20 Things

My friend Mark once told me a way to help me achieve my goals: each day, write down 20 things that you can do to that will help you move closer to your goal. Mark had used this technique while earning his MBA when his goal was to win a contest at his school. He did this diligently every day and sure enough, he won.

Through the years, I’ve played around with this technique and created some rules to make it most effective. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Choose to list 5, 10 or 20 actions that you could do today that will move you closer to your goal. Commit to that number and never go below it.
  • No duplicates from day to day.
  • Choose a number of actions that you will take each day. It should be at least half of the number you are listing each day.
  • Identify the actions you will take every day (they can either be from the current day’s list or from a prior day) and take them.

Remember that the higher the number of actions that you decide to list and take, the quicker you will achieve your goal.

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3 thoughts on “20 Things

  1. rdsalemi

    So I’m confused about picking 20 different ones every day. Should I forget about the ones the day before? If I can forget them were they truly valuable?

  2. james Post author

    Thanks for the question.

    To answer your question, no, you don’t want to forget about them. I use a Word document to keep my “20 things” and I append my current day’s list to the document.

    What I do is put the date on one line and then list my 20 things. Then when I create my task list for the day, I look over all the days in my document and pick 10 things (I won’t bore you with my selection criteria). I mark completed items with the date of completion.

    You can get really fancy with your documeny and even create a database. I’m currently working on a Goal Setting Workbook for one of my workshops and just today I was thinking about this particular item.

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