A few months ago I posted about a challenge I participated in: the “70 Day Sprint” from Steve Roller of the Copywriter Cafe. I wrote the post on the 10th day of the Sprint with 60 days remaining. I challenged you to set a goal and accomplish it during the following 60 days.
You most likely never saw that post because two months ago, I had still neglected to send an email to my list. That’s something I worked on during the past two months. I plan to do even better in the future.
In the past, I used Elliott in Recovery multiple times as a progress tracker, even in the original 70 Day Sprint post. I listed goals I wanted to accomplish then dashed away all progress towards them away in the following weeks. Crawling back each time with my tail between my legs, I promised you I would do better next time. But I never did.
Not until the 70 Day Sprint.
What I learned from completing the 70 Day Sprint
One time I wrote about the components that make up an effective goal. One crucial aspect of a goal is that it be measurable. If you can’t measure your progress on the goal, how do you know when you’ve accomplished it?
Until the 70 Day Sprint, I never had a measurable goal outside of making it into work every day and writing articles for my client. When I completed the final day of the Sprint, I was brimming with joy over the sense of accomplishment I felt.
I completed something big.
The official title of the 70 Day Sprint is “The 70 Day Sprint: How to go from unstable freelance income to profitable business owner in 70 days or less.”
Steve’s hope is that by the end you have a few actionable items to take away and apply to your business. The Sprint provides a different way to think about freelance writing, one I never considered before. Much less heard from other “gurus.”
The 70 Day Sprint not only challenged me to reconsider my freelancing business. I also realized I can apply some of what I learned to how to run Elliott in Recovery.
Some of you signed up for my email list all the way back in November but never received a thing. All you got was an email to confirm your subscription and then static after that. The Sprint encouraged me to stay in contact (or in my case, initiate contact) with my email list.
Why do I feel that this long-term goal will prove itself a pivotal part of my process?
The importance of long-term goals
Short-term goals are great. Aiming to post once per week on Elliott in Recovery keeps me accountable to both you and myself. I dropped off while in Utah for my sister’s graduation and the week after that but I return with fresh resolve.
Long-term goals provide an overarching theme to your daily activities. When Darren Rowse talks of habitual dreamers vs. habitual action-takers, he points out that small activities add up over time. The little victories you accomplish each day add up to help you achieve your long-term goal.
They also provide a larger feeling of accomplishment. It’s great to cross grocery shopping or laundry off your list as a mini-goal each week. But to look back two months from now and see how the seemingly insignificant activities you did each day added up to something greater?
That’s something to be proud of.
How to keep long-term goals from overwhelming you
The best way to keep from becoming overwhelmed is to stop looking at your long-term goals as a whole. Break them down into small daily tasks. For example, looking at the entire 353-page PDF of the 70 Day Sprint overwhelmed my fingernails off.
Looking at it as simply one email per day, though, made everything more manageable. I set up a task every day then checked it off my to-do list.
Finding a good task management app
I used to make more habit of finding every type of to-do list app out there but didn’t complete any items I put on them. Other than walking and feeding my dogs, the lists stacked up.
Asana was too jumbled, Trello too plain, and Google Tasks made me feel like the Google police would show up wherever I was headed to (not like they couldn’t do that with Mail, Maps, or any other parts of the Google Suite that I use).
Then I found an app called Todoist. The user interface is simple and clean, laying out your week of tasks in whatever theme color you choose. Creating repeat tasks was simple and the gamification encouraged me to come back every day.
They offer a desktop app that syncs with the app on my phone. And no, I’m not an affiliate for them (but maybe I should find out about that?). I just love using the software.
Find a task management app that works for you, or revert back to the tried-and-true pen and a notebook. Take 15 minutes to disassemble your large goal into smaller, manageable, daily victories.
Then cross those suckers off.
So what are you going to do?
Decide the kind of person you want to be 90 days from now. Do you want to learn a new hobby? What about taking a class? Have you put off your drive to exercise or eat healthy?
90 days from today is August 22nd, 2017. That’s three whole months to get yourself closer towards something you want to accomplish.
Break your large goal into manageable tasks. If you want to eat healthier, cut out soda or fast food one day each week. If you want to start a new hobby, find a video on YouTube to learn how.
Then take the first step towards that goal. Give the sodas in your fridge to a friend. Go for a 10-minute walk. Find that YouTube video. Do something today that will move you closer to where you want to be.
As Seth Godin says, “Soon isn’t as good as now.”
The 70 Day Sprint inspired me to begin contacting my email list. If you’re on it, thank you for your openness to receiving my words directly in your inbox.
If you aren’t on my list, you can sign up to receive a weekly dose of your friendly neighborhood transgender alcoholic. I’m releasing something on June 9th. But my email list will get it two days early on June 7th.
Sign up now in the form on the left-hand sidebar. I’d love to have you join us.