Take more action with monthly goals (it’s the staircase principle)

If the elevator broke, would you notice?

I’ve got this rule: I always take the stairs if it’s less than 5 floors.

But would you walk to the top of a 100-storey building…without using the lift?

Answer: of course not.
I remember watching a video of two guys walking to the top of the tallest skyscraper in Shanghai. The video starts in the evening and, by the time they get to the top it’s…the next day. No thank you.
Forget the fact that the building wasn’t even finished. Just no.

But what if I added a detail: you’re on the 50th floor.
Would you do it now? Maybe, maybe not, but it sounds a lot easier doesn’t it?
When you think about it, it even sounds less soul-crushing than climbing up the stairs of a 50-storey building.
But it’s exactly the same thing.


What if you were on the 81st floor? Would you walk upstairs now?
What about the 95th floor?

That’s the power of compound progress: as soon as you start moving forward, you also change your starting point.
On day 2 you will benefit from what you achieved on day 1.
On day 8 you will have all the wins, lessons, and resources from the previous week to support you.

This is why “the rich get richer”: it’s a lot easier to increase any kind of wealth once you already have the experience, the confidence, and the resources to do it.
And it doesn’t just apply to money.
Want to meet a new stimulating person? If you already know ten, it’ll be a lot easier than if you don’t have any interesting friends around you.
Learning a language? Your 50th sentence will be a lot easier to put together than the 10th.
And so on.

Now, let’s go back to our 100-storey building.
Can you do 1 floor a day? What about 3? In just over a month, you’ll be at the top.

That’s why I like monthly goals. A month is long enough for you to make a real difference, but also short enough for us to understand it as a measure of time and actually take action.
If days are single steps, each month is a full flight of stairs.

[Tweet “Days is where you do the work, months is where you get results.”]


Take action on 3 things

I like to set three outcomes every month that will get me closer to my bigger and longer term goals. If you’ve read my free Goal Setting Handbook (linked at the bottom), you know why it’s important to think long term and act short term.

Why 3 goals? Three are enough to stay balanced and include experiences as well as milestones. It’s important to remind yourself to take a break and smell the roses. Look after yourself.

So don’t make all three about getting stuff done (note to self).

Seriously, monthly goals are the shizzle. Especially now that 2/3 of the year have passed, having made constant progress monthly means no stressing over it.

Now then: it’s the first of the month. Let’s set your three goals.

  1. Look at the bigger picture: what are you working towards?
  2. Look at your wins: is it time to celebrate?
  3. Look at how you feel: is there something you really want to do? Do you need a break?

List as many as you like on a piece of paper.
Then go through the list and start crossing them out. Some will be more urgent than others. Other will be more appealing than some.
Filter them out until you’re left with three. Now write them down, and keep them somewhere visible, like…

• a sticky note on your bedroom’s door

• a big paper card in your wallet

• your phone or laptop’s wallpaper

Just make sure it’s annoying or weird enough for you to notice.

Now let’s get to work. What are your 3 goals this month?
Send me an email and let me know. I’ll keep it secret.

— Matt

set the right goals