“Don’t Count the Things You Do, Do the Things that Count”

This title is a great quote by Zig Ziglar, who was a very successful salesman, but also was a big believer in creating meaning in our lives over just making money.

This is the time of the year for New Year’s resolutions to start. Many of us will be frequenting our to do lists, measuring our goals, and tracking our progress. But let’s not get caught up in too much ‘busy’ work and the details, and forget the bigger picture. Because, by February, almost 92% of us will feel we failed at our goals, even if we ‘measure’ ourselves based the traditional SMART goal guidelines.

Some of our greatest thinkers and inventors, like Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and DaVinci, only did ‘busy’ work for a couple of hours a day. The rest was spent pondering… discussing.. daydreaming about the ‘impossible’. And look at what they accomplished! In our modern day, we shun any activity that doesn’t make us look ‘busy’.

What’s more important to you? To hit many goals quickly? Or to hit the big goals, that take time and require actually reducing the busy work? Will you feel that you aren’t doing enough? Will you lose sight of the big picture?

It’s your life and it is entirely up to you, on how you want to approach your goals.

So, when making new year’s resolutions, it is important that we look at each goal, and the steps to reach that goal and find our why. Let’s ask ourselves, “is this goal to satisfy my inner musts, or societal shoulds”, and then prioritize from there.

“People with a deeper cause, are much more successful than those who just want a better car.” – Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank

For example, “I want to lose 30 pounds.” Why?

Instead of focusing on the way others perceive you, focus on how you will feel with more energy and vitality. How will it change your life? Focus on visualization and how great you will feel with the weight released. It may take longer, but it will most likely be more permanent, and then you can stop making the weight loss goals and move onto to something else.

Another example, “I want to post more often on my blog.” Why?

Is it just to get more readers and monetizing, or is to give you more practice and allow yourself an outlet to be creative and write epic posts? See the difference? The first is an external motivator and the latter is intrinsic motivation.

You are much more likely to meet a goal that you are intrinsically motivated to do… these types of goals, in general, are hard to ‘count’.

How about you? Do you have many goals that require busy work, or one or two big goals?


6 thoughts on ““Don’t Count the Things You Do, Do the Things that Count”

  1. Thanks for the reminder. I have been working towards focusing on fewer projects and goals, but having them be more ambitious and meaningful. It is easy in the modern world to get carried away with notching wins that we forget to focus on our “why.”


  2. It seems to me that most people really just want more time…at least more freedom of time to do what they want to do and focus on the things that are most important to them. Unfortunately as the saying goes, rich people buy time while everyone else sells it.


  3. I have to admit that I have a few too many goals. But my two overarching goals are to exercise 4x a week because I wanna be around to play with my grandchildren one day and the other is to find a new job that aligns with my passions. If I accomplish those two I will consider it a successful year 🙂


  4. The more we desire, the more power is required for their implementation. And it us sucks into the vortex of endless desires. I admire people who can drop everything and go live a simple life. As the Roman emperor Diocletian, who chose to grow cabbage 🙂


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