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We’ve all got goals in life. Things we want to achieve, see done, and succeed at. Some goals are small, some goals are large, but almost all goals are achievable. Seriously. People are doing incredible things, all the time. Now, if you’re 34 years old, 5’6″, and you’ve never played basketball before in your life, a career in the NBA probably isn’t going to in your future. I’m not ruling it out, but you’ve probably got better odds of winning the lottery…multiple times. However, barring pro sports aspirations, most of the things you would like to accomplish in your life are achievable, if you’re willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices necessary.
Of course, simply working hard is usually not enough. You need to work smart, as well. In this respect, the methods you use to achieve your goals are just as important as the effort you put in. This is where starting with victory comes in…
The idea with starting with victory, starting with your end goal is your primary goal, is that it helps you break down the path to get there. See, total victory is achieving that goal you want, but if it’s just hanging there nebulously in front of you, without any clear path to it, you’re never going to get there. You need to reverse engineer your path to that goal, break down the steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
Now, when I say break down, I really mean it. You want to break those steps down into the smallest bite-size chunks you can manage. The best situation, though it’s not always possible, is to break them down so small they can become easy daily tasks.
For instance, let’s take my current overall fitness plan, Going Superhuman as an example. I’ve got a whole bunch of goals involved with that project, obviously, but each one can be broken down into a single, bite-size portion. My first completed goal, hitting 180 lbs, was broken down like this: I want to lose 20 lbs. Realistically speaking, I can expect to lose 1-2 lbs a week. 1-2 lbs a week is a 3500-7000 caloric deficit, which comes down to 500-1000 calories a day. So I needed to eat 500-1000 calories under my TDEE.
Boom! Daily task. Something simple I can do every day to take a small step towards total victory.
Now that I’ve hit 180 lbs, my new goal is to work towards my other fitness goals. So, to begin my progress towards this, I break it down to a new set of daily goals. Every day (except rest day) I will endeavor to work out according to my schedule (either running or lifting weights.)
Easy Does It
Here’s the thing: There will be days you don’t want to achieve your goals. There will be days that you’d rather stay in bed a little while longer than get up early to get that morning run in. There will be days that you don’t really feel like sitting down and throwing another 2,500 words at your novel. This is why bite size portions are important!
Even for my workout goals, I’ve got a single exercise on any given day that takes priority. Thirty minutes is my goal time, but if I’m not feeling it, or I’m crunched for time, then I accept twenty minutes (or even fifteen if I’m willing to really crank the pace up.) I’ve got five exercises (typically) I do on every workout day, but if I’m out of time or energy, I make sure I do at least my biggest compound exercise (which is either squats or deadlifts.) Don’t feel like hitting my usual 2,500 word goal? Writing 100 words is fine.
In this way, even if I’m cutting out a serious chunk of what I should be doing to achieve victory, I’m still avoiding a “zero day,” a day in which I don’t make any actual progress towards my goals at all. This is important not only for making progress, but also for maintaining a positive mindset. Momentum is important when it comes to staying positive and motivated, and you want to maintain momentum as much as you can.
Eyes on Victory
You need to look at your goals. Often. Motivation is important, as is momentum, and by reminding yourself on a daily basis what your end point is, you’ll help keep yourself fired up about attaining TOTAL VICTORY. I try to look at my goals every single day, both fitness related, and otherwise. Now, most of these stay in “high concept” mode, with the exception of whatever handful I’m working on, but I try to maintain that philosophy of continually striving forward. By keeping my eyes ever forward and ever upward, I never find myself wanting for inspiration or a case of the “what nows?”
Now, the dark side to this is that sometimes this master plan can feel overwhelming to look at, but again that’s where our bite-size pieces come in. As long as I’ve got one specific area I’m focusing on, with sufficiently small steps to take to get there, I can always re-focus down from the big picture and just focus on the individual task at hand. By balancing the two, I keep myself both focused, and motivated, without overwhelming myself.
Going into the new year, when people love to make new plans and see new beginnings, I hope the idea of starting with total victory, and knowing what that looks like, can help you on your own personal journey.
I’ll see you again with a new post on Monday (and a new video on the YouTube channel tomorrow.) Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace