While organizing my office after our recent move to the Tree House Resort, I ran across something kind of fascinating that I started back in 2007. In fact, it may have been instrumental in getting us to the tree house property. I remember it was December 7, 2007. I was sitting by a campfire in my back yard going through my annual goal setting ritual. Since about 2003, I have been doing this when the weather is crisp. the fire is warm and the coffee is hot. It’s my favorite way to reflect on the progress of our businesses for the previous year and dream, plan and strategize ahead for the coming year. I prefer to be alone during this without distractions.
Sitting there by the fire, the thought seemed to occur to me that progress is not typically made in giant, spectacular leaps. It is generally made one small decision and action at a time in a deliberate and consistent manner. At least, that’s the way it seemed to be working for me. As I thought about this, I began to realize that if we were to make one small step towards our goal every single day, the results would be inevitable. Back in 2007, I decided to do this as consistently as I could. Back then I was relying on a daily planner to keep my schedule on track. Adding a few small tasks to my daily routine was not that difficult. Since I had already done a pretty complete job of defining my big goals, there wasn’t a lot of conflict in identifying all the little small things I could fit in on a daily basis. I didn’t just apply this to financial and business goals but to family, recreation, networking and other areas as well.
Here’s a little bit of my theory. It seems (by observation) that everyone has some kind of Life Dream or Life Goal. At least if you are brave enough or persistent enough to try to get them to talk about it. My observation is that even though everyone has a dream, very few are acting in accordance with the fulfillment of that dream. I ask myself why that is true. I believe the clue lies in the fact that upon listening closely, most will also admit that they don’t have the resources, time, or determination to truly follow through with their dreams. Or, their circumstances somehow prevent them from following their dream. Some even go as far to say that they “know” they will never achieve it so what’s the point is wasting time day-dreaming about it.
Step two of this process (again, my theory) is that they revert to a position of substituting the big dream with countless small distractions. My personal “distractions” were camping and fishing. When I became discouraged from not having the time or resources to pursue my dream, I would plan my entire week around whatever I could do on my days off. To me, the substitute of a couple of days camping down by the lake, was enough distraction to keep me from feeling any responsibility towards my real dreams (which seemed unattainable)
So, back to my 2007 December camp fire. I decided from that point on, I would make some small effort to get a step closer to my dream every day, no matter if it was a 5 minute task or an all day effort. The amazing thing is this. Since that time, I’ve gone back to my journal frequently and have been amazed at how much progress I’ve been able to realize. I was only thinking (in far away terms) of a family retreat at the time (as an example) now we own 3 resorts with the most recent one being our Tree House project. Our “camping” distraction has even been focused into something that has been more productive than it used to be by using the National Park system as our “Big Goal” for camping and recreation.
I decided to refer to it as “Every Day Counts”. My belief is that if you can identify where you want to go with any area of life and simply decide to somehow make every day count in some measure, large or small, every day can count. It has become habit for me now and feels normal. I also notice that I have much less stress over achievement because I’ve gotten comfortable with knowing that when small steps are being made every day, sooner or later I get where I’m going.
It’s worked well enough that I recommend giving it a try. Make every day count in some measure! You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish.