How many days have passed since you’ve made any progress on that big goal you made all those years ago?
You’ve told yourself, “I’ll get to it, just as soon as ______ is over with.” The problem is, once that issue is finally taken care of, another one scoots in to take it’s place.
Interestingly, even though another problem has taken most of the focus off your primary goal you seem to still somehow have time to binge watch that new netflix series, debate and solve world hunger, research your favorite celebrity’s pet name, forget the solution to world hunger, and eat two entire bags of flaming hot cheetos.
So, what happened?
It’s easy: the excitement that comes with planning and imagining that lofty goal has worn off, and what sets in is the self-doubt and startup scare that comes with going into any new project. The good news is that there is an easy, tried and true way to fix this. No more “Zero Days.”
What are Zero Days?
A Zero Day is one where you made no progress towards that great goal set all those years ago. When you have a Zero Day there is a high probability that the next day you will also do nothing, followed by the next, until you wake up years later in the same or worse position that when you first envisioned your goal.
You need to tell yourself, “NO MORE ZERO DAYS.” Every day set out to do at least one small task towards this vision. It will be impossible for you to not reach it, even if you only progress at a pace of 1% everyday. Heck, at a 1% progress rate, in just 100 days you’ll be there!
Of course its a bit harder in practice than simply stating to oneself, “No more Zero Days.” There will be days of absolute chaos, both minor and major–and yes, even on these days you MUST not have a Zero Day. When things get extremely tough, perhaps the passing of a loved one or pet: go slow. Do even just one simple task daily for the next few weeks, as you’ll likely not have the clarity or endurance to achieve much anyway.
This may seem counter-intuitive to a grieving process or hardship, but in reality this can greatly help with those hard times. It can help maintain perspective, a sense of purpose, and assist to keep one from a downward spiral. I attribute my use of not taking Zero Days to helping me deal with the death of my Mother, Best Friend, and Pet.
When things are going well in life, or what we call “normal” (whatever that means) is the time to hit the accelerator. On the days with less chaos strive to get even more done: take on difficult tasks or milestones that require deep focus.
3 Mistakes You Should Avoid
1. Succumbing to Self-Doubt
Nothing kills more dreams than self doubt. I remember when I was in the process of writing my book that the task at hand was so daunting that I could never finish it. “I might as well give up” I told myself at night. I was lucky though, my writing coach taught me to write my goal on a sticky note and look it at each day. That sticky note saved me–and I was able to quell my inner naysayer and ended up with an amazon best-seller.
2. Lack of Consistency
Being consistent doesn’t mean only avoiding Zero Days. It also is about when and where you complete tasks. Try your best to build good habits in completing your goal: Be in the same place when you work on it (if possible) and plan to be there working on that goal every day–at the same exact time. This will put your brain into a mindset when it is in that environment telling it “It’s goal time.”
3. Doing Lower Priority Tasks
The mind is an amazing thing–possibly to a fault. Many times when working on a difficult or large task you will instead find yourself taking the dog on a walk, doing dishes–or fixing that light bulb that’s been out for 2 years. This is a strange version of procrastination that gives your mind the ability to justify why it’s not working on the highest priority task at hand; because you were too busy doing other things. If those tasks were so important you can set aside time later to complete them. This situation can be avoided altogether by using a planner to determine what tasks you’ll focus on and when.
Zero Day Examples
The Bad: When I first started my business I had A LOT of Zero Days. I was new to the Entrepreneur world and my philosophy at the time was, “If I build it, they will come.” Well guess what, I sure did build it, but they didn’t just flock to my business. After almost going bankrupt, one of my first mentors taught me to set aside one hour everyday to be the CEO of my business and focus on tasks that grew the business. That one hour a day quickly grew our business, and was the end of Zero Days for me.
The Good: Armed with the lessons from launching and growing my first business, I knew that I would have to work on my book (writing, editing, marketing) for at least one hour a day. The manuscript was written at light speed, taking only 23 days, and within a year I had a fully edited, and published book on Amazon.com. There is no doubt that the book’s success has hinged upon the lack of Zero Days I had during it’s lifetime.
It is important to focus on giving your true goals the attention they deserve to become something that will benefit you, and the world. Zero Days are the enemy, and by just doing even the smallest task daily that giant monster of goal from years ago will soon be complete and you’ll be ready to slay the next giant in your path!