Do you like to set big goals?
I’m talking big, huge, gigantic goals that are going to take a year, maybe even five years, to complete?
Just the thought of a five-year goal is enough to stop many people, myself included, dead in their tracks. Trying to find a way to achieve a goal that large without planning the steps involved is daunting, and maybe even impossible.
But what would happen if we applied the domino effect? I recently learned about the domino effect while reading The One Thing and it’s fascinating! Hang with me while I explain.
The Domino Effect
In their book, Jay Papasan and Gary Keller explain that a domino can knock over another domino 1.5 times larger than itself. That’s 150% larger! In a sequence of 13 dominos, the last domino would be 2 billion times larger than the first!
This video shows the effect in action using a first domino that is 5mm tall and 1mm thick and, through the chain reaction, it knocks over a domino that weighs approximately 110 pounds. Check it out!
So, why am I explaining the domino effect to you?
Simple! We can use this concept to help us achieve our big goals by setting up smaller, domino goals.
The Domino Effect in Action
With New Years Day right around the corner, I can’t help but think about all of the people who set one huge resolution with practically no plan to achieve it. That used to be me and I got tired of failing by February year after year.
If you’ve read my about page, you know that last October I had an epiphany: Why would I put off self-improvement for most of the year when I could be improving daily? Why do I tend to put off my goals and save them for New Year’s Eve when that’s failed me time and time again?
These questions lead me to want to improve every day. Bigger than that, I wanted to inspire as many people as I could to start improving every day, but that was a huge goal and I had no idea how to achieve it.
A Dream in Motion Stays in Motion
So, without knowing about the domino effect then, I started setting smaller goals that built on each other, that compounded over time and helped build momentum towards my big goals.
I decided that I wanted to build a platform for change and I wanted to start a blog. I was excited! I wrote down every single thing that would have to happen to make that dream a reality. I wrote down my plans for designing the blog, building the website, creating content, promoting it, and on and on.
I came up with tons of great ideas, but I couldn’t do them all at once, so I started prioritizing the steps. I wanted to start a podcast, write a book, create a new goal-setting framework, but I had to start small. I had to knock down my first domino.
My first domino was a content plan for 2018. I came up with six categories or topics that I wanted to cover, alternated them evenly for every Friday in the year, and then filled in a blog topic for each Friday.
It took some time, but once I had that done, I had a plan for every post in the year and it became clear that I could at least keep my blog going for one year.
Crush Your Goals by Using the Domino Effect
In my opinion, starting small and building momentum are the keys to success in any endeavor. When we lack momentum, we spend far too much energy starting and stopping, and I believe that’s why the idea of the New Year’s Resolution doesn’t work.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! We can use the domino effect to our advantage. We can plan out our goals and set them up in a way that allows us to build momentum.
Here’s What You Do
- Write down your biggest goal. What one thing do you want above everything else? What are you excited about?
- Write down every single thing that has to happen to make that goal a reality. If any one item seems too big or too daunting, break it down into manageable pieces.
- Prioritize the steps and place them in sequential order. What do you need to do first? Second? Third?
- Finally, place all of these smaller, domino goals on your calendar. Maybe your big dream can be achieved in three months, or maybe it’s going to take three years. Either way, plan as far in advance as you can.
Once you have your list of domino goals, knock the first one over.
Don’t wait until New Years Day. Don’t wait until next month or even next week. Knock it over today and get the chain reaction started. If you’ve set up your domino goals correctly, the momentum should build and the chain reaction will be unstoppable.
I had the idea for my blog in October of 2017 and I didn’t wait a single day to start. Then, in May of 2018, I went live. I started small, but I’ve been knocking over bigger and bigger dominoes as I’ve progressed throughout the year.
Now, it’s been a little over a year since I had the original idea and I’m thankful every day that I didn’t wait because I’m one year ahead of where I’d be had I not started.