One of the greatest experiences of my life has been training for and running a full marathon-yes 26.2 miles. In a row. All at once. While most people would sign up for a 5k or 10k prior to running a marathon, I did not. That’s right, the first race I ever ran was a marathon. This may seem extreme, but through my training I ran many 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons—I just didn’t have to pay the registration fee.
What I learned is that the mental game of finishing a shorter run is VERY different to that of running a marathon. In fact, I would contend that more than 50% of running a marathon is mental. You have 26.2 miles and hours of work ahead of you, so how do you overcome this huge mental task? You break the race down into miles, minutes, blocks, or any other small segment…that’s how. Thinking about making it to the finish line is too overwhelming, but making it to the next street sign is do-able.
I’m telling you this because our daily goals are like the “next mile” or the “next block or street sign” of our big goals, which are our marathons. If you don’t set daily goals you will NOT meet your big goals. Just like if I didn’t make it to the next block, street sign, or mile, I never would have finished my marathon.
Setting Goals Helps Establish Boundaries
Not only is setting daily goals one of the best ways to ensure success in your business and personal life, it also offers you freedom. By being intentional with your daily goals you get rid of the feeling that you need to accomplish everything and you are able to set boundaries around how you use your time. Knowing what is most important for you to accomplish at the beginning of each day it makes it much easier to say “no” to all the other less important things that come up.
Remember—we established last week that your “to do” lists will always be full and completing it is, in fact, impossible. For more information on time management check out last week’s blog post HERE.
4 Steps to Setting Daily Goals
Step 1: Set Big Goals. Before you set your daily goals you’re going to need to have some direction. Each quarter consider where you’re at in your business and where you’d like to go. Then set no more than three big goals that you believe will help move your business forward in the upcoming quarter. For more information on how to set goals, check out this SMART Goal Setting Guide.
Step 2: Break Down Big Goals. After you have your goals established, break each one down into all the steps that you need to complete to reach that goal. No step is too small. In fact the more things you can think of the better.
Step 3: Prioritize Steps. After you’ve broken down your goals prioritize the steps. Start with the steps that logistically have to come first, then move on to the steps that will have the most impact toward the end goal (remember often these are the steps we want to do the least).
Step 4. Add Steps to Daily Goals. Once your steps are prioritized you can start adding them to your daily goals list. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your goals won’t be met in a day either. Make sure your daily goals also follow the SMART Goals Guidelines found in this Goal Setting Package. Ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time sensitive.
Make Time for Setting Goals
My preference is to set my daily goals the night before. I work best in the morning and I don’t want to use my valuable energy establishing goals. I want to use that energy to hit the ground running. Every morning I already know what I need to accomplish that day. That doesn’t mean that things don’t come up throughout the day, but with my daily goals set, I am better able to evaluate the importance of the additional items that always tend to pop up.
As you cross off each daily goal feel good that you’re one step closer to the finish line. Imagine that you’ve just completed another mile or hit the next street sign. Now you are that much closer to finishing your marathon and meeting your big goals. No matter what you do, stay in the race and keep pushing forward. You will get there one daily goal at a time.
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