“Dream big”, “go big”, “live large”, “make an impact”, “change the world”. We’ve all been at the receiving end of this advice. People love crazy-cool, ambitious goals, and many of us have them residing in our hearts. I have some myself. But after writing the last two posts about goals, I wanted to write this post as a reminder that nothing great gets accomplished without hundreds or thousands of smaller things getting accomplished first.
Even the computer you’re on right now was once just an idea. Then, somebody made a few sketches (small success), found some resources (small success), made some phone calls (small success), assembled a team (small success), pitched the idea (small success), acquired funding (small success), and on and on. In other words, a computer is not one success, but more like one thousand successes, achieved over time, leading to the final product. As a whole, a computer is a massive success, but take away the smaller successes, and it is nothing.
A novel is not one success, either. At some point, the author had a blank word document and an idea. Each page, and even each sentence, became its own success. The author thought of it (small success), wrote it down (small success), and the editor approved it or altered it (small success). Then it was submitted for publication (small success), which was initiated by contacting publishers (small success). Eventually, the book was printed (small success), and arrived at stores (small success), and if people bought it (small success), maybe it became a best-seller. But it started with a blank word document and a lot of small successes along the way. Everything does.
Back when I did my push-up challenge, I demonstrated this idea. I went from being able to do 25 push-ups in a single set to 117, just by adding 1 push-up every day. I didn’t start by saying, “Today I’m going to improve by 92 push-ups.” Instead, I said, “Every day I’m going to improve by a little, and great success will be the final result.”
Let’s bring this back to our goals. The point is, feel free to dream big and strive to do amazing things. I encourage it! The world needs big dreamers. But as a big dreamer myself, I know how hard it can be to believe in my goals…sometimes “reality” just weighs on them and crushes them. To stay encouraged, I break my goals down into teeny-tiny, bite-size, mini-goals and accomplish those. Over time, they add up and keep me both motivated and enthusiastic when I realize the progress.
My best advice, then, is to take whatever major goal(s) you are working on, and ask “What can I do today that will bring me closer to accomplishing this goal?” Maybe it’s making a phone call. Maybe it’s spicing up your resume before you send it. It could be reading a new book, calling an organization, ordering a program, making some sketches, and so on. Whatever it is, add it to your daily goals list. In fact, constantly add things to your daily goals list that will get you closer to the things on your future goals list. Baby steps is all it takes, and baby steps are easy!
Remember, unless we continuously work toward our goals, we can end up forgetting them, and/or giving up on them completely. A perfect example of this is a New Year’s resolution. They have low success rates for a reason. Don’t let your goals grow old and dusty. Break them down into baby steps and start accomplishing them one at a time.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.” ~Mark Twain
Photo by berenicegg