Monday, May 6, 2013

Motivation Monday | Daily Goal Setting vs. The To Do List

One of the habits that I'm currently creating is the habit of checking out motivational, inspirational and instructional videos on YouTube every morning.  I do this to train my mind in keeping focus on creating desired outcomes.  Last week I stumbled upon a video from personal development legend Brian Tracy.  The topic of the video escapes me but he shared something that I believe will be life changing for me.

Brian has decades of experience in helping people achieve their  desired success.  So when he mentioned that of every principle he teaches, one practice has proven more effective than everything else he's ever taught, my ears perked in interest.  Brian talked about leading a mastermind group and asking them which of the learned techniques contributed the most to their success.  The response was overwhelmingly the same......daily goal setting.


So then I began to think about the outcome of applying this practice of consistent goal setting to my everyday life.  The possibilities excited me but then I began to ponder on what would make this different from my daily to do list.  You may remember a previous post on achieving goals.  There I made a distinction between goals and intentions.  Intentions are the desired outcome.  Goals are the actions taken which brings us to the outcome we desire.   I know this may not be the typical way we define goals but I prefer this method.  This way we are taking consistent actions that take us where we want to go.

Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Work Week, once said, that goals should always have number associated with it (making it measurable).  One great example of this is when I use the treadmill at my local gym.  If I just step on the treadmill, walk for an unspecified period of time, and step off the treadmill, I receive a message that states "Workout Completed."  But if I step on the treadmill, choose my workout, set the amount of time I'll be on the treadmill, I receive the message "Goal Achieved" at the end of my workout.  I think this makes the difference between writing down a daily to do list vs. daily goals.  In the first example, I walked without first creating a picture of end result.  In the second, I pre-determined what the outcome would look like using numbers (time/distance) as measurement of success.

That's when I decided that my daily actions list would lead me to "achieving multiple goals" instead of "completing various tasks."  Then I began to think about what would happen if I took on this practice daily.  Where would I be a year from now?  Even if I missed a day or two here and there, I'd still be making a different level of progress than I would otherwise.  One thing I want to make sure I do is connect my daily goals to a much larger intention.  That way I am moving myself towards a certain direction.   I've been applying this practice over the last couple of days since watching the video and it's been quite interesting.  Usually, I can easily jot down some things on my to-do list, but to turn those actions into goals (for instance, putting a time frame to the action) takes a different level of commitment.

If you want to begin this practice, first start with an intention. For example, I would like to lose X number of lbs or I would like to eliminate my debt by X number of dollars or I would like to save/earn  X amount this year etc.  From there, I would create daily actions that take me one step closer to my intentions every day.   When writing your daily goals, make sure to include a number.  This works for every type of intention even relationship goals.  For example, let's say you would like to begin dating. A daily goal would be to smile (or strike up a conversation) at three attractive men today or attend three social events this week.  Adding a number to the action is the only way to ensure you actually reach your goal otherwise, you're that person who gets on a treadmill without an end in mind.   Hopefully this helps and will change lives.  For those of you who are interested in the video that inspired this post, check it out here.


  1. This is very inspiring. Thank you

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  2. Great post! I listened to the audio and it was very motivational! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Thank you so much for posting this, I am listening to the video now and will definitely be implementing most of these techniques! :oD

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