This is the second article in a two-part series. Click here to read the first installment about how to find your why and why it’s important.
Once you’ve found your why, what are the next steps? We’ve uncovered a huge motivator, but it’s just that: huge. A large goal can seem daunting, even with the clearest of “why’s” behind your actions. Instead of focusing on the big picture and end result, break it down into small steps. I think of this as practicing daily excellence.
Practicing daily excellence is the accumulation of small actions to eventually produce big results. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but over time small actions add up. Look at writing as an example. If you set out to write 200 words per day, at the end of the year, it’s going to be 73,000 words. The average length book is around 80,000 words. In a year, you’ve essentially written a novel. That’s incredible. In fitness, 0.5 pounds per week doesn’t seem like much. But over time it adds up to 26 pounds in a year!
Bill Gates once said:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
The same hold true for a day and a year. We overestimate what we can do in a single day, but underestimate what we can do in a year. Throughout our day-to-day lives, we don’t notice the importance of little things. We don’t see how these little actions become huge with compounded over time.
To remind yourself, I suggest having small reminders of your greater goal and know exactly how those little actions fit into the larger plan. Use quotes or a tangible item that reminds you daily.
For me, I have a planner and I note each action I take toward my big goal. I write down the focus of each day, as well as the week. Before each month, I plan what small actions I’m going to take over the course of that time period. Tangibly, I have a ring I wear to remind me of my “why”. Every time I see it, I’m reminded why I stay up later recording a podcast or checking in with clients.
Once you know your why and choose something each day that reminds you of it, you’re able to keep it top of mind. With the why top of mind, it makes the hard things worth it. That’s not to say each choice will be easy, but it will be worth it.