Quick wins are rarely the elements of a long-term strategy.
If you search for quick wins, you’ll find them. But they won’t add up to anything substantial over time.
Instead, focus on being consistent with smaller actions you can stick with over a long period of time. Here’s why…
The two types of goals (and how they overlap)
There are two types of goals:
- Attainment Goals
- Lifestyle Goals
Attainment Goals are something we accomplish. Running our first marathon. Losing 10 pounds. Paying off student loans. Reaching 1,000 newsletter subscribers. There is a clear definition of done and you know when you have attained that goal.
Lifestyle Goals are something we “install” into our everyday life. Such as a daily reading routine, a workout routine, a writing habit, a financial budget. A Lifestyle Goal is a desired outcome we have for what we want our day-to-day life to be like.
On a practical note, these two types of goals go hand in hand.
For example, suppose you want to run a marathon. Naturally, you will need a daily routine of eating and exercise in order to have the strength and stamina for race day.
Moreover, while the marathon itself is a mountaintop type of experience — something exciting and memorable. The race day itself is not a life-changing event. Rather, you will be changed through the lifestyle goal that was required to get you there — the biggest impact on your life will not be the marathon itself, but rather the months of preparation leading up to the race.
Results come from consistency over time
The small actions of our Lifestyle Goals only add up if they are done consistently over time.
Any singular, small action that is done once will not produce any meaningful results in your life. This is true for good actions as well as bad actions. Such as:
- Walking for 30 minutes
- Writing 500 words
- Smoking a cigarette
- Skipping dessert
Any of the above actions, if done once, will not add up to much in the long term. Smoking one cigarette will not be detrimental to your health. Skipping dessert will not impact your weight. Writing 500 words is not much toward a manuscript or a year’s worth of weekly newsletters.
However, if you were to take any of those actions and repeat them consistently for a year…. you would see substantial and noticeable results.
Writing 500 words per day adds up to more than 175,000 words — that’s a couple of books.
Walking 30 minutes per day adds up to about 700 miles in a year.
We do not decide our futures, we decide our habits. And our habits decide our futures. — F.M. Alexander
Choose a Habit to Change Your Life
Whatever your goal is, pick a small daily action that you believe will move you toward that goal. And then, do that small action consistently in order to produce the results you are wanting.
This is a very simple strategy. And it works.
But, if you have ever tried to implement a new habit then you know that, while it may be simple it is not always easy.
And so, the question arises:
How do you maintain consistency and motivation to show up every day for those small actions that compound over time?