Right now, I can buy almost every book I can think of with a few clicks of the mouse. In fact, I can find almost any product I can imagine and easily have it delivered to my home in just a few days. It just takes a moment.
It is so easy to begin to expect to see results from everything almost immediately. More and more and more of our lives are becoming instantaneous, where we have a need or a thought or a desire and it can be met with a click or a text or a phone call.
Because of that, things that don’t provide instant response and satisfaction become harder and harder to deal with.
We can’t blink our eyes and find that our debts have vanished. We can’t simply flip a switch and have an ideal body shape. We can’t click a few times and have a strong and lasting relationship with someone. We can’t dream of a productive business or a self-employment gig and then suddenly see it appear in front of us.
Many of life’s most important and challenging goals require a slow and steady approach that runs counter to the “instant” nature of most of our lives.
Because of that, we become impatient. Sometimes, we’re tempted by the easy and quick routes. That’s why bookstores are loaded with volumes telling you how to get in better shape really quickly or how to accumulate wealth very fast. That’s why many, many websites will tell you how to achieve your desired results instantly, whether it’s freedom from debt, financial independence, a small business, or a healthier life.
At other times, we throw our hands up in frustration. We walk away from a debt repayment plan or a diet, grumbling about how it won’t work and how the deck is stacked against you. We fall back into old routines.
All of these problems boil down to one thing, one big mis-step that we often make when chasing goals that require a slow and steady approach.
At the end of a day of effort, we look for the wrong results.
Rather than looking at the accomplishment of the steps we’ve taken that day, we instead look at how we haven’t achieved the big goal we’ve set for ourselves. Rather than taking pride on all of the effort and good choices we’ve made, we instead look at the distance we still have to go.
The key to success is to look at the success of today and the things we managed to complete. As soon as we start taking our eyes off of that success and start focusing instead on the distance between where we are and where we want to be, it becomes much harder to get there.
If you want change in your life, figure out a plan for getting there and break it down into steps you can take each day. After that, the only thing you should take pride in – or feel failure with – is the success or failure of today’s steps. Nothing else really matters.
If you succeed at today’s steps, you’re heading in the right direction and you will achieve your goals. It’s inevitable.
If you fail at today’s steps, you’re heading in the wrong direction and you will not achieve your goals. That’s also inevitable.
Which do you choose? That’s the instant choice, right there. Your success comes solely from this decision – and you should feel good when you make the better choice.
In a slow and steady race to your goal, you’re actually making the choice to succeed every day. The thing that matters is your daily goal and whether you achieve it or not.
If you make your daily goal, you should feel really good about it, not just because it pushes you toward your big goal, but because you woke up that morning, defined a goal for yourself for the day, and you achieved it.
Slow and steady wins the race, but our mind wants instant returns. By focusing on today, you can keep your mind happy and also win the long race.