Let’s call them Ron and Steve, two highly successful individuals measured by our societal standards of net worth and attainment of goals. They are both billionaires. Aside from their net worth, one powerful commonality is their focus on their goals.
Each carries a physical journal with them throughout the day. Every morning they wake to review their long-term, intermediate and daily goals; and they remind themselves why these goals matter. They repeat this routine before bed. This dirt simple routine does a few things:
- It keeps their bigger goals front and center. It’s a daily reminder to keep on task, eliminate distractions and stay the course. The Greeks knew this and taught it in the Odyssey. Odysseus instructed the sailors to fill their ears with wax and tie him to the mast to avoid the temptation of the Sirens. A daily practice of reviewing goals is the equivalent of tying yourself to the mast.
- Neuroscience has shown that physically writing down and reviewing goals daily on paper increases the likelihood of goal success. This technique is called encoding, and there is ample science to back it up.
- Ut Actio. This is Latin for “take action,” it’s tattooed on my right forearm as a reminder to stop procrastinating. Daily reviewing goals helps to eliminate procrastination and inaction. When you know what needs to be done and have been repeating it to yourself daily, you reduce wasted time on inaction.
I’m not going to claim that Steve and Ron are billionaires because of this practice, but this works for them both. Billionaires are people who are uber-clear about what they want and not wasting time. Best of all, you don’t need to be a billionaire to practice this.
When we don’t have goals, we get derailed by the next shiny object or entertaining distraction. At work, it shows up as firefighting. We tackle the next perceived “urgent” item at the expense of a more important long-term task. We undercut our own value to ourselves and the organization. On a personal level, it might show as time wasted on social media or watching tv. I can assure you this, billionaires aren’t spending time on social media.
I’m not preaching from a pulpit here. I’ve been, and often still am, guilty of not keeping my goals front and center. I’ve struggled to get clear on my goals. For me, the effort of goal setting is hard, and I’m not alone. More than 92% of the population doesn’t achieve their goals, mainly because they don’t know how to set them.
What has worked best for me is the guidance of Dr. Benjamin Hardy. He quickly became an international expert on goal setting and has written an excellent how-to.
I encourage you to take time this weekend to write your first draft of long-term, intermediate and short-term goals. Blend together work and personal life.
Get clear, get focused. Ut actio!