Focus on Your Inputs

Setting big goals is nice, but a goal without an actionable path to it will be impossible to hit.

As well as that, if you wake up every day and look at your long-term goals, it can be a little depressing in the short-term. In your mind you can end up comparing your present-self to your idealized 'future self', and end up being hard on yourself because you haven't reached those goals yet (even though you only set them last week).

To get around this, focus on your inputs.

The inputs - the things you do each day - are what will get you do your goal.

For example, if I want to get to hit a certain revenue number within X months, focusing solely on that idea won't help me get there.

If I want to get to $X/month in revenue, I need Y new customers/month. But that's still too broad/fluffy as a goal, because it doesn't mention what I should be doing to reach it.

Instead, I can work backwards from the goal, breaking it down into habits I can do every day.

For example, if I want more customers, I should be focusing on activities that I know can help with customer acquisition, such as:

  • Send 10 personalized cold emails per day
  • Publish 2 new blog posts per week

The same idea can be applied to any type of goal.

If you want to run a marathon, start by running every day. If you want to become fluent in a language, start by learning a new word every day. If you want to publish a novel, start by writing 500 words every day.

The inputs you focus on consistently are the things that will dictate whether or not you can achieve your goals.

Books I like on this topic:

  • The Score Takes Care of Itself, Bill Walsh
  • Atomic Habits, James Clear