The "Daily 5" and Being Intentional

goal setting habits the one thing Jun 22, 2021

As a coach to high performers or those wishing to be high performers, I believe it is important that I also continue to develop my craft and be the absolute best version of myself that I can be. Growth is also a core value of mine and one way that I display this value is through a commitment to continuous improvement in a variety of domains. It may be growth experienced through the purposeful study of various interventions and training programs that have shown to be effective. It could be me intentionally pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Or my focus on improving my physical and mental health and continuing to develop and deepen the relationships with those I care about.

As part of a coaching program that I am a part of, I was given the exercise to reflect on what 5 things would need to occur before I die for me to consider my life one that was well-lived. This was referred to as my “big 5”. The next aspect of this exercise was to identify 5 individual process goals (one for each of the big 5) that I could do each day to take one small step towards accomplishing this big goal. This was referred to as my “daily 5”.

Identifying my “daily 5” wasn’t an easy process but I did it. I then found that I needed to operationally define the activities that qualified. I needed a concrete way to know if I could check the completion box on the habit tracking app I use. One of the challenges I often see when people set goals is that they are vague. For example, I have seen clients write a process goal of “exercise 4x / week” or “spend quality time with kids 3x/ week”. Well, what qualifies as exercise and for how long? Does taking a 10-minute walk qualify in your world or do you need a 45-minute-high intensity session to meet your goals? And even then, “high intensity” can be further defined as a minimum of 20 minutes in zone 4 or something along those lines.  The important thing about setting process goals is that they are super specific, and you are confident they will lead you to your performance or outcome goal because that is what you are focused on and tracking.

But I digress.

The point was that I recognized that I needed to be super specific on the behaviors that qualified in meeting this goal. As a side note, an easy way that you can do this would be to ask yourself, “If I only did this one activity each day- over time, would I reach the performance or outcome goal that I am aiming for?” If yes- Great! If no- then you need to modify your process goal until you can definitively say “yes” to that question.

Once I had identified all behaviors that could qualify for me to check the “completed” box, I needed to track it. Personally, I use the app, Habit Bull to track my process goals. I also decided to journal each night on what specific activity I did that day. For example, one of my big 5 is that my children are happy and believe in themselves and their abilities. My “daily 5” for this activity is to do something intentional each day to build up both of my children. Each morning, I ask myself “How will you build up both of your children today?” I use a similar structure for each of my “daily 5” goals. By intentionally asking myself these questions each morning, I direct my focus to the different activities that I want to accomplish that day.

I have only recently started this activity within the last couple of weeks, but I can say with certainty that it is a game-changer. It provides me with a focus each morning on the small behaviors that compounded over time lead to huge results and a life well-lived based on my core values.  I encourage you to try this exercise and adopt this practice.

Upfront- it took me about 60-90 minutes of reflection to identify each of my “big 5” and then specific activities that make up my “daily 5”. Each day, it takes approximately 10-15 minutes, but it is well worth the time invested. Not only do I start my day with focused intention, but I am confident that my daily activities are leading me one step closer to fulfilling my goals and how I define a life well-lived.

Thank you for taking the time to read my reflections and I hope that they provided you with some value that you can use to move the needle one step closer to reaching your full potential.

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