The 1% Rule and Other Ways to Make Goals Manageable


Goals. They're the things that motivate us to wake up a little early every morning and stay up a little late at night. They give us something to look forward to.

Do you have big goals? Do you get overwhelmed by the sheer size of them or wonder how you'll achieve them?

If so, here are five effective ways to achieve your big goals. (See also: But I Don't Want To! Secrets of Self-Motivation)

1. Write Your Goals Down

The very first thing you should do is to write down what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. How else can you get clarity on what you want to do?

After you write down your goals, put them in a place where you'll see them every single day. For example, your bathroom mirror. That way, you'll see them at least twice a day — when you wake up to get ready for the day and before you go to bed at night.

How does this help?

Looking at your goals every single day will keep them at the forefront of your mind. This, in turn, will motivate you to take action on them. You'll look for things to do that'll bring you closer to achieving your goals, and you'll look for ways to do better than the day before.

2. Focus

After you figure out what goals you want to achieve and have written them down, you've got to dedicate time to achieve them. For many of us, this is easier said than done. We all lead busy lives, often with a job to go to in the daytime and a family to take care of at night.

So how do you have time for your goals?

The answer to that question is this — you need to learn how to manage your time better.

One thing you can do is decide what you will give up so that you free up time to pursue your goals. This is where knowing why you want to accomplish a goal becomes important.

For instance, a big time-waster for many people is TV. Sure, we may need to unwind in front of the TV for a short while after a long day at work. But if you can get into the habit of cutting down on your time watching TV and thinking more and more about your goals, you'll give yourself the time to work on your worthwhile projects.

3. The 1% Rule

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." – Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu

Did you know that if you improve just 1% everyday, in 71 days you'll be twice as good? Yep, it's true. And since I'm a nerd, here's the math behind it. Go ahead and plug this formula into Microsoft Excel: =(1*(1.01)^71)

The answer comes out to a little bit over 2.

How does this apply to your goals? Let's say you're trying to exercise more.

This means that if you start by walking one mile today, tomorrow you should walk just a little more than a mile. The day after that, you'll walk a little bit more. Keep this up, and little by little, in 71 days you'll have doubled your capacity, working up to two miles.

Remember — inch by inch, everything's a cinch.

4. Persevere

Here's a harsh dose of reality — whenever you try to do something that others haven't been able to do, or something that's out of the ordinary, you'll most likely get criticism or a lack of support, or people will flat out tell you it's not possible.

If you hear this, you've got to do everything you can to ignore those voices.

Sure, you'll probably fail a few times and face setbacks on the way to achieving what you want to achieve. Don't get discouraged.

Many people remember Michael Jordan for the six championships that he won with the Chicago Bulls. But check out this quote that describes his journey to success: "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot — and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why....I succeed."

And here's another one from Thomas Edison: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

So here's the moral of the story: Have an unshakeable mindset. Find a way. Keep searching, and keep working.

5. Create Milestones and Celebrate Small Victories

Lastly, it's important to appreciate the journey you're on. Think of achieving your goals as a marathon.

Celebrating after you reach certain milestones will allow you to pause for awhile and reflect on your current success. Reflecting on your current success will then motivate you to keep pressing on to do even more, and to do it even better.

How do you stay on track toward reaching your goals?

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