In our previous exercise we picked one big ambition for the year and mapped out a journey to that destination. There’s a reason we do vision work in multiple areas and then pick just ONE goal to work on. Focusing our effort on one goal actually helps us accomplish many. A rising tide lifts all boats. And real progress in one area builds confidence that we can do hard things. You can hold multiple goals and FOCUS on just one. Don’t drop the others, just don’t make yourself a to-do list spread thin across all of your goals equally – focus on one.
In our exercise yesterday, we mapped out mile markers for the journey that will bring you to the accomplishment you envisioned. Pull that back out. Starting today and moving forward, you will choose one thing to accomplish TODAY that moves you closer to that FIRST mile marker.
Now let’s talk about what kind of activity is going to actually move you closer to your first mile marker. If you look back at your idea soup, and if you are honest with yourself, there are probably two types of activities – and depending on your personality, one type may feel more comfortable to you. These are the “safe” activities… a.k.a. “distractions.” These activities are progress-adjacent, but don’t result in real progress.
If your goal is to write a book, then “attend a writing seminar” might be on your list. If your goal is to run a marathon, then “research running plans” might be on your list. While these may be activities that you will end up doing on your journey, they don’t technically move you any closer to real progress, so they should not count as your one thing for the day. You would be better off for your one thing to be “open a word doc and write ten words” or “put on lace-up shoes and walk to the end of the driveway”. And if that is all you are able to do for the day, then do it – and be sure to celebrate once you have by revisiting your vision of accomplishing your ambition. Then tomorrow, write for ten minutes, or walk around the block.
This is not a resolution in the typical sense of the word, like “this year I will exercise every day” or something like that. This is closer to what Dave Ramsey advises in his “debt snowball” approach to paying off debt. With a resolution, once you break it (and you will), psychologically something happens that says “well, I didn’t make it.” With your mile marker, each day is a decision to do something that day to bring you closer. Even if you missed yesterday, you can still do something today that moves you closer, and even if you only make a tiny bit of progress today, it’s closer than you were yesterday. Progress builds momentum, and momentum carries you all the way to your ambition faster than you could ever have imagined.
So set many goals, but choose one to make your focus. Each day do ONE thing that brings you closer to that goal. Use your mile markers to break up a big goal. Remember to revisit your vision of what it will feel like to accomplish your ambition – you will need that fuel to get you through the hard work in front of you. And go for it! It will be worth it!
Download a free printable workbook with all six exercises here: