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Move Ball One Yard Today

Move The Ball One Yard Each Day To Reach Your Goal

To follow up on my previous post and with February being the month of Superbowl…(wait, isn’t there another big holiday in February?) ? I thought we’d talk about what touchdowns and big, audacious goals have in common: they’re both achieved by moving the ball one yard at a time.

Tiny is Mighty

I’m a big believer in “tiny is mighty” because I’ve utilized it to accomplish some of my biggest goals and my clients have also realized this truth. One of my clients recently phrased it best as she reflected in a session: “I’ve learned that I don’t need to make grandiose efforts; I’m appreciating and respecting the simplicity of small tasks towards my goal.”

In our over-scheduled lives the science of small wins is having a progressive movement. Whether you’re wanting to initiate momentum towards your goal, start a new habit, or break a bad habit, you may find it helpful to think about it terms of moving the ball one yard every day towards what you want.

What this looked like for me was this:

Big (audacious) Goal: Start a health coaching business


  • Name, logo, brand, target niche
  • Create a professional website that attracted my desired client
  • Legal: Set up LLC, finalize all client forms to protect me and client
  • Fiduciary: Set up business checking account
  • Business development efforts to find clients
  • Digital marketing to nurture prospects
  • Pass exam to become National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach

Under each of the items above was a million small things that needed to be done. I was working full-time, coaching practice clients to meet certification requirements, studying for the national board exam, while still trying to do the daily tasks of eat, sleep, and bathe (which sometimes fell off the list!) After several months of making zero progress on a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g, I told myself “Ok Abby, you’re not going to get all of this done in one day, so find a way to move the ball just one yard today.” To bridge the gap from where I was today, to where I wanted to be, were alllllllllllll the action steps I needed to accomplish to get there. #overwhelmed

Move the ball one yard today

Although I’ve never played football in my life (and honestly I still don’t know all the rules), this catchy phrase stuck and I said it to myself every morning to help identify just one thing I could do that day that would get me one step closer to my goal.

Some days it really was just one yard: write one e-mail to the lawyer, create one social media post, read one article comparing e-mail platforms, etc. Some days my one yard was embarrassingly small! Yet, even the smallest step gave me a sense of satisfaction because I knew that was one less thing separating me from my goal. Other days there was more bandwidth and I moved the ball 5 yards: knocked out a whole page of content for the website, developed handout materials for Dr’s to use with their patients, created content for e-mail and social media, etc. The small efforts e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y lead to the achievement of the bigger goal over time. Did it all happen within the timeframe that I wanted? No. But I gave myself grace and accepted the pace that I could sustain; I achieved the sub-goals one by one and eventually the big, audacious goal.

Momentum begets momentum

In my work coaching clients, we utilize a very similar approach:

  1. Identify what their big audacious goal is and why this is important to them.
  2. Develop sub-goals that when achieved, will result in the achievement of the big, audacious goal.
  3. Brainstorm action steps for each sub-goal and how to accomplish these realistically in their everyday lives.

Through this approach clients have achieved their goals such as: reversing health concerns to come off medications, life-changing career shifts, improved strained relationships, new found energy to pursue passion projects.

Science supports small wins

Researchers Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer call small wins the “progress principle” which states: “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a day, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”  And what would be more meaningful than progressing towards your own big, audacious goal?! “The more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run” which means sustained, consistent determination towards your goal.

“When you increase your ability to be consistent, you dramatically improve your chances of success” – BJ Fogg, Tiny Habits

If you want to nerd out on the data, the chart below shows how progress vs setbacks is the underpinning for good days vs bad days.

chart, waterfall chart

Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer  state: “If a person is motivated and happy at the end of the day, it’s a good bet that he or she made some progress. On days when they made progress, our participants reported more positive emotions. They not only were in a more upbeat mood in general but also expressed more joy, warmth, and pride. A person’s inner work life on a given day fuels his or her performance for the day and can even affect performance the next day.” (Source:

In Summary

“Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different than what it was before” – C.S. Lewis

Every choice, even the small choices, either brings you one step closer to your goal, or one step further away from your goal. So I ask you, what’s one thing you could do today to move the ball just one yard closer to your goal?

If you’d like some additional support in flushing out this big, audacious goal, please reach out! I offer free initial consults so that you can experience the power of coaching and how it might be utilized as a tool to help you reach your goals.

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