How To Finish More Goals Than 99.3% of Other People

Finishing goals is a skill you learn.

Photo: Jess Foami/Pixabay

A while back, I joined a 30-day online course on building your business.

The class had about 900 students. Every day, we had to comment on each day’s assignment, telling everyone we finished it.

The first week, there were hundreds of responses each day from excited students who completed the work.

But by week two, that number dropped significantly — only about 150 people were commenting that they’d finished their work.

By the end of week three, almost no one was finishing their work. On day 15, only three people had finished their work and were going strong — two other students, and me.

By the end of the 30 days, I had completed the coursework that over 99% of my peers didn’t finish. Mind you, that just meant I finished it — that’s not even counting how well I’d actually done. Sometimes, just finishing something is enough to get you ahead. As a result, I built a whole new income stream for my business that’s made me thousands of dollars in passive income.

If you can finish goals, you’ll achieve things most people will never have.

Because sometimes, finishing your goals is enough.

Here’s how you can consistently achieve huge goals (even if you’re extremely busy).

If You Can Do It Every Day, You’ll Be Enormously Successful.

If you do something every day, you’ll change. Being consistent always leads to an upgrade in your behavior and beliefs.

The problem is, most people aren’t consistent. Doing something every day is hard. I’ve asked my tens of thousands of subscribers what their #1 problem has been with self-improvement; the most common answer?

Trouble being consistent.

In the words of Tim Ferriss:

“People suck at following advice. Even the most effective people in the world are terrible at it. There are 2 reasons:

1. Most people have insufficient reason for action. The pain isn’t painful enough. It’s a nice-to-have, not a must-have.

2. There are no reminders. No consistent tracking = no self awareness = no behavioral change.

Consistent tracking, even if you have no knowledge, will often beat the advice from world-class trainers.”

Most people are terrible at consistent daily routines.

But the truth is, if you really want to achieve extraordinary things — building your own business, writing a book, losing a lot of weight, make a ton of money — you have to be consistent. There’s just no other way.

Daily engagement is the only way to become truly successful with a new skill.

For every day you keep going, hundreds of others quit.

The only reason — the only reason — I’m confident I’m going to be in the top 1% of writers in the world someday is because I know I’m going to write every day.

The day I stop practicing daily is the day I start to lose.

In the words of Ramit Sethi, “At the moment when we accept our weaknesses and stop deciding to grow, we’re the BEST we’re ever going to be. It’s all downhill from there.

But there’s good news: you don’t have to put in a lot of time — you just need to be consistent. Here’s what I mean.

It’s OK If You Can Only Put in a Few Hours a Week

A common misconception in the side-hustle business is that you need to work 12 hours a day, 90 hours a week. Otherwise, “you’re not putting in enough time” or you’re lazy.

This is simply not true.

You can still outwork your opponent even if they claim to work more hours a day than you. You can still achieve far more than you’ve achieved.

The key here is identifying your priorities. What are your goals? What’s more important to you?

For me, that’s Jesus and family. My relationship with God is my #1 priority. Spending quality time with my wife is priority #2.

I won’t sacrifice that time for work. I’ve accepted what that means:

That means those thousands of entrepreneurs — those who are willing to spend 90% of their waking hours “hustling” — might indeed work more than me. They might create a bigger enterprise than me. They might make more money.

That doesn’t make them better or more capable than you or me.

You can still outwork them. You just have to put in a few hours a week. You just have to be consistent over time.

As long as you prioritize your working time and produce as much as possible (while respecting your other priorities), you’re still outworking your competition.

Do what you can with the hours you have.

Cultivate discipline.

Master your time so you can maximize your production with what time you have.

Do this every day.

If You Want To Achieve Your Goals 10x Faster, You Need to Stop Following Routines

Frankly — I’ve never liked goals. I’ve always been terrible with them.

For instance: a while back, I wanted to lose 30 pounds. (My beer belly had gotten…noticeable). So I did what you’re supposed to do when you want to lose weight: set goals.

So I set goals with my nutrition. I downloaded meal plans and workout schedules. I vowed to change my life and lose weight.

Things were great the first week.

But then week two and three, I missed a few days. By week four, I missed a bunch of days in a row. Then after just a month, my “goals” had completely fallen apart and I was left more frustrated than ever. (And my beer belly hadn’t changed at all!).

But everything changed when I started using systems instead of goals.

This is an excerpt from an article by best-selling author Scott Adams.

“Goals work great for simple situations. But the world is rarely simple these days.

You don’t know what your career will look like in a year. You don’t know what the economy will be doing, or which new technologies will hit the scene.

Your personal life is just as unpredictable. The future is a big ball of complexity if you look out far enough. And that means your odds of picking the one best goal for you are slim, and the odds of achieving it are even slimmer, because everything is a moving target.

So instead of goals, try systems that improve your odds of success (however you define success) over time.

Choose projects that improve your personal value no matter how the project itself does. Find systems for diet and fitness that replace willpower with simple knowledge.”

Maybe you’re someone who’s really good with “goals.” Maybe consistency and focus come easily for you.

But for many of us (including me!), goals just don’t work for most things. Instead, I use a systems-based approach that’s made achieving goals 10x faster and easier.

I base all my work on four simple words:

Small progress, every day.

When I wrote a book, I didn’t have goals for word counts or deadlines; I just sat down and wrote a little every day.

When I created big online courses with dozens of videos and PDF’s and complex website coding, I didn’t focus on deadlines; I just put in a little work every day.

This is how you consistently achieve huge goals. This is how you’ll always finish your goals. See, your motivation is kind of like a little spark — if you smother it with too much work, your spark will die and you’ll quit very early.

But if you just build better systems and focus on small progress every day

You can achieve enormous goals — often a lot quicker than you thought possible.

Focus on systems, and you’ll start automatically achieving huge goals without even noticing.

How To Create a Streak You Never Break

When the show Seinfeld was just starting to become popular, a young comedian named Brad Isaac was doing a show at a comedy club when he ran into Jerry Seinfeld himself.

Isaac was ecstatic. Seinfeld was one of the most popular and talented comedians in the world. He had to ask him: did he have any tips for a young comedian?

Seinfeld’s approach was simple: a comedian’s success was based on telling better and better jokes. The way to create better jokes was to write every day. He recommended a specific technique that had helped Seinfeld himself consistently write better jokes, which has become known as the chain method.

Seinfeld said every day he wrote more jokes — every day he put in the work — he wrote a big red X on his calendar that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain,” he explained. “Your only job next is to not break the chain.

Your only job is to start a chain — then don’t break it.

In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, he explained there’s room for missing a day in a routine like this — but just don’t miss more than one day. If you miss a day (and you probably will, because life happens), that’s fine; just don’t miss two days in a row. For some reason, it gets a million times harder if you miss two days; it’s still manageable if you just miss one day.

Focus on creating a streak you’ll never break. Do it by small progress, every day. If you miss a day, fine — just don’t miss two.

In Conclusion

Years ago, I met a man in therapy who was an alcoholic with over 20 years of sobriety. I asked him how he did it, how he was able to be so consistent for so long.

He said it wasn’t easy — indeed, it was one of the hardest things he’d ever done. But what he said next always stuck with me:

“The alcoholics with the longest sobriety aren’t sober because they’re the smartest or most disciplined,” he said. “They’re just the best at stringing together one more day of sobriety.”

You don’t have to be the smartest, cleverest, or most disciplined person to be consistent. All you have to do is get really good at stringing together one more day where you put in the work. That’s it. Just one more day.

Over time, this is how you can achieve more goals than 99% of other people. It’s not sexy, it’s not going to turn any heads — putting in the work is never really that exciting.

But it’s the only way, and the best way, to succeed.

Ready to Level-Up?

If you’re an entrepreneur and want to achieve your goals 10x faster, check out my free checklist.

Click here to get the checklist now!

Writer for CNBC, Business Insider, Fast Company, Thought Catalog, Yahoo! Finance, and you. Come say hey.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store