When your budget won't let you give gifts to everyone in the world—which is always, by the way—who should you give...
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Think back to when you were 5 years old.
If you were playing with a set of blocks and wanted to build something, you would put one block on the floor and stack them from there.
So why is working toward a goal any different? Build something grand by going one step at a time. If you want to accomplish something over the course of a year, for example, the key is to build that year out of solid days.
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A year is made up of months that are composed of weeks, which boil down to days. If it’s Monday and you have a big presentation on Friday, you’ll do a good job by working hard and being solid in the days leading up to the presentation. You don’t do a week’s worth of research and preparation the night before. You do it piece by piece. One day at a time.
Many times people become discouraged from accomplishing a goal because they think they have to do the whole thing at once. If the objective is to lose 20 pounds, they’ll look at their bellies and think they need to see abs before the end of the day. That will discourage them from working, and no progress will be made.
Instead, set a goal and commit to make strong progress toward it today. Let’s say you want to run a marathon in six months. When you wake up Saturday morning, can you do Tuesday’s run at that time? Of course not! What you can do is put in a good workout for Saturday. If you do, then you can go to bed that night knowing you did well in laying a piece of the foundation for what you will accomplish down the road.
If you repeat that process each and every day, then, as time passes, you will become more ready to tackle that marathon. At the starting line, your body will be fine-tuned not by one super training session, but by a bunch of strong workout days.
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If you have enough strong days in a row, that makes a strong week. If you do it again, you’ll have two strong weeks. Do it some more, and you’ll have built a strong month. Keep it up, and you will have a strong year—one strong day at a time.
Setting goals can start at any time. It doesn’t have to be just at the new year. Starting on April 8 so you can finish by August 23 is perfectly fine. Don’t put your goals off. Don’t say that you’re going to start doing something “tomorrow.” You can’t do anything about tomorrow. But you can do something about today.
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