The #1 Thing You Must Do For Smarter Goal Setting

Slow Down To Speed UpNow that the firecrackers are all lit, it’s time to get back to work.  In past blog posts I’ve been talking about goal setting and the Smart Edge philosophy of small steps. It’s time to put them together.

Too often we get stuck thinking that we have to make a lot of progress in a short amount of time, or we haven’t accomplished anything. I’m guilty as charged. But the adage, “The hurrier I go the behinder I get” is true for a reason. Let’s rephrase that in a positive way – “Slow down to speed up.” Trust me, if you don’t slow down, you risk failure and burnout. Been there, done that, and the t-shirt is already worn out.

Make a goals list every day.

So what is the thing that you must do to work smarter, not harder? It’s something that is very simple to do, but also extremely simple not to do, and that is to make a daily goals list. More important, make it at night before you go to bed. This is certainly not a new idea. Charles Schwab, the president of Bethlehem Steel over 100 years ago, had the idea too.

Write down 5 things a day.

Simply write down five things, any five things, that you want to accomplish the next day. Your subconscience will start to work on them during the night. At the end of the work week, you will have accomplished at least 25 things.

Maybe it’s because of my chemo brain, but I’ve had a hard time remembering things. Writing my list every night has really jumpstarted all of my many projects, because I can keep them straight and I can think about the best way to make the right kind of progress. This blog is an example – it’s still in a state of flux, but I think I’ve found the balance between my old perfectionist streak which used to incapacitate me, and my newfound sense of forward momentum. Yes, I still want to do things well, but the most important thing is to DO them.

You start to become who you want to be.

Making a list of goals every night really starts to flex your ‘choice’ muscles. First you have to think about making your list or not. What if you don’t make your list? Well, not much right now, but you’ll get in the habit of not making your list, and then what happens the next day? You also have to choose what to put on that list – what are the top five things that are most important tomorrow to lead you toward your goals?

making a listAnother thing that happens when you make a list is that you can feel good when you cross things off it. I love the last thing on the list to the left – crossing things off your list as you have accomplished them really is a ‘self-affirmation of awesomeness.’ That sense of accomplishment and self-affirmation is a great feeling of reward, and very easy to get hooked on!

Think small to get big.

What type of things do you put on this list? Well, DON’T put things like “Pay off credit card” or “Lose 10 pounds” on your list. You can’t do those things in a day. What you can accomplish in a day are things like:

  • Read 10 pages of a personal development book
  • Cook a healthy meal
  • Walk a mile
  • Make two business phone calls
  • Open all my mail and process it immediately

Lists like these, while seeming boring and ineffectual, can really add up over the long term to get you on the right path in your personal development, health, or financial goals.

I hope you are liking my tips to personal growth. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to sign up to download my free e-report, “Thrive – What You Need To Know For Your Best Health After Cancer.”


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