If you can’t see the goal, set a pace

How to make meaningful progress in a new year

With the New Year now upon us and ambitious goals set, or resolutions made, we’re entering a dangerous period of disillusionment.

The first shock may come when we realize we don’t suddenly have more energy or motivation this year than we did last year.

Or perhaps that we don’t actually want to exercise more or write more social media posts, like we promised ourselves we would when 2021 rolled around.

Or we find that we do have more energy and enthusiasm, so we throw everything we have against our new goals and resolutions. For about a month, until we burn ourselves out.

The fact is, calendars are constructs and they don’t give or take anything from us—we’re still just us, everything we were and weren’t a week ago.

So how do you tackle those big goals? How do you make the progress you’ve planned for yourself?

Not by going all-in immediately and trying to rush toward the finish line. Because the finish line is years away. You can’t rush it, you can’t get there any faster by exerting yourself to your breaking point.

Instead, when you can’t see the goal, set a pace.

If you told yourself you were going to write way more social media posts this year, pause. Think about how many extra posts you could write every single day, every single week, every single year, for the rest of the life of your business. How many posts is that? I bet it’s fewer than you’d originally thought, but it’s the amount you can sustain and will keep up with.

Consistency beats bursts of energy every single time.

If you told yourself this year you would finally get organized and get all your administrative tasks in order, take a breath. Figure out what you can add to your schedule today, and tomorrow, and the day after that for the rest of your career.

What will you need to do less of so that you can focus more on the business side of your business? What will you need to say no to? What will you need to remove completely? It’s not about trying to make up for lost time—that’s impossible.

Lost time is gone, you can only lose more time by doing too much at once, burning yourself out, and finding yourself in the exact same situation this time next year.

Everything you want to do, you can do. But it will take time, which takes consistent effort, which takes a sustainable pace.

You can’t rush to the end—to some shining pillar of success out there on the horizon. It’s too far to run to, but too close to give up on. So instead, take it one step at a time, in the right direction, on a path you can keep up for months to come.

So the answer isn’t to make some grand sweeping statement about what we intend to do. It’s about doing something, a little bit, right now—today. And then again tomorrow. And the day after that.

Until one day you look back on how far you’ve come, and you can hardly believe it. It didn’t feel that hard, that daunting, that exceptional while you were in it—because you had a sustainable pace.

But a year from now, you’ll be shocked at how far you’ve come.


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Further Reading:
You paid the fare—make sure you arrive.
You can’t throw work against a thinking problem.

Wondering how to set a sustainable pace for your marketing? I’d love to chat it out: joelkelly@hey.com