Each January 1st, many of us keep the healthy tradition of setting New Year’s Resolutions, yet only a small fraction of us follow through with them for the entire year. Why is it that so few of us are able to stick to our goals in the long run?
The habit of setting and sticking to goals is a practice common to virtually all successful people, no matter the setting - or aspect of life – to which the goal pertains (business, health, home & family, etc.). Rather than a ‘how-to’ on goal-setting, in this article I’ll share a powerful principle that has profoundly impacted my life. This will, when understood and applied, move you towards your goals faster and more simply than you ever thought possible. Also, it will help you to last longer on your New Year’s Resolutions than most of us did last year.
This principle is constantly in force in each of our lives. Whether we recognize it or not, this principle is a major determining factor in our success in every endeavor. The goal of this article is to help us each to recognize this principle and discover how to put this formidable force to work for us rather than against us.
Wise men throughout the ages recognized and taught this principle. Almost all of today’s best-known motivators and personal development gurus have integrated this principle into their teachings, although they call it by different names. Confucius taught, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Apply the slight edge principle to your time management.
15 minutes each weekday towards any project amounts to only an hour and fifteen minutes each week, but in the course of a year that amounts to a workweek and a half – enough time to accomplish monumental tasks!
Implementing the slight edge is simple – but it’s not effortless! It takes discipline and intentional action. The good news is that while some projects and goals require massive immediate action, many can and will be accomplished through seemingly-insignificant daily action.
Few habits are more powerful than applying the slight edge daily. Remember, to achieve an extra 1,250 phone calls each year, only 5 extra calls per day are required. Not 50, not 25, or even 10. Just 5. Anyone can make 5 extra calls per day, anyone. It’s so easy to do, and so easy to not do...
Naturally, the more intense and focused the action taken, the better. But we’re all human, and a primary reason we give up on goals is because we feel they’re unreachable or that we’ve gotten too far behind, or the mistaken belief that 5 extra calls today won’t make a difference...Recognize, however, that it will make a difference. Putting the slight edge principle into action on our side will turn the tide on any goal we haven’t kept up with, if we start today and do something towards it daily. This is a most empowering realization. Mastering the slight edge principle doesn’t need to be time-consuming, but it does need to be proactively scheduled and diligently adhered to.
Earl Nightingale, a forerunner of today’s personal development movement, in his all-time best-selling audio recording, The Strangest Secret, stated, “One day at a time, handled successful, will carry you over every hurdle. It will solve every problem. You can relax in the happy knowledge that successful tasks make successful days, which, in turn, build a successful life.”
In today’s fast-paced world of instant-gratification, utilizing the slight edge can seem like it’s not working or taking too long. Be patient. Don’t give up. The results will come. The slight edge is always at work, either for us or against us. The years will pass anyway, and we might as well have the slight edge working for us! It will be worth it. Regardless of what aspect of life your New Year’s Resolutions touch on, the slight edge principle will serve you well and make 2015 your best year ever.
Begin conscientiously harnessing the power of the slight edge with the following steps:
1. Visualize the 2015 that you desire to create and write your three to five most important goals. To activate and engage more of your brain, add photos/drawings of the completion of each goal, and write your goals in color.
2. Next to each of these goals, write down what you will do each and every day to make progress towards their accomplishment. Remember, you don’t need to devote all day every day to your goals; just something each day. These actions will add up faster than you expect.
3. Make several copies of your daily action plan and post them where you’ll be reminded as you go throughout your day (e.g. refrigerator, bathroom mirror, cell phone reminders, etc.). Building a new habit takes time and these reminders will help the new habit stick.
4. Schedule time for every item on your action plan. Unless the time is proactively scheduled it’s not likely to just appear.
5. If you happen to miss a day, get back on track the next day. Nobody’s perfect.
6. Be patient and expect success; it will come, and likely, sooner than you expect.
Ben Nilson is a Networking Coach at fortune cookie coaching. He can be contacted at www.fortunecookiecoaching.com