Monday, May 30, 2011


“A journey of a thousand miles starts with that first step. If you look ahead to the end, and all the weary miles between, with all the dangers you might face, you might never take that first step. And whatever it is you want to achieve in life, if you don’t make the effort, you won’t reach your goal. So take that first step. There will be many challenges. You might get knocked back – but in the end, you will make it. Good luck.”
-Sir Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It! 

Every time I read the quote above by Richard Branson, my blood begins pumping a little faster and my palms become a little sweaty. The quote resonates so strongly with me because I have to remember this quote any time I begin a new endeavor. If I focus on all of the steps to reaching a goal, I become overwhelmed and never seem to gain traction.

I have written before about how being a leader is just as much about how you lead yourself as how you lead others. Leading yourself is about living an intentional life – one by design. Life is too short, too meaningful, and too open to possibilities to coast through the days.

One thing is certain – if you don’t begin working toward a goal you are assured that you will never achieve it. There are many books and blogs that you can read about the process of goal-setting, but below is a simple 4-step process for beginning your work on a new goal.

1. Take out a blank piece of paper (notebook, printer paper, really anything will do)

2. Write the goal at the top of the page (lose 10 pounds, communicate more effectively with my wife, eat healthier, reconnect with old friends, etc)

3. For one minute, brainstorm any small, tiny activity that you could do to move toward that goal.

4. For the next week, commit to completing one of the activities that you brainstormed each day.

This activity is a momentum builder. The key is in taking very small steps each day.

One small step today, then another tomorrow, and another the next day, and you will establish momentum to reach your goal.

One of my favorite quotes is from Steven Pressfield’s inspiring book, The War of Art. If you create art of any kind, you must read this book. In the first chapter, he says: "There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't and the secret is this: it's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.”

Life is full of distractions and, oftentimes, the hardest part of reaching a goal is beginning. Take the first step!

What do you want to accomplish? Please do not wait until tomorrow to begin. Begin today…right now. It’s too important to put off!

Please post comments below.


Bill Burkhead said...

Great post Jason: It was both motivational and practical. The most common phrase I hear is "I'll start Monday." That phrase needs to be replaced with "I started today!" I love the quote by Pressfield and agree, sitting down to write, read or act is the hardest part of starting any new project. I am an action guy and believe you are judged by what you do, not by what you say- so today I will start my new goal thanks to your post!

Jason said...

Thanks for the comment. The hardest part for me is definitely starting and creating some positive momentum.

Belvadere said...

To quote the wise man, Homer Simpson, "Why do today what you can do tomorrow?" Sadly, that's how many (perhaps most) live every day. Stalling, postponing and delaying...then wondering why they can't catch the wave of momentum. Starting may not be easy, but it's easier than finishing. Keep at it, Jason. Good job.

Jason said...

No doubt - the hardest part is starting! Thanks for the comment.