I’ve been setting goals for myself since I was in middle school. For most of my life I set some pretty crazy goals. Sometimes, much to my surprise, I’ve accomplished them. In most cases, I’ve not even come close.
Amazingly, in the years when I’ve accomplished my crazy goals, my brain tends to focus on “did I set my goal too low and make it too easy?” In the years I’ve fallen short of my goals, I question “did I set my goal way too high or unrealistic?”
In 2014, I decided to change how I set my goals after attending a leadership training course in Palisades, NY with some of the top commercial brokers in the country.
The course was full of great material, but one of the keynote speakers was a young personal coach named Joshua Seldman who had, and still has, what I believe to be one of the simplest ways to help people achieve their goals. He introduced me to the concept of “minimums”.
A “minimum” is defined as the smallest meaningful unit of change.
Probably, like me, you rolled your eyes. What does a “minimum” really mean?
Mr. Seldman went on to tell a story about an executive he was coaching who was trying to get back into the habit of running. She was a Fortune 500 CEO, in her early 40’s, three young kids, a husband that had his own successful career, no family in town, and no nanny.
She had come to him because she thought she needed someone to keep her accountable. She also thought that by paying him to keep her accountable, she would actually achieve her goals. Wrong.
In their first meeting, he asked her to tell him how often she runs and about her routine so she could then set a minimum.
She summed it up by telling him she used to run five days a week before she had kids, but now she doesn’t have time to run at all. She wakes up at 5a, puts on her slippers and robe, gets the paper, makes coffee, eats breakfast, reads the paper, feeds the dog, packs kid lunches, shower, gets dressed, gets the kids up, showered and out the door by 7a.
He nods and says, now “what is your minimum?”. She looks him straight in the eyes and responds, “run five days a week!”.
He laughs. She doesn’t.
He then asks her if she understands the concept of a minimum. “So, you aren’t running at all currently and you want to just start running five days a week?”
That is what we all, as successful entrepreneurs, do. We set big goals without fully understanding the steps to help us start the habits to achieve them.
To make a long story short it took her a month of coming back every week to reset her “minimum” and she finally gave up after he told her to set a minimum less than running one day/week. “How can I set a minimum less than one?”
He then tells her, “how about you put your shoes on one time this coming week?”.
She laughed. He didn’t.
He told her to untie her shoes before bed and put them where her slippers were.
An amazing thing happened.
She woke up the next morning, put on her shoes instead of slippers, went to get the paper, smelled the fresh air and thought, maybe I’ll run around the block. She came back after a 10-minute run and still did all the other things.
A week later he asked her “how many times did you run?” She replied, “five!”
He laughed. So did she.
It feels so good when we achieve a goal. It feels better when we create a habit.
What are your goals for this year? Are you accomplishing them? If not, try setting a minimum.
Your leadership team at Columbus REALTORS® is working hard to start setting “minimums” that help us achieve our Association goals and we hope you are too.
I hope you have your best year yet and that you find time to get involved in your Association!
We are, and will be, Better Together.
*Executive Stamina – How to optimize time, energy and productivity to achieve peak performance (2008) Marty Seldman, PhD & Joshua Seldman