You might know me as a positive guy if you have read, listened to, or watched my stuff over the years. I strive to be that way, especially when I’m interacting with others, but it’s never been an automatic thing for me when evaluating myself. In my younger days – still young, by the way, or at least like to think I am (Attitude, Perspective… Mindset) – I was my own worst critic. It was a challenge then, and it’s something that I still work on to this day.

The clarity of hindsight is a beautiful thing, and looking back I can see that a big problem for me was setting unrealistic goals, then getting frustrated by falling short. Why start with a mile, when you can train for the whole marathon? Because marathons are hard, and real life doesn’t allow you to skip the first 25.2 miles just to get to the home stretch. I have learned, struggling with self-doubt? Try rewarding yourself for the little achievements

Today, I really try to take the opposite view and set incremental goals that lead to the big ones. And you know what? I’m having more success pursuing my ultimates, by rewarding myself for small, daily new habits. And I’m enjoying the process more without the internal pressure. I know I’ll get there (and even if I don’t it’s ok), I know it takes time, and I always try to remind myself that incremental progress is meaningful. Again, none of that stuff is automatic for me. It’s not easy to give yourself a break, but it’s worth it.

And of course, I apply this very same principle to business relationships I’m looking to build and maintain, because the same basic idea works for any type of goal, personal or professional. There is only so much that you can do in a given day. Setting unrealistic goals just makes it more difficult to accomplish what you set out to do, and can easily short-circuit whatever progress you do make. Set attainable goals, accomplish what you set out to do each day, and give yourself some credit for a job well done… and if you miss a day, or a week, that’s ok. Over time, accomplishing those smaller goals lays the foundation for achieving the big ones… and most importantly leads to better mental health and a more peaceful life.

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