Habits of Successful People #8: Have daily written goals/to do list

I am excited to get back to our discussion about the Habits of Successful People.  Before we move on I want to clarify a very important point…when I refer to success I am referring to professional and monetary success.  However, I do so because there are so many different definitions of success that I have to narrow down our focus.  With that said the principles of attaining any goal are the same; meaning the steps are transferable.

I type this to say please stop sending me comments and emails bashing me for my focus on money and professional life. I understand that there are many different types of success other than financial and professional.  If you read my posts for any IMG_7061amount of time you know that I rarely focus on money or material things.

On to our discussion…

The eighth habit on our list is: Have daily written goals/to do list.  I have discussed this topic in the past, To Do or Not To Do and enjoy the idea of having a list to work with each day.

People that find success in life do so with a clear goal in mind.  Whether it is to be shift supervisor, own a business, lose weight, save money, pay off debt, the steps involved are very similar.  My goals are to grow my blog readership to 8,000 and views to 40,000 per month by the end of 2016, publish my book by June 2016, obtain corporate support and book 10+ speaking engagements through the end of 2015.

My goals are very specific, quantifiable and measurable.  My daily written To Do list is simply 5 items that I plan to accomplish on that particular day.  I avoid adding more than 5 items because I want the list to be doable and stress relieving.  If I compile a list of 10+ items I must know that I can get those 10 items finished.  If not, restrict your daily written list to 5 items or so.

The daily checklist serves very important purposes for me:

  1. Gives me a sense of accomplishment.   There is nothing like accomplishment to build confidence.  And the more you check off your list the more confident you become!
  2. Keeps me focused.  I understand clearly what I need to work on throughout each day to achieve my daily goals.
  3. Helps me get things done.
  4. Helps me use my time more effectively
  5. Keeps me focused on staying in the moment.  If your goals are formed properly then they should scare the hell out of you!.  Focusing on today keeps the mind off of the bigger picture and on the work necessary today to reach said goal(s).
  6. Clears my mind of stress as I no longer have to remember everything.
  7. Provides support to my year-long or long-term goal list

Remember, success in any arena rarely, if ever, happens by chance.  It takes careful planning, persistence, focus and hard work.  There are times when I become less focused and “rest” a little from the grind of focusing each and every day.  But for the most part I use my daily To Do list to simply keep me focused on the things I need to do today to make my long-term goal come to fruition.  This is a part of the 4th Pillar of Successful People: getting organized/goal focused.

I have racked my brain trying to think of any successful, goal achievers that I know that do not use a written daily To Do list and have been unable to name any; the written list is that important.

I will say this: if you want more success then find one goal on which to focus your life, develop a plan and then develop daily written To Do lists to help you reach long-term goals.  The To Do list will focus you, relieve stress, make you more productive and support long-term goals.

I hope this helps someone get a touch more organized!



19 thoughts on “Habits of Successful People #8: Have daily written goals/to do list

    1. And the 5th item on my list is usually a reminder that I transfer day-to-day-to-day. For instance, my 5th item right now is:
      5. Find corporate sponsorship.
      Obviously, I am not going to finish this today, but it is a constant reminder to me that finding an advertiser is to be at the forefront of my mind.

  1. Solid advice. I tend to make my to-do list either too long by listing everything under the sun or too vague. The end result is nothing gets accomplished. This offers a different, more manageable approach.

  2. Can’t write any more, so I make sure to type it up and include it in my calendar on the laptop. Have been successfully doing that for a few years now.

    Follow the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid!

  3. I am a user of lists, but they end up getting lost and i write more. I can’t focus long enough to do anything. I probably ought to make it msnfstory to do them before computer time. What is with this font? I can’t read it!

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