Itâ€™s a classic case most people can relate to.
Set the goal pretty high, start all gung ho, try to reach it, but it starts to feel so far away, you lose steam, you feel little or no progress is being made, fizz out, feel like nothingâ€™s happening and you give up.
Enter the beauty of benchmarks.
Setting benchmarks seems like the obvious thing to do but there seems to be one â€śmental roadblockâ€ť that stops people from setting them.
The logic of it goes something like this:
For example, if you set a goal of making $10,000/month with your own business and you keep your focus on that number, then youâ€™ll think of ways to make that amount per month.
But if you set a benchmark of $1,000/month and focus on that, then all youâ€™ll think of is $1,000/month ideas, not $10,000/month ideas.
The train of thought here is that the size of your ideas will fit the size of your goals.
At first glance, it makes sense.
If you set the goal too small, itâ€™s easy to think that youâ€™ll miss out on those â€śbigâ€ť ideas so you feel itâ€™s a waste of time to focus on the benchmarks. Better to keep your focus on that number at the top to produce ideas that will â€śfitâ€ť it.
Itâ€™s tempting to go buy into that kind of logic, but itâ€™s ultimately flawed and the reason is simple.
Youâ€™re not ready to handle that kind of â€śweightâ€ť yet.
If a person starts weight training, heâ€™s not going to load up 500 pounds on the bar and try to bench it.
Itâ€™s going kill him.
He finds out what he can handle, whatâ€™s feasible for him and he sets a benchmark for a weight a little higher than that.
5 pounds higher.
Doesnâ€™t sound like a lot, but 5 pounds is A LOT when youâ€™re huffing and puffing on your last rep.
Itâ€™ll take him a while, but sooner or later he will get there. He will be able to lift 5 pounds more.
Because he built the foundation to go 5 pounds more.
Through a regimen of weight training, he increased his strength, tore his muscles and rebuilt them with proper nutrition and rest and inevitably worked out to the point where he could meet that 5 pound higher benchmark.
Now, heâ€™s ready to go 5 pounds higher.
And he repeats the cycle until he hits his end goal.
Going back to the $10,000/month goal, your â€śfinancialâ€ť and â€śbusinessâ€ť muscles arenâ€™t strong enough yet to handle that kind of weight.
So you find a â€śweightâ€ť you can handle, thatâ€™s believable and you work toward something a little higher and set that as your benchmark.
Then, you set the foundation to create those â€śfinancialâ€ť and â€śbusinessâ€ť muscles to handle that weight and then you can increase the weight again and again and again until you hit your end goal.
For example, you might think you can offer some sort of service and you think all you need is 20 clients and bill each $500 to get to your $10,000/month goal, but youâ€™re just starting out.
You have no experience, no testimonials, no â€śleverageâ€ť so you find it difficult to get 20 clients.
But what if you could just get 1?
You knock on 100 business doors and try all kinds of different pitches until you get 1 person to agree to do business with you even though you have no prior experience.
And you do a heck of a job, a job so good you get a glowing testimonial out of it.
Now couldnâ€™t you get another client using that glowing testimonial and the pitch that you used to get that first gig?
And couldnâ€™t you get a client easier by having your 1st client refer you to your second because you did such a good job?
And how about doing a great job for your second client, and in the process, find out thereâ€™s additional value you can add to your first client so you can make more than $500 per client and instead $600?
This is the beauty of benchmarks.
By setting them and focusing on achieving them, it will show you the way on how to get to your end goal.
Itâ€™s NOT going to show you ALL OF IT AT ONCE.
Thatâ€™s what people think will happen if they just focus on the end goal and not the benchmark . They think itâ€™s either/or. You canâ€™t focus on both the end goal and the benchmark.
But you can.
Set the end goal in mind, THEN GO BACK, and FOCUS on your FIRST benchmark.
When you hit it, CELEBRATE, know that youâ€™re making HARD PROGRESS, remind yourself of the end goal in mind, THEN GO BACK and FOCUS on the SECOND benchmark.
Then rinse and repeat knowing that each benchmark you hit gets you closer and closer to the end goal you have in mind.
The logic of setting benchmarks is pretty simple. It makes the goal believable by breaking it down, but more important, it shows HARD PROGRESS being made.
Thereâ€™s nothing like achieving a benchmark that fuels your confidence, belief, and desire that you can get it done. That all you have to do then is focus on the next benchmark, and the next and the next until youâ€™re one away from the original goal you had in mind.
Make it EASY for you to win, especially in the beginning.
Donâ€™t make it so hard in the beginning that you find yourself discouraged from ever playing the game because you didnâ€™t set any â€ścheckpointsâ€ť to show youâ€™re making progress.
Set the benchmarks and celebrate each time you hit them because itâ€™s HARD PROOF youâ€™re making progress.
And as we all know, nothing breeds progress like progress.
Notice everything thatâ€™s taking you from benchmark to benchmark and â€śsnowballâ€ť all that, all the confidence, experience, knowledge, contacts, leverage, testimonials, ideas, etc., you get to each additional benchmark, until youâ€™re just 1 shot away from your end goal.
Thatâ€™s when you should focus on your end goal and thatâ€™s when youâ€™ll be ready to think of an idea to â€śfitâ€ť it, because you accrued everything you need to not only conceive of it, but successfully execute it.