Growing up I had posters all over my room. Most of them were of exotic cars. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lotuses, and of course, Alyssa Milano.
They were up on my wall because well, that’s what teenagers do, but also because they were highly desirable. What teenager doesn’t dream of owning, let alone driving, an Italian sports car? And Alyssa Milano was the lustful dream girl of every hormonal teenage boy.
As adults we do something similar with a tool used to inspire us, that many call a Vision Board. This collage of pictures and words is full of big dreams and aspirations about life, career, relationships, money, and our bodies. Pictures of money, a big house, a tropical beach, 6 pack abs, maybe a scale, and probably a nice car.
The idea of creating something like this is to help you identify what it is you want to have in life, what you want to accomplish, and where you want to go. Put it somewhere you can see often so it reminds you of what you are working towards.
This can be effective for some, and destructive for others.
Big goals you want to achieve are great to have, and a vision board reminds you of them often.
However, it can also remind you of how far away you are from achieving them.
This is how vision boards can be destructive.
We look at where we are right now and compare that to the goal. If the distance is still really far away, we get discouraged, and in many cases, give up.
Even when we are making progress, we get discouraged by the pace at which it’s progressing.
It forces you to constantly compare and measure.
So, I propose a different approach…
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in day out.
– Robert Collier
Small efforts, tasks, habits…that’s all we need.
Too often we try to bite off more than we can chew, with the expectation that “going big” is the only way to go and that when we do, we’ll get an even better result.
As Robert Collier and many others have iterated, its the small repeated tasks that we do that lead to the huge outcomes.
Waking up at the same time every day so you’re more organized, have more energy, improved productivity, better overall sleep, and set a positive tone for the day.
Preparing food in advance assures you’ll have the right food when you need it and you’ll never fall victim to only having unhealthy options.
Reading 10 pages a day can improve knowledge, add perspective, teach you new skills. All of which could lead to a new career, or more.
The list could go on and on…
The reps we put in. The small, seemingly insignificant tasks we do day in day out, lead to the big desirable outcomes.
Ethan had this perspective when he first attempted to lose 100lbs on his own. He had done some research, downloaded a few programs, and then adjusted them to be even more aggressive.
He dove in with two feet and was determined to lose the weight. After his adjustments to the plan he downloaded, he was eating just 1800 calories a day, at a body weight of 340 lbs.
This undoubtedly put him in a caloric deficit, which cause him to lose 20lbs in his first 30 days. He was super happy about the scale, but was starving, had very low energy, and had a hard time focusing at work.
Month number two came along and the weight loss slowed down a little. By day 60, he was down another 14lbs.
One week into month number three, Ethan broke down and binged on anything and everything. By the end of that week, he had regained 12lbs. He found some more motivation and got back on the wagon, and by the end of the month, lost 7lbs of the 12 he had regained.
He was so discouraged by his slowed progress, that soon after the end of month three, he quit altogether.
Ethan was so well-intentioned, but the execution set him up to fail from the very beginning.
When he came to me, after his sister talked him into it, it took a lot of explaining and teaching to get him to buy into what I was proposing.
He was almost 400lbs when he reached out, meaning he had gained all his previously lost weight back, plus an additional 60lbs.
When he first received his plan and saw that I wanted him eating over 3,500 calories, he flipped.
He couldn’t understand how he could possibly lose any weight, eating that much food.
It may seem like a lot of food, but for a guy his size, it was exactly where it needed to be.
After some convincing, he hesitantly agreed. I knew he was going to struggle with it so I followed up with him multiple times a day, every day of the week. I knew his desire to lose the weight would likely overpower my instruction to eat more food than he thought he should.
The persistence paid off and he stuck to the 3,500 calories.
Some interesting things happened that first month…
He lost weight, but it wasn’t 20lbs, like his first aggressive attempt. He lost 9lbs.
Compared to 20, it felt like very little to him, but it was progress, AND he was eating double the amount of food. He had IMPROVED energy, IMPROVED digestion, IMPROVED strength and stamina, BETTER focus and productivity, and everyone around him noticed.
Ethan was positive, and was starting to come around to my way of thinking.
Flash forward 18 months, and Ethans life had changed pretty dramatically…
He had a new career, a new relationship, was incredibly positive and upbeat. He was a different person, in so many good ways. Oh, and he weighed 247lbs.
Ethan continues to live the lifestyle to this day, and has maintained his new habits because thats WHO HE IS now.
The changes to his day to day were subtle, the food was plentiful, the outcome? MONUMENTAL!
This is how almost anything of value is achieved. Relentless repetition of small tasks.
While a vision board can provide the goal, it can’t provide the guidance or the steps needed to achieve the goal.
So, I challenge you to create a Daily Task List. Your Hit List!
Here are the rules:
- List no more than 5 things you want to start doing, that contribute to no more than 3 outcomes.
- Do not add more things to this list until the initial 5 tasks become automatic. Doing so will lead to overwhelm and eventual failure.
- The initial tasks should be simple and easy. As you get more time under your belt, you can increase the difficulty of the tasks.
- Place the task list somewhere you can and will see DAILY. Make it a point to review your tasks and cross them off once completed.
The Hit List can change your life and help you conquer your biggest goals.
Don’t look too far in front of you, just look at things one step at a time.
If you do this then you can do anything you want to do. The results take care of themselves, when you have the patience and consistency to execute the small simple tasks daily.