Setting goals, dreaming big, getting it done. That’s well and good when circumstances are in our favour.

What happens on the other 360 days of the year?

Do we have to live with always feeling behind, always putting off our big goals until things change?

Let’s not do that.

Let’s do this instead.

Writer Anne Lamott calls it ‘Bird by Bird. Will Smith’s dad said ‘brick by brick’.

For me, it’s going into the territory every day.

Whatever the words, the approach is the same – consistently taking small steps to the big goal.

How to not lose – the MTO way.

MTO stands for Minimum, Target, Optimum.

It’s the kind of technique I like: simple, flexible, achievable.

It starts with setting your goal, then identifying the actions needed to achieve it.

Your priority is to do at least the Minimum on most days. Sometimes that will be it – sometimes that’s all you’ll do for days on end. That’s good. You didn’t lose those days.

Other times, you’ll hit your Target and occasionally your Optimum. They’re great days but they’re not as important as the days you didn’t lose. The ‘not losing’ days are the ones that will really move you towards your goal over the long term. Think, The Hare and The Tortoise (Aesops Fables).

What’s your MTO?

It can be whatever works for you.

For one writer, it was setting a minimum of writing 800 words a day that gave her the impetus to finish her book. She’d been putting off writing because she felt as if she needed to write at leat 2,000 words every time she sat down to write. Setting a lesser minimum meant she was more likely to sit and write – you can read her story here.

For me, doing the minimum means that most days I will spend ten minutes thinking about the book I’m writing.

That’s it. I’m not ready to start writing yet as I’m still doing the research so setting a word coutn would be too demoralising. I’ve set a minimum I can achieve and it’s working.

I’m not losing.

Feel free to get in touch to talk about how I can help you. Email me,

Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

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