Are Your Actions Serving Your Goals?

Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? I mean if you laid out goals for the year or month or week, then surely the actions you are taking each day serve them. Right?

One of my Three Words for 2013 is Service. It is a reminder to be of service to others. It is also a reminder that my actions should serve my goals. Let’s talk about the latter.

What does it take?

I’ve said before that we get so caught up in accomplishing the end goal, that we fail to break down the simple actions that we need to do each day, the very first acts

In Chris’ new course, Write Your Book Already one of the things he does is break down the larger goal into smaller, bite-sized chunks. If your book is 50,000 words, then it is simply a matter of writing 1000 words a day over the next two months and it’s done.

In some ways it really is that simple.

Here’s the rub. 1000 words a day is smaller but it’s a marker, a goal within the goal. It’s an action, but not the first action.

Small Steps Matter

I’m a firm believer that success begets success. There are lessons to be learned and momentum to be gained in even the smallest positive action towards a goal. If I do something today, I am more likely to do it tomorrow.

This year, I have some significant fitness goals, one of them is about running a certain number of miles each week. It is my bite-sized chunk to accomplishing a larger goal. Of course, even smaller than that is running just 3 days per week to meet that goal. But that too is just a marker. It isn’t the first action.

First Actions and Gaining Momentum

The first action is the one that sets all others in motion.  In the case of running, the momentum for me begins as soon as I decide to step away from my work. That first act of stopping what I am doing to get dressed for a run, is one of the hardest acts. Sometimes it is harder than the run itself. Why? Because I know that once I step away, I am going for the run.

Trust The Plan, Trust Yourself

Sometimes it is a matter of trust. I set goals. I laid out a plan. I know the steps. I have to trust that my actions are serving my larger goals and stick to the plan. In the moment so many things appear more urgent and more important, so it’s easy to justify staying put and working. In these moments, I’m thinking less about how long a 5 mile run is, I’m trying to escape the gravitational pull of the work in front of me. I’m thinking less about what it takes to write 1000 words, I’m thinking about an email that I think I should answer.

Sometimes it isn’t about a marathon or even 3 miles. It’s about lacing up your shoes. Sometimes it isn’t about finishing the book or even 1000 words. It’s about fingers on the keyboard, banging out the first few words.

It is about the first acts that propel you in the direction you’ve laid out. The goal isn’t going anywhere, but you are. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. Simple but effective steps! Thanks for posting as sometimes we get too caught up in the big goal(s) and it prevents us from moving forward.

  2. Cjrivard4 says:

    Great reminders- I completely agree. I was just suggesting to a friend that they should read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen – It’s the little things that we choose to do every day (or not) that will move us toward those bigger goals. :) thanks for sharing!

  3. Apostleart says:

    I tend to look at the big picture too much and see it as a massive task…small steps lead to goals accomplished. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Rob,

    I had just finished emailing a friend and client about how I was concentrating on service this year when I opened this (I get the emails, and they bless me). Pay it forward, without expectation of reciprocation, and watch what happens!

    I’ve also had several books sitting in the abandoned stack on my computer, so thanks for the reminder about small steps. The elephant looks much smaller in that light, and I’ve got my fork ready to go!

  5. As a tip for others on these great posts – I use the Clearly browser extension to save them in my Evernote account as a kind of manual to refer to in the future. Thanks again!

  6. Vicki Flaugher says:

    Great advice. My first step is usually clarity of purpose followed by fingers on keyboard. I am much more productive when I have a strong sense of the desired outcome from my specific actions.

    Also, I adjusted the way I set goals and got more success. Instead of saying I am going to write a book, I instead said I am going to publish a book. Putting the customer facing action in place helps me see more results. It is a small distinction but one I needed. That final step of placing my work out there to the public is the one that forwards my larger dream. It is not the result from my work but actually part of the job. It is all about consistency and momentum!

  7. I can so relate to the “walking away from work” to do exercise or other activities. Our brains think we are so busy with work that we don’t allow ourselves to leave it sometimes.. hmmm

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