Reach Your Goals by Driving With the Headlights On

About 2 months ago, I had the pleasure of attending April Bowles-Olin’s workshop Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can purchase the training videos here—and see my lovely face in the audience!

During one segment of the workshop, April asked us to describe how we want our customers and clients to feel when they purchase our products.

I said that I want them to feel like they’re driving with the headlights on.

What does that mean? Does life editing suddenly involve race cars?

Nah. It’s an idea to get you to narrow your focus to reach your goals.

Imagine you’re driving a car from Los Angeles to New York City. It’s late at night and you don’t have the car’s headlights turned on. PSA: Don’t really do this.

So it’s scary, you’re crashing into things, and all you can think about is how many thousands of miles remain on this endless journey. The destination is so far away that it seems virtually impossible to reach.

Ugh. What an awful trip. But many of you are going through your lives without your “headlights” on.

Now imagine that you click on the headlights as you cruise along through the dark. You certainly can’t see your destination, but you CAN see the 20 feet that are lit up directly in front of your car.

By focusing on just that tiny lighted path, you can drive clear across the country!

The point of this story is that you can achieve all of your ginormous goals for your business, career, health, relationships, etc. if you focus on only the “next 20 feet.”

The small details are essential for making progress on any project. The big picture might help you define your dream, but obsessing over the enormity of the task will slow you down…or make you hit the brakes completely.

Here’s an example. If you want to lose 30 pounds this year—which may or may not be my goal, *ahem*—you shouldn’t focus only on the end result (ie, being 30 pounds lighter). Instead, break down that goal into all the tiny edits you need to make along the way. These small edits, or “baby steps,” seem much more doable and easy to achieve.

Of course, you can lose 1 pound! That’s something you know you’re capable of doing. Now think about losing 30 pounds. Eep! That’s a bit harder to wrap your head around.

For this example, just “turn on your headlights” and focus on losing one pound at a time. It might also include going to the gym one more time. These little wins will help you feel the energy of completion, which will spur you on to do more.

Here’s an example for entrepreneurs. Let’s say you want to increase your email list by 100 people. Focus on getting the next 5 signups and the smaller actions that lead to signups, such as sharing your opt-in on Facebook.

Be sure to reward yourself when you complete the tiny edits along the way. “Fuel up” your motivation no matter how slow you might think you’re going.

What do you really want in 2015? First think about your big, exciting goal. Then break down all the steps you’ll need to take to get there. Try to make them as small as possible so you’ll have no hesitation when it’s time to do them.

Don’t stay in the dark when it comes to your goals. Turn on those headlights and get going!

[Tweet ““I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” Abraham Lincoln”]

If you want help focusing on your next tiny edits, check out the 2015 Edited Year Planner. Every week you’ll choose small goals that lead to larger ones, plus keep track of your progress through the Life Editing Process.

Are you a driving with the headlights on?

In the comments below, share your tips for focusing on tiny edits (or baby steps) without getting overwhelmed by the big picture.

This post focuses on Step 3 of the Life Editing Process, Add Good Habits and Routines. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.


  1. Herdis Pala on January 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Congrats on the move, you Disney-fan 🙂
    Great blog as always!

  2. Anastasia Parmson on January 9, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    This speaks to me on so many levels! I have actually turned the image you shared on facebook “Do less with more focus” into a desktop background and remind myself of it every day.
    Last year was full of very steep learning curves for me but also flailing around trying to do too much without really getting very far. This year I am keeping my headlights on baby!
    I say it’s about time my creative enterprise got some wind in the wings because this year I am turning 30 and that is a hell of a milestone so need some great big positive achievements to mark it with!

  3. Amanda - Scoutie Girl on January 7, 2015 at 5:58 am

    What a wonderful concept and fantastic way to explain it! I love this, thanks for sharing.

    • Sage Grayson on January 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks, Amanda! 🙂

  4. Dana Thompson on January 6, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Love this metaphor! Jack Canfield shares a similar thought in his book “The Success Principles” which is absolutely my all time favorite success in life & business, self-help books. I think it should be mandatory reading for everyone on January 1 of every new year. Since I”m really struggling to find focus this year and feeling overwhelmed, this was a good reminder of how to get unstuck. Thanks Sage!

    • Sage Grayson on January 9, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      I swore I had heard this metaphor somewhere before but I couldn’t figure out where or from whom! Thanks for shining a light (headlight?) on this. 🙂 I think I first heard him describe it in The Secret movie–so good.

  5. Sue Nelson on January 6, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for the great advice Sage! I received your Planner and was working on my edits and goals last night! It really helps so much to put it down on paper and have a definite plan! Now I just need to list each step and focus on each one. I have my headlights on and are looking forward to 2015!

    • Sage Grayson on January 9, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Awesome! You can do it, Sue. 🙂

  6. richelle on January 5, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    So smart Sage!! That is pretty much my theme this year. Kind of funny considering I don’t drive. I have started my own program, before I was 100% ready. I knew that backing myself into a corner was the best way to get it done. I came to that realization last year and now I am employing it with gusto.
    All the best to you,Chris, and Skyla in 2015!!

    • Sage Grayson on January 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      I hardly ever drive either, but I’d like to change that in the new year. Much love and happiness to you in 2015, Richelle! 🙂

  7. Kerryn Hewson (Colour Your Life) on January 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Great advice, as always. 🙂 And I’m guessing, inspired by one of my favourite quotes of all time…

    “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow

    • Sage Grayson on January 6, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Love this! Thanks for sharing, Kerryn. 🙂