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A financial advisor I work with said the following about his 2012 goals, “I like to set my goals high because it will get me close to where I need to be. If I tell myself I am going to contact twenty clients a day, I know I will at least end up with twelve, thirteen—maybe fifteen—contacts a day.”

At first glance, the financial advisor’s approach makes sense. However, there is one MAJOR flaw: the set-it-high-and-come-close approach teaches individuals that they do not accomplish what they set their minds to. This becomes a real issue when the pressure is on.

Imagine what happens to the set-it-high-and-come-close individual when roadblocks to success appear (you get sick, the market makes a dramatic turn for the worse, or any number of things that you can’t control). Using the financial advisor’s logic, you will have taught yourself that you don’t accomplish what you set your mind to, and when roadblocks appear, your success will unravel. Translation: the set-it-high-and-come-close mentality only works when everything is going well. Unfortunately everything doesn’t go well very often, and in the long run, you’ve set yourself up to fail.

It is important to learn to always do what you set out to do. When it comes to achieving both daily and annual goals, I strongly encourage my clients to identify and fully commit to the bare minimum of what is necessary for greatness.

The financial advisor knows he needs to make at least twelve current client contacts and three prospective client contacts each day if he is going to achieve his production goals. If he consistently does so, he will know, even in tough times, he ALWAYS accomplishes his goals.

The secret is to consistently practice the daily activities needed to produce results. If you have a day where you literally can’t finish what you know needs to be done then use a two-, three-, or four-day working average to accomplish your goals. For example, if the financial advisor receives an emergency call from home after completing only six of his contact calls, then he needs to do more than fifteen calls over the next few days to get his working average back up to 100%. And be sure to accomplish this working day average within one week, as it begins to be overwhelming to increase discipline for longer periods.

Become known as the person who always accomplishes the goals he sets for himself and you will become like the go-to athlete who gets the ball at the end of the game. When you always do what you set out to do, you learn to be the one who always gets it done—especially when the pressure is on and it matters the most.


Dr. Jason Selk LPC, NCC is the Director of Mental Training for the World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals, and author of 10-Minute Toughness and the newly released book Executive Toughness, The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance (McGraw-Hill, Nov 2011). For more on Jason you can also visit his WEBSITE.