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go small or go home

Setting big goals may be the problem.

The beginning of a new year is a horrible time to start working on goals.  People put too much pressure on themselves to make massive changes.  These goals are often too big and too general to be of any use.  Studies show that only 8% of people actually achieve the goals they set.   This upper echelon of high-achievers avoid setting vague and easy goals.

Research by research by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham show vague and easy goals do not get accomplished.  Actions should define your goals.  These actions should be specific and challenging.  


Big goals look great on paper, but they don’t get accomplished.  Break your goals into smaller action items.  Take one of those action items and develop a daily task.  A task, that if executed, will make the action item a habit.  Create a few new habits and discipline will follow.

Action creates momentum.  Momentum is inspiring.

I wanted to write a book, but I had never written a book.  So I broke the big goal of writing a book into two smaller action items.

  1. Read good writing (books) everyday for 30 days.
  2. Practice writing everyday for 30 days.

I was not going to attempt to set a big goal without testing out a couple of action items first. I created “30-day projects” to test my ideas.

I read for 15 minutes every day.  This task was so small that I could not come up with an excuse to skip it.  This task was challenging enough that I needed to create space in my day to do it.

When I completed the “30 Days of Reading” project, I started the “30 Days of Writing” project.  I was not writing my book during this project.  I practiced putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard.  

I tested and tweaked my methods. I tinkered with writing for 30 days.

I didn’t become a writer by doing these two 30-day projects. I became a person with a small amount of dedicated time each day.  I could use this time for anything.

I chose to write a book.

Can you break your big goal down to its smallest unit – an action or task?  

The smaller the action, the fewer the obstacles you will encounter.  Although the rewards are small, the victories are still sweet.  Small victories will propel you toward your big goal.


I practiced these new tasks for two months.  I developed new habits and learned to avoid distractions.  I generated ideas by reading books.  I practiced writing ideas by journaling.

Writing my book seemed pretty small after all that.  I just had to do a combination of the tasks I had been doing for the past two months.  I was riding a wave of momentum generated by small actions.

Momentum is the increase in the rate of development of a process.


Experiencing small victories each day will build momentum to propel you toward your big goal.  You need momentum to carry you above the rocky shoreline of the day-to-day activities of your business.

Your problem isn’t direction.  You know where you want to go.

Your problem isn’t action.  You are working toward growing your business.

Your problem is size.  You need smaller victories along the path to the big win.

I once heard that if flossing your teeth is a goal, then ‘start by flossing just one tooth.’ 

This seems ridiculous.

Can this goal get any smaller?  

If you commit to flossing just one tooth, then you’d feel silly for not accomplishing such a small action.  So you would do it.

And when you start with one tooth, then you’ll add another and another.  

Achieving small victories will establish habits. These habits will create the type of discipline that you will need to have when your willpower fades.

Your willpower will fade.

Start small. Start with one tiny thing.


I wrote for 30 minutes every morning in preparation for writing my book.  I didn’t want to give up the reading that I had grown to enjoy.

Reading became part of my regular routine.  I had to give something up to incorporate reading and writing into my daily life.  I had to stop doing something.

I often remind my clients, “Sometimes the most profitable job is the one you don’t get.”

You can’t do every project.  You shouldn’t do every project.

Saying “no” can be one of the most profitable strategies you implement this year.

You have to focus your time and energy.  Focus on one thing, the most important thing, and nothing else.

You wear many hats.  You are the owner and the lead carpenter.  You are the owner, salesperson and designer.  You are the superintendent, foreman, project manager, bookkeeper and owner.  The combination of duties and responsibilities is endless.

Which job will give you a small victory today?

You have to say no to more to get more done.  Multi-tasking is ineffective.  Focus your attention on one thing at a time.

When you eliminate distractions and delegate work, you will create the space you need to focus.

I fed my reading habit with audiobooks.  I eliminated other activities such as watching TV and listening to the radio.  These activities didn’t create momentum toward my big goal.

I started saying, “no.”  I focused on completing my book.  A constant pace in one direction was more important than distractions or personal downtime.

Say no more often.  Focus on small victories.  Create new habits.  Do bigger goals.

Start saying no to more things.  This will create the space (opportunity) to focus on the one task that is most important.  This task should be small – too small to fail.  Accomplishing this task will lead to other actions that will propel you toward your big goal.  Momentum-creating activities will foster new habits.  New habits will lead to a disciplined mindset.  A new mindset will help you accomplish your goal.


Listed below are some common goals with which many construction companies struggle.  I have listed some examples of the small victories and tiny actions that compromise the bigger goal.

Determine Net Profit Track all expenses Employ a Bookkeeper
Track Job Costs Using Time Cards/Material logs
Designing a Budget Understand the P&L Statement
Designing a Budget Knowing Labor Costs
Develop Income Streams Create Invoice Categories
Determine Closing Rate Track Projects by Number
Understanding Markup & Margin Calculate on Every Proposal
Accurate Projections COGS Review costs Each Eeek
Accurate Projections COGS Systematic Estimating System Develop a List of Standard Tasks
Productivity Factors Track Actual vs. Estimated Values
Labor Projections Create a Schedule
Hiring Employee(s) Design a Hiring Process Design a Written Application
Creating a Mission Statement Define Core Values
Increase Sales Develop a Marketing Plan Design a Customer Experience
Offer Benefits Calculate the Costs Track Gross Profits

What goals do you have for your construction business?

What small victories can you achieve?

What tiny actions will lead you to small victories?

I completed my book.  Writing the book took me longer than I thought.  But it got done.  

I do not think that I am good writer because I wrote one book.

But I can say that I did write a book and check that off my list.  

Actions speak louder than words.

I have a new goal – to change the way the world views that trades.  This is a big goal.

Follow me as I break this goal down into small victories on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Click here for your FREE download of my book – the Paperwork Punch List: 28 Days to Streamline Your Construction Business.


Contact me here and let me know what you think could be standing in your way, stopping you, or keeping you from achieving your goals.


Click here to book an appointment for one of my FREE strategy sessions.  We will discuss how I can help you get the results you need for your business.

{Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  I really do appreciate you.}


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