Goal Setting Examples - Do the Big, Shoulder-Drooping Stuff First
This sounds so simple right? Sometimes what's easy to do is easy not to do.
A couple of years ago, my friends and I spent our summers in Spain throughout our college years.
We rented a villa that was close to the beach and football pitches but it was a big trek to the local super market.
When we eventually found the super market, we discovered that we had to walk down a gigantic hill to get there.
That was the easy part.
We immediately knew that once we had our grocery shopping we would have to carry it all the way up the hill.
We were still college students and didn't have the funds to rent a car for these summers.
We spent two months at a time in Spain on a very tight budget so renting a car was out of the question.
Walking up a hill with groceries in the sweltering summer heat was our cross to bear.
We were told to buy bottled water instead of drinking tap water.
It is possible to drink it but many tourists are unaccustomed to the taste or constitution of Spanish water.
It is best to play it safe and drink bottled water we were told.
So when we did our first shop, we seriously underestimated the size of the bottled water we needed to purchase.
We needed to buy large carboys, like the ones that are used for water coolers in work offices.
We had a problem.
There was no way we could carry the water bottles and do the weekly shop at the same time.
We tried and we failed.
One of my friends, the genius that he is, suggested we use his suitcase to fit in the weekly shop.
Unfortunately, we still had bags left over and there was no way we could carry the water bottles.
There were five of us in the group and if we wanted enough water for the week, we needed ten water bottles.
That meant carrying two each.
We didn't like the idea of doing two separate shops or carrying the water bottles, so we put off buying the big water bottles and opted for buying smaller 30ml bottles instead.
We grabbed five or six each at a time.
It was too easy.
The only problem was that we didn't forecast running out of water when we needed it most, after football on a really hot day.
We then had to spend more money on smaller bottles compared with the big ones.
So after consistently putting off carrying the big water bottles, we went all the way back to the super market to purchase ten of them and trial this method to see how it worked out.
Now all we had to do was bring them up the hill and walk back to the villa.
The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
It was well over 30 degrees and my pale Irish skin was crying with pain.
The five of us set off up the hill.
This was torture.
We had to hold each bottle by its plastic handle.
The handles were digging into our fingers like Fantastic Mr.
Fox digging a tunnel.
We had to take breaks every 5 minutes to get our strength back and take a sip of water so it wasn't quite as heavy for the next lift.
This was our equivalent of going to the gym.
Our shoulders were dropping like flies.
When we got back to the villa we celebrated like we just won the Olympics.
It was sheer euphoria.
We then had a sit down and discussed how we would go about the weekly shop from here on in.
We had to make a choice at the end of each week - do the grocery shop first or start with the bottles of water.
The choice was easy - Do the Big, Shoulder-Drooping Stuff First.
So every morning at the end of the week, we would go to the supermarket and carry those water bottles up that hill under the glare of the Spanish sun.
After doing this for a couple of weeks, it became habitual and enjoyable! We joked and laughed all the way up that hill and after it was done, the rest of the day was a breeze.
This relates to Brian Tracy's classic time-management book Eat That Frog, which is full of goal setting examples.
It gets its title from a Mark Twain saying that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you've got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad.
The number one reason that most people fail in accomplishing a goal is due to "procrastination".
This refers to putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.
We do it every day.
The frog mentioned in Brian's title is a metaphor for the big tasks or the ugly tasks that we put off in our daily lives, just like the water bottles.
We should eat the ugliest frog first.
Brian says that usually we have ten things to do in a day.
Two out of the 10 represent high priorities.
Herein lies the 80 20 rule.
It is known as the "Pareto principle" or the law of the vital few.
It states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Business-management consultant Joseph M.
Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; he developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
Simply put, 20% of your tasks account for 80% of your results.
Tony Robbins says that people always get their "musts" in life but they rarely get their "shoulds".
We need to learn to turn should into musts.
We had the attitude of "we should carry the water bottles up the hill" and so it never happened.
When we flipped it over into a must, we got it every time which freed up the rest of our day.
Less stress, more success.
What other goal setting examples are you using right now? I am keen to know.
Please share them below...