a half. Before implementing this system I’d succeed some days and really struggle others.
Now, however, almost every day is at or near 100% because I know which decisions are most important for me to succeed.
If you want to find your keystone habits, all you have to do is answer this question:
What are the 3-5 decisions that, if I chose correctly each day, would put me on the path to succeeding in all other areas the rest of the day?
Test different options to see what works best for you. If something isn’t having the impact you thought it would, change it. That trial and error will be worth it when you know and can focus on what’s most important for you to succeed.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, focus on waking up early, exercising, and getting important work done in the morning as a start!
3. Tap Into Infinite Motivation by Connecting Your Daily Goals With Your Bigger Vision
“The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds and thousands of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private.”
– Dan Coats
Everything in the universe obeys the law that little things, whether actions or items, make up larger things.
Think of your own body. Atoms come together to form molecules, which make up cells that combine to form organs. Then those organs work together in systems, and the end result is the magnificent human body.
One atom on its own isn’t that exciting. But just look at the amazing things they create when they combine together to make things like you!
Consider also how paintings are just one seemingly insignificant brushstroke after another. David Bednar gives us a perfect example of this in the following quote:
“In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint.
However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.”
Your Daily Goals Are the Atoms and Brushstrokes That Make Up Your Biggest Dreams
Daily goals might not seem all that interesting on their own. In fact, they’re usually boring and it’s hard to keep the motivation going to get them done.
But when all of these little daily actions combine, they can mean amazing things for your life. Learn to love the boring days, as my good friend Nik says, and you’ll win every time.
People run marathons, for instance, by running just one step and one lonely mile at a time.
Investors amass fortunes with one stock investment at a time, and then with tiny daily increases over long periods of time.
Families and relationships deepen by the difficult daily choices to express love with words and actions.
Any and every walk of life obeys this principle. As Gretchen Rubin says:
“The days are long but the years are short”
And she’s right because days are hard, but they come together, one after another, to form years.
Those years will always be coming and going. The question is, will you fill them with wonderful accomplishments and personal growth? You can if you connect those seemingly insignificant daily goals with the larger vision of what you can accomplish.
So if vision is so vital to the success of your daily goals, how do you get it?
How to Add the Power of Vision to Your Daily Goals
Most often, you start out with a goal like “lose 10 pounds” or “go running 3x per week.” Neither of those really reflects your deeper desires, though. In fact, only the “lose 10 pounds” one is actually a goal, and even then, it’s a surface-level goal.
These levels of your goals are still crucial to your success. But they don’t tap into the vast potential that comes from having a larger vision of who you want to become.
Getting that is pretty simple, though. All you have to do is ask “why” at each level of your goal.
So if you started with “lose 10 pounds” you’d ask yourself why you want to do that. You might say that you want to become healthy. Now ask yourself, why do I want to do that?
Repeat this as many times as you need to so that you can find just one underlying thing that you really desire.
After trying this myself I found that I want to lose weight so that I can be healthy enough to play with my kids because I want to become close to them.
That makes every workout session easier because anytime I’m struggling to find motivation, I just think of my deepest why, which is my kids.
That also brings up the last step, which is simply to find ways to reconnect with your larger vision regularly. Ask yourself what represents your larger vision. Once you find it, identify how you can keep that present with you all the time.
You might get a wallet-sized picture of your kids and set it on the treadmill when you’re at the gym.
Or if you’re working hard on your new business you could set a picture of that place you want to vacation to as your desktop background.
Then when it gets hard to make another sales call or write another blog post, you’ve got a way to refresh your motivation immediately!
Are You Going To Take These Steps And Reach Your Daily Goals After Reading This?
Accomplishing your daily goals is just one step on the path to living your dream life. They aren’t always easy, but when you’re consistent, your life will change before you know it.
I’ve dealt with all sorts of struggles as I work toward my daily goals. I’m sure you have too. But I’ve found that these three steps provide the inspiration and motivation to stick with it even on the toughest of days. Here they are again to help you remember them:
- Plan regularly throughout the day.
- Focus on getting the most important decisions right.
- Connect your daily actions with your long-term vision.
By doing these things day after day, year after year, you’ll accomplish all of your wildest goals faster than you could ever imagine.