At the beginning of this year, I did away with ambitious goals and focused on four simple tasks I could complete every day. This set positive habits in place which I have stuck to since. But the time has come to think big.
The Little Things
For the past few years, I’ve had one large goal: develop and launch my own app. I came pretty close a few times, even having several people sign up for the services I’d launched. But I never gave much thought to viability. When I couldn’t find funding, I had to abandon one application. When I received some constructive feedback on another, I went back to the drawing board. I didn’t change much, but wanted to package the application so as to better entice potential users. Little by little, I have focused more and more on the little things.
But my large, behemoth applications were not the only thing that were unviable. That overarching goal too - develop and launch my own app - was in itself an unviable one. In fact, I have achieved it, haven’t I? Multiple times, I said, I have developed this, I have launched this, now I await users and customers. I did have some idea about marketing these apps, but I also wanted to prove their worth and viability before going all in. The biggest problem? I didn’t have enough contacts to push the demoes out to.
My free time was spent coding and fixing my applications, pushing them to production and… not much else. Professionally, I was a programmer and nothing more. In my personal life, I was absent, immersed in programming.
So at the beginning of this year, I abandoned that overarching goal and set myself four simple tasks to do every day. They were: to write, to read, to exercise and to learn. Small focuses, easily completed, I have crossed each one off my list for the past 130 days. I have been happier, healthier and far more focused.
Setting small tasks to be done daily establishes a routine of habits, and these quickly become a natural part of your day. This was my opportunity to reset, and to reboot my life with a whole new set of parameters. These are now the fundamental building blocks of my lifestyle, on top of which I intend to rebuild my broad ambitions.
The Big Things
Two things come to mind when I think of big ambitions. Gary Vaynerchuk’s ambition to own the New York Jets, and my colleague Darren Horne’s goal, listed on his social profiles, to make one million people happier.
I consider both of these practical and specific - as was mine - but importantly they are both properly ambitious where mine was not.
“Develop and launch an app” was my goal. Which I did. Regardless of its lack of success, I did do that. Whereas Vaynerchuk and my friend Darren haven’t yet achieved their goals, because they are properly ambitious. And that’s a good thing.
So from now on, I want to forget poorly realised goals like, “I want to launch an app”, “I want to write a book”, “I want to open a store”. Yeah, I wanna do those things. But much like my daily exercise, reading, writing and learning, I could cross off all three before the end of the day. Because they sound ambitious but they aren’t. From now on, I want properly ambitious, properly specific goals like, “I want to launch an app and reach 100,000 daily active users”, “I want to write a book and sell 50,000 copies”, “I want to open a store and serve 5,000 customers”. These, but not these specifically, will be the specific goals that keep me driven once the easy part is done.
I want the next part of my life to be characterised by specific, properly ambitious goals, achieved one step at a time by little tasks. So I want to set one overarching goal right now, and I’m borrowing from my friend to do so:
My goal is 1,000,000 people served.
One million people served, doesn’t matter if that’s through a store, through book sales or through an app. I’ll set more specific targets as I go, and find the right little things to be doing that advance toward that goal.
This is just the beginning of my journey remember, and now we have an ending to shoot for. 1,000,000 people served. Stay tuned.