I chuckled in the smallish veterinary clinic in Leesburg, Virginia, just loud enough to draw a glance from the doctor standing nearby.
"My wife just responded to my text," I said. "I told her Dottie gained 10 pounds. She told me 'that's because you feed her salami every night.'"
Dottie is our Bulloxer rescue; a bulldog head stuck on a boxer's body. She's four years old, has white fur, and (now) weighs 85.2 pounds. Where she was once ripped with genetically-gifted shoulder muscle striation, she now looks a little soft and full.
Maybe full of salami...
In my defense, delicious deli meat is a staple of my closely tracked diet. Some of it falls on the ground while I'm snacking where Dottie dutifully slurps it up. Other times I'll roll up a slice for her and "play catch." Still other times she'll snag some off of the coffee-table herself, usually when I'm slow to share, and especially when I'm not looking.
Okay, okay, clearly I'm to blame here for her weight gains. If I'm being honest though, it does come as a surprise. I'm quite diligent about feeding her the same amount of food: One and a half cups in the morning, the same at night, both with a splash of warm water. No more, no less.
But, over the course of 6 months, a few slices of fatty meat start to add up to ounces, then pounds, then you're getting scolded in the vet's office for "overfeeding" your dog like some guilt-ridden gluttonous garbage disposal.
This happens to us humans too. We occasionally overeat. We skip planning our day. We lose track of time and get behind on meetings, work, and life.
We're human. It's allowed.
But knowing this about ourselves doesn't mean we should succumb to lackluster results. Instead, we should double-down on building good habits; habits that will naturally lead us to our desired finish line.
Moments Are Made of Habits
It often feels like the great moments of our lives are just that, moments.
In reality, life-defining events are the culmination of hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades of small decisions made easier or harder by the daily habits we keep. When we're living in the moment while keeping tomorrow in mind, we'll eventually walk into a future we've always envisioned (or something similar). When we're eating a little extra salami every night, well, we're going to miss our goals.
On April 21st, Mark Fisher from Mark Fisher fitness (one of the top-rated fitness studios in the nation) graced our business mastermind group with his super-human presentation powers. He was giving a talk on gathering customer feedback and using that data to improve your business and yourself.
During his talk, Mark said something quite profound.
To paraphrase, it's not enough to develop a vision for your life. Nor is it enough to turn that vision into goals. To truly achieve your dreams, you must transform your goals into the skills you'll need to get to where you want to go.
Create Habits to Develop Skills
Think about that for a moment. To achieve your goals, you must transform them into skills.
Said another way, while setting goals is important, if we don't create daily habits to develop the skills we need to achieve our goals and realize our vision, we'll flounder. Our goals will be nothing more than dates on a calendar. Our vision will be nothing more than words on a page, with no more or less power than the words in this very article.
Dottie can't set goals for herself. She doesn't have a vision for her life. And she can't build daily habits to help her achieve success. She's a dog. She'll eat meat until she's bloated and sick.
But you and I? We can.
We can take the time to know our purpose, create a vision for what we want our lives to look like, set goals to achieve that vision, and build the daily habits that will give us the skills to get there.
Skills Help You Grow and Achieve
Are you interested in becoming a better writer? Don't just set that as your goal. Create a habit of reading and writing and learning every day.
Want to sell more of your artwork online? Learn the skills necessary to take better photo's of your art, write better sales copy, and practice it daily.
Whatever it is that you want, set your goals and build daily habits to develop the skills necessary. That's the missing element of success! What's amazing about this strategy is that, even if you miss the mark, you still win. Goals are temporary achievements, but skills last a lifetime.
As I was writing this very article, Dottie begged me for her dinner. I carefully measured one and a half cups with a splash of warm water, as always. Dottie ate quickly. Faster than usual. And where she would normally beg to go outside after finishing, she instead slunk to her bed, ears back and tail down as my wife walked in.
Dottie probably saw the shock on my wife's face who realized that she had fed Dottie dinner and then, unknowingly, I did too.
One breakfast and two dinners... a 50% increase in the amount of food this overweight dog is supposed to eat on any given day. I guess she'll start on her goals tomorrow.
But You Have to Start Now
You and I? We have to start now.
We can't wait until "things settle down." We can't hold out for a quieter, less crazy time. That time will never come. And, to be frank, we won't find a settled, quieter, less-crazy time until we get a handle on the daily habits necessary for the growth and success we've always envisioned. The skills we take the time to develop now will save us untold time in the future.
So go, now, and find your purpose. Set your vision. Build supporting goals. And finally, stop letting a few slices of proverbial salami ruin your potential.
Establish good daily habits that help you build the skills necessary for success. Inch by inch, you'll get closer to where you want to be until, one day, you'll find yourself looking back on tremendous, purposeful growth and achievement.
About the Author
CO-FOUNDER | TECHNOLOGY, ORGANIZATION, PRODUCTIVITY, AND BUSINESS GROWTH FANATIC
Mike Mehlberg feeds his dog too much salami at night while helping Creators and Entrepreneurs build a vision for their life and develop the goals, habits, and routines to live their passion and grow their business with purpose and speed.
But you and I? We have to start now. We can't wait until "things settle down." We can't hold out for a quieter, less crazy time. That time will never come. And, to be frank, we won't find a settled, quieter, less-crazy time until we get a handle on the daily habits necessary for the growth and success we've always envisioned.