In my post on the myth of massive action I spoke about why it’s not a good idea to start off taking massive action, but start off with small actions. I thought this principle needed greater emphasis as to why it’s better to start small, especially if you have big goals, and want to remain consistent in achieving them. More importantly, why and how it can actually hurt you if you don’t.
First of all let me congratulate you for having those big goals of yours! It’s always great to dream big and to set a higher standard of life for yourself and your family. The first step to improving the quality of your life is to improve the quality of your standards.
I too have always had big dreams and goals (and still do). The problem was I always thought that I had to do it all in one go, that I had to work 20 hours a day. When things didn’t work out or I couldn’t maintain the momentum I would quit and think I was a failure. One of my biggest goals at the age of 19 was thinking I would become a Millionaire by 25. Maybe if I understood the value of Personal Development and mentorship much earlier in my entrepreneurship journey. Knew about the opportunities that exists today that was available back then, and developed way more consistent and discipline in my life, sure it could have happened.
I remember starting a promotion company at 17…failed. An event planning and management company at 19…failed. A marketing firm at 23…failed. A pastry business (didn’t even get that one off the ground). Soon all these failures began to weigh down on me. Fortunately, I was determined in that I knew the life I wanted for myself and my family, and knew the life I wasn’t willing to settle for. I obsessed over continually growing and learning to figure out success no matter what. What I began to realize was it’s not that the ideas were bad, but my inconsistency was. I couldn’t stay focused on the activity long enough to achieve the goal, because all I could think about was how far away I was from achieving the goal, or that every time it seemed like I made one step forward I was pushed ten steps back. It was frustrating and overwhelming to say the least (raise your hand if you can relate).
Reasons why trying to taking massive actions towards big goals actually hurts you
Have you ever had an amazingly big goal that you wish to accomplish? Of course you have! You’re a dreamer and achiever! It excited you and you couldn’t wait to go after it right? Can you remember what happened as you either thought about starting towards it or in the process of working towards it? If you can then you can probably already see why big actions hurt you.
The thought of taking big actions creates fear. This fear is different for each person, it could be the fear of failure, fear of what others will think, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough (come to think of it I’ve had all those fears at some point). When you start to think how much you will have to do to achieve that big goal your brain will immediately put you into a state fear, because now all you will think about is everything that can go wrong, and how is it even possible for you to achieve such a big goal. Our brains are designed to protect us from anything hurtful or harmful to us, or will cause us pain. So anything that causes pain and threatens our survival it will do everything to keep us from experiencing that pain, which in this case is going after that big goal you have, at the risk of your fears coming true
The thought of taking big actions overwhelms you. I mentioned this in the earlier post on massive action, but let me explain it. When you begin to analyze what it’s going to take to accomplish your goal it’s very easy to become overwhelmed at the very thought of taking action. In your mind you begin to think of this huge, unclimbable mountain in front of you that you have to overcome, this incredible obstacle that stands between you and your goal. Then your brain, like the wonderful thing it is, will always seek the path of least resistance, convincing you the goal isn’t that important. Now you choose not to be bothered with such an insurmountable task in the first place…which leads me to Number 3
The thought of taking big actions causes you to settle. The easiest thing to do when fear and the feeling of overwhelm takes over is just to not be bothered with the goal in the first place. Why bother with the goal if you’re going to fail, look bad, and be frustrated right? So the next best thing is to compromise, and suddenly the goal that once excited you now seems more like an annoyance, because you are so sure you won’t achieve it…so you settle. The sad part is if you do this repeatedly with every goal you have, soon you develop the habit of always settling, always compromising, and fall into the pit of quiet desperation, waking up one day saying to yourself “If only I had…”
I don’t want you to fall into this pit, and I’m sure neither do you. Even if you have, and you think it’s too late for you, check to see if you’re breathing and reading this…you are? That means it’s not too late for you. You can start over at any point in time and achieve that goal you’ve always wanted to. That’s the purpose of this blog! To help anyone who still has a desire for more out of life, or wants to rekindle that desire and turn their lives around, to be equipped with practical strategies to be able to do so within 5 years (or less).
What works to help you achieve your big goals?
I’m not going to go into setting goals, making plans and all of that, I’m sure you already have those things in place, and even if you don’t watch The 6 Step Process to Achievement again that will show you how. What I am giving you is how to stick with and take action consistently enough, long enough to realize those dreams and goals.
It’s using what I call the ABC Principle. I’m all for practicality, so before going into this first there is something you have to do:
1. Break down the goal
Decide how long you think it will take to achieve this goal and break it down. If you believe it will take 5 years to accomplish, then break it down into what you want to accomplish each year leading up to the 5th year that will manifest the goal. If it’s a one year goal (I recommend starting with one year goals), then break it down:
A). What will you accomplish the first 6 months and second 6 months separately
B). Take the first 6 months and decide what will you accomplish the 1st 3 months and 2nd 3 months separately
C). Take the 1st 3 months and decide what will you accomplish the 1st month of the 1st 3 months
To be sure I don’t lose you let me use actual months from January to December.
Step ‘A’ would be what you intend to accomplish from January to June, and from July to December that will lead to the end result after 12 months
Step ‘B’ would be what you intend to accomplish January to March and April to June that will lead to the end result you have for the end of June (the first 6 months)
Step ‘C’ would be what you intend to accomplish by the end of January (the first month)
It’s important to note that getting it done by the exact date doesn’t matter, it’s just to give you a framework to work with so you have something to track and measure
2. Identify what your daily activity needs to be
What action steps need to happen each day for the 1st month to accomplish the 1st month’s goal? In other words what do you need to do every day for the 31 days in January to ensure that you accomplish the goal you set for the end of January, or as close to it as possible?
Taking action using the ABC Principle
Now that you’ve done that let’s get into how to take small actions and remain consistent using the ABC Principle:
A-apply simplicity. Your daily actions should be very small and very simple and easy to execute, it should be so small and easy that the thought of how small and easy it is should be laughable…but that’s good. Our goal right now is NOT to hit the big goal, but to develop the mindset of consistency, to get you to stay in action consistently enough, for long enough until you achieve the big goal
B–be consistent. As mentioned the purpose here is consistency, don’t think about getting results, don’t think about if it’s working, don’t think about how close or far you are to hitting the goal, that’s not the aim RIGHT NOW. The aim right now is consistency. Your aim is at the end of the day you can check and see that you have completed the activity…THAT’S IT!
C-create growth. Once you are consistent with small actions for the first month, then increase your activity by a very small amount by the 2nd So if your activity was to make 3 calls every day to potential clients Monday to Friday in month 1, in month 2 increase the number from 3 calls to 5 calls…that’s it! Again don’t be caught up if it’s working or if it isn’t, consistency is what we’re after right now. You’re just doing exactly what you need to do to get to where you need to go
Once you are able to do this it helps to keep you focused on the thing that matters, the thing that will ultimately lead to the goal: small consistent daily actions. You don’t need to focus on the achievement of the goal, only the daily activity it will take to get there. That’s the mindset I want you to have from now on.
Next Action Step
Get a notepad and write down what your end goal is
Write down how long you believe it will REALISTICALLY take for you to achieve it
Reverse-engineer the yearly (if it takes more than a year to achieve it), bi-yearly (two 6 month periods), quarterly (four 3 month periods), monthly goals, and daily activities that will lead you to your ultimate end goal
Take your small and simple daily action step
Celebrate that you took your small and simple step
Repeat steps 4 and 5 for 30 days
To help keep track of your daily activity, and measure your progress download the Track & Measure sheet by entering your info below.
Your primary goal in the beginning should be to focus on consistent small daily actions. However, I would suggest by the ending of the first 30 days take time to assess what you did, and what seemed to work and what didn’t, then adjust and improve your approach for the second 30 days. This also means that you should be tracking and measuring your daily activity and progress. Continually do this each month leading up to your goal, but still remember starting out your primary goal is consistency.
To your success my friend!
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