January 15

Do This Now: Take Small Steps Toward Big Dreams

Big Dreams Don't Come From Big Swings

Do you ever struggle to achieve your goals?

For the past 15 years, I've coached high performers, and I've found that most people initially come to coaching because they're struggling to achieve a goal. But, why?

I think it's because most conventional wisdom about goal setting is limiting. If you Google "how to achieve your goals," you'll find 775-million search results in under a second. Most of that advice will tell you the set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based; you know, smart goals.

Now, there's nothing wrong with smart goals, except that they're limiting, and I’ve found that most people are taking big swings at small goals.

What we want to be doing is taking small steps toward big dreams. 

Dream Big

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal" - Earl Nightingale

Earl Nightingale said, "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." Think about that for a minute. Ideal. What you're pursuing should be ideal, not measurable, and it should get you up in the morning.

The ideal is something that exists only in your imagination. It's a concept of what's perfect, something to aim toward.

And, it's not just an ideal; it's worthy. It's worthy of your attention, worthy of your time, worthy of your energy. It's worthy of your struggle.

What is your worthy ideal?

Take some time to discover that. Write it down. Don't worry if you don't know how to achieve it. If you knew how to get there, it wouldn't be exciting to pursue. Don't focus on what's probable focus on what's possible.

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination." - Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein said, "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." And, he said, "Imagination is everything; it's the preview of life's coming attractions." And, he said, "Logic will get you from point A-to-B, imagination will take you everywhere."

So take some time to dream, to imagine.

Identify Key Moves

"Tactics without are the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu


Once you've identified your worthy ideal, your big dream, it's time to identify your key moves.

Sun Tzu, the ancient philosopher and warrior, said that "tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Most people fail because they're too busy focused on doing. And, what they're doing is not aligned with a strategy or a vision.

Before you get busy, set your direction. Create your strategy. Determine your milestones. The bigger your dreams, the more milestone you need. If you have really big goals, you might need to set milestones for the next three to five years. Maybe you need milestones for the next year or the next quarter.

The milestones become your S.M.A.R.T goals.  They should be:

  • Specific - Can you clearly articulate what you want to accomplish?
  • Measurable - How will you know when you've achieved it?
  • Attainable - Can you complete it in the time frame allowed?
  • Relevant - Are they aligned with your big dream?
  • Time-Based - Do you have a deadline to complete it?

Key Moves

Once you have your milestones, determine the key moves you need to make to hit those milestones. You don't need a lot. These are vital moves, not every move. Think about the next 100-days.

What 3-5 key moves can you make in the next 100-days that will help you to reach your milestone targets? Write them down.

Small Steps

Most of us are either good at starting or good at finishing. If you're good at starting, you often get bored in the middle and look for another project to create. If you're good at finishing, you often procrastinate until you have a deadline.

The productivity hack for both people is to shorten the timeframe for achievement. If you're a good starter, shorten the time frame between starts. If you're good at finishing, move up the deadline. 10-day goals accomplish both.

Take your key moves, and determine what you want to accomplish toward those moves in the next 10-days. These will be small steps you can take next week that move you in the right direction. Ten sets of 10-day goals over the next 100-days to hit your milestones.

Don't focus on the dream. Keep it alive to motivate you. Focus on what you will do in the next 10-days to make progress. Work hard for 10-days. Then set another 10-day goal.

What can you do in the next 10-days to move you toward your dream? It doesn't have to be significant. It should be small. 

Make progress. Build momentum.

3-Key Moves

Now, let's take action. Here are your 3-Key Moves:

  • Dream Big. Identify your worthy ideal. Write it down.
  • Plot your key moves.  Write them down.
  • Set your 10-day goals.  Take one step today.