Most of us know how to set goals.
WE KNOW WHAT WE WANT!
WE KNOW HOW TO GET IT!
Jeez…if I want to lose weight all I have to do is eat less and exercise more. If I want to see my bank balance increase all I have to do is spend less and save more. If I want to increase business I KNOW that sales is a numbers game – so all I have to do is increase the number of potential customers that I’m talking to and voila – ACME INSTANT SALES SUCCESS!
Except – you and I both know that we continue to struggle in all these and other similar areas in our lives.
So what’s missing?
Doing just a few things that you can influence, and in doing those things predict fairly easily whether you will reach your goal in the time that you have set for its achievement.
Jim Collins in his book Great by Choice asks :
Are you an Amundsen or a Scott?
In October 1911, two teams of adventurers made their final preparations in their quest to be the first people in modern history to reach the South Pole. For one team, it would be a race to victory and a safe return home. For the second team, it would be a devastating defeat, reaching the Pole only to find the wind-whipped flags of their rivals planted 34 days earlier, followed by a race for their lives — a race that they lost in the end, as the advancing winter swallowed them up. All five members of the second Pole team perished, staggering from exhaustion, suffering the dead-black pain of frostbite, and then freezing to death as some wrote their final journal entries and notes to loved ones back home.
It’s a near-perfect matched pair. Here we have two expedition leaders — Roald Amundsen, the winner, and Robert Falcon Scott, the loser — of similar ages (39 and 43) and with comparable experience. Amundsen and Scott started their respective journeys for the Pole within days of each other, both facing a roundtrip of more than 1,400 miles into an uncertain and unforgiving environment, where temperatures could easily reach 20˚ below zero even during the summer, made worse by gale-force winds. And keep in mind, this was 1911. They had no means of modern communication to call back to base camp — no radio, no cellphones, no satellite links — and a rescue would have been highly improbable at the South Pole if they screwed up. One leader led his team to victory and safety. The other led his team to defeat and death.
What separated these two men? Why did one achieve spectacular success in such an extreme set of conditions, while the other failed even to survive?
The short answer is that one of them was consistent in the number of miles he chose to cover on a daily basis regardless of the conditions – 20 miles to be exact. The other would determine how many miles he would cover based on the weather. In bad weather – very little or none at all in good weather, traveling much longer distances to the point of exhaustion sometimes not being able to take full advantage of good weather on the following day, being too tired to move! You can read more about that journey here and here.
What I want you to think about is this –
- are you working on way too many goals to be effective?
- are you acting in spurts or are you doing a little bit everyday?
- the little bit that you’re doing every day: is it taking you toward your goal or further away from it?
- are you staying with those daily actions long enough or are you bobbing and weaving, trying different things, losing steam and losing confidence in your ability to achieve your goals?
- are you noting all your efforts so that you can SEE your progress?
- are you modifying your plans if they’re not bringing you the results you want?
Make today your New Year!
Spend some time today thinking and answering these two questions:
- How can I structure my day so it’s optimally designed to get my most important tasks done early – those tasks that will predictably help me achieve my goal?
- How can I be more consistent in my daily performance?
Remember, consistency is key but you must first identify those things that you can do daily, that you can easily measure, and that you can have influence on, to determine whether you reach your goals or not!