Goal Set To The Now For Your Year To Come
As this year winds down, it’s time to start setting our sights on the year ahead. What do we want to accomplish in the new year? What do we want to get done before this current year is over? We think of New Year’s resolutions and big changes on the horizon.
But as we both reflect on 2022 and gear up for the journey ahead, it’s important to remember that our only reality is the present moment. And focusing on “the now” is how we set and define our priorities and goals for the time to come.
As Gary Keller and Jay Papasan say in The ONE Thing, “The truth about success is that our ability to achieve extraordinary results in the future lies in stringing together powerful moments, one after the other.” What we do at any time will determine what we do and how we feel in the moments to come. And while we tend to want to set large goals for the future, we must understand that the actions that we take right now are steppingstones that directly affect our greater outcomes. The ability to make this connection, to bridge the present and the future, is what can create extraordinary results.
Outsmart Your Cognitive Bias
While we all prefer bigger rewards over smaller ones, the pace at which we achieve them greatly affects our motivation to put our plans into action. It seems irrational, but even if we know that we can get something bigger or greater later, we tend to choose smaller, more immediate rewards. This bias is called hyperbolic discounting. It’s so common that even animals do it.
For example, a hungry mother cheetah needs to hunt to feed herself and her growing cubs. During months when food is scarcer, she must think of her options: kill a small rabbit she knows is around her den, or trek miles to a plain where she knows herds of water buffalo are grazing. One option will feed her family today, and possibly she can keep this up in the days to come. The other will take time and determination, especially with cubs in tow. But the potential prey at the end could feed her family for the entire time that food is harder to come by.
Often the mother cheetah will choose to hunt the rabbit. Both because her journey to the water buffalo might be riskier, and also because she and her cubs are hungry now and the rabbit is there, at that moment.
We tend to be like cheetahs (at least in this respect). We think that an opportunity in the future is too far away to trust as a reality, so we are prejudiced toward short-term rewards. But we need to realize that what will get us to our big goals is connecting that future to the actions that we need to take in the present moment. That is what will set us on the path to getting there. This is called Goal Setting to the Now.
Map Out Your Dominoes To Success
When we use Goal Setting to the Now, we can methodically drill down to what we should be doing right now that will get us to where we want to be. For the year ahead, whatever BIG goal you have in mind, use this method to determine the true steps you need to take to get there. You might be tempted to write down “Buy a House” on a piece of paper on Dec. 31, light it on fire, sit back and wait for your resolution to come true.
That’s a great way to make a wish, but a wish is not a plan. Instead, write down something like this:
Write that big goal at the top. You may only be thinking in yearly goals at this time, but whatever your biggest goal is, start with that. Whether it’s to buy a house, run a marathon, or get into culinary school. Think about it as the place you are going and then break it down into smaller steps you can take to get there. We call this “lining up your dominoes.” These smaller steps don’t have to be huge feats in and of themselves, but when added together, their sum will be your biggest achievements.
As you line up your dominoes, identifying the destination you want to get to in a year will unlock how you can think about your monthly goals. If your yearly goal is to buy a house, then maybe in January you can start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. And once you have your monthly goal, you can start thinking in weeks. Perhaps it’s searching for the right lender. Then, you can break that down even further to a daily goal. You can ask friends and family for lender recommendations, and maybe do some online research of your own. Finally, let’s get super micro. What’s the ONE Thing you can do right now so that you can buy a house this year? Maybe it’s writing out an email or text you can copy and paste to each person you want to ask about their lender experience. By thinking in a larger timeframe, you can get super purposeful with your present actions.
Connect The Future To The Present
Goal Setting to the Now is what makes you smarter than that hungry cheetah. You’re able to connect your long-term goals to the different actions that you take in the present. And, by lining up your dominoes, you’ve created a map that will get you there. Not only have you identified your big goal for the year, but you’ve broken it down into actionable steps you can take to get there — month by month, week by week. While it might seem like the small steps aren’t reaping big rewards right away, using this process will ensure you are getting the things done that will cumulatively add up to where you want to be.
As Gary and Jay say, “Connect today to all your tomorrows. It matters.”
Do you have a big goal for 2023? If so, what’s the ONE Thing you can do right now to achieve it? Let us know on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more articles and research.