All posts by Joshua Howard

Dream Big Long-Term, Work Small Short-Term

When it comes to setting goals and trying to figure out how to reach them, I’ve done my fair share of experimenting (you can see some of the strategies here: The ‘I HAVE To’ List).

But of all of the methods I’ve tried, and all of the ones I’ve failed at, there are a couple of things that have stood out as being helpful, across the board.



Dream Big Long-Term

In “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr (which I recommend buying and reading, it’s like a $10 book with about 20 pages in it), he discusses setting objectives, or goals, at a level that requires more than the average amount of effort to achieve. He follows this up by stating that even if a person, or team, only achieves a percentage of their goal, say 85%, that this is still a success.

The thought process behind this is that we too often limit our potential by trying to set reasonable goals… yet it is the unreasonable goals that actually drive innovation and progress. If you’ve ever heard anyone say, “shoot for the moon and you might land on a star”, this is what they are referring to, and it’s more than just a simple saying.

Setting big goals with an aggressive deadline will quickly put you into a different level of drive and this is exactly where you want to be, to achieve your goals.

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The thing that trips most people up though, is that they become very impatient to reach their bigger goals. Many people expect to hit the gym for a week or a month and then decide to give up, because they aren’t where they thought they should be. Peoples expectations on how quickly they should find success is terribly misguided and is often the cause of people who give up too soon.

This is what makes Dream Big Long-Term valuable. It tells us to continue to aim extremely high, so that we can continue to innovate and grow, but it also reminds us that we need to be running the race with the tortoise mindset and not expect to reach the finish line so quickly.

You can’t fast-forward to an achievement you haven’t earned.

Work Small Short-Term

While we need Big Dreams to set us on the right path, being a dreamer alone won’t get you where you want to go. And while our expectations should concern the Long-Term, if we’re not making enough happen consistently in the Short-Term, we’ll never get there.

That’s why Working Small Short-Term matters and it’s all about staying consistent, quickly. We can have a goal to win a race, but the only way to reach the finish line is to start taking steps. And the person or team that can show up every day, no matter the obstacles, and take another step, is the one who is going to reach the finish line.

Working Small Short-Term means looking for the Little Victories and trying to obtain as many of them as possible, as quickly as possible. The thing that tends to slow down a lot of people, when trying to reach their goal, is getting too caught up in trying to make the right decision.

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Maybe they over think what their workout routine should be, or they spend too much time trying to consider every option out there, and so they burn a bunch of time and energy on just thinking… but the thing is, no one can make the right decision always (unless of course you can predict the future).

Something that might look like a sure-fire, right decision now, might turn out to be a terrible choice 6 months later. You might think it’s a good idea to go to the grocery store, and then get hit by a car on the way. Suddenly that sure-fire choice just took a wrong turn. Life has a funny way of working like this, isn’t it ironic?

The point is, don’t get too caught up in trying to make the right, or even the best decision. Start taking actions and steps that you think might move you forward toward your goals ,and along the way you’ll figure out which choices work most of the time.


Action Wins

Today’s post is my little victory.

It’s not a long post.

It’s not a fancy post.

It’s not a post with some great tips or a life lesson.

It’s just a short post so I can get my little victory in for the day.

Consistency matters most.

3 Key Tips On How To Start a New Habit In 2021

As New Year’s approaches many people are gearing up for their New Year’s Resolutions. Many are hoping that 2021 can be the year of change. The year that takes all the other years and makes them all look like they were worth waiting for.

Yet, there will be many who awaken on a March day in 2021 and find themselves living the same life they were in December 2020. New Year’s resolutions have a way of doing that to us. Setting us up with fantastic goals, only to have the reality of the situation set in a few months later.



But what if, instead of trying to change our lives like we were ripping off a band-aid. We instead told ourselves that we would try to change our lives like someone building a house? That instead of looking to make a sudden and quick change, we would instead opt for the daily actions that would then produce the results of the change over the course of the 2021 year.

In other words, what if we could change ourselves through small daily actions, rather that giant New Year sized ones? I think, from my own experience, that there are a couple of things that we, as people can do differently that can greatly increase our chances of starting a new habit.

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Before we can really get started we have to have the vision of our new habit. Like building a new house, you first need to start working on the blueprint. You don’t’ need to have every measurement figured out but you do need to start filling in the gaps of the habit you’re wanting to create.

The flaw most people make in this step is that they over simplifying the requirements and impact of the habit they are trying to start. What I mean is, people tend to forget how their new habit might impact other people or how their environment and daily life are already impacting it.

Consider someone who wants to quit smoking but still wants to go hang out with a group of friends who are all smokers. In this case the environment is already trying to encourage you to make a choice to smoke. Someone without this same environment will stand a much better chance of actually quitting.

When we’re laying out the blueprint of our change, we need to try and consider all of the other people involved. What will people say? What will people ask you? Is there anything in our environment that is already presenting a challenge to this habit? The more challenges and obstacles you identify in your blueprint, the better and more resilient your house is going to be.

We don’t have to have a completely finalized game plan either. Some people like to wait until every details is analyzed and provided but that’s not nearly as effective as making an initial blueprint and then getting started. We just want to try and find as many “got ya’s” as we can.

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Now that you have a blueprint it’s time to put things into action. The next flaw that most people make is that they exhaust 100% of their motivation and will power in week one.

They sign up for a gym membership, buy new gym clothes, and plan out an entire week of meals and exercises. Maybe they sign up to a new program or meal prep all of their meals on Sunday. They try to do as many things as they can to ensure they are successful the next day when the alarm goes off…

But this is a broken strategy. This strategy suggests that you’re always going to be feeling as motivated as you do when you first started. It does jack shit for accounting for what the world is really going to be like. If it takes the coming of a whole New Year just to get you to do all of this shit in the first place, is it really then feasible that you’re going to keep doing all of this again 3 months from now?

The reality is that the world is going to give you flat tires and rainy days and the New Year’s sunshine attitude isn’t going to get you more than another subscription cost to your monthly budget in the end.

What we should be doing here is trying to build our house over the next year by laying one brick every day. Every day we should aim to lay at least one brick that moves us toward our habit. If our new habit is to lose weight, then we can lay a brick of eating a salad for lunch once a week. We start there. Once a week, very easy to accomplish, and we lay that brick.

Then after week 2 or 3, we decide to go for walks on Saturday’s also. Remember we have our blueprint for what we really want, but we’re just laying one brick at a time as we build out the design.

The reason we do this is because we want to spread out our motivation and we want to have the ability to adjust our strategy if we find that salads on Wednesday’s don’t work, because there’s a company lunch, but salads on Tuesday and Thursday do work.

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Finally, at the end of the day, no matter how well you plan or how motivated you are. No matter how many little bricks you try to lay, if the foundation of your house is no good, in the end, it will fall.

The foundation of your house is the ‘Why‘ to what you’re trying to change about yourself. Why are you trying to lose weight? Why are you wanting to quit smoking? Why are you trying to be a better father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter? Why are you trying to start this new adventure?

If the answer to your ‘Why‘ question is because you want it for you. You will eventually fail. The best reason I can explain for this is because life has a way of challenging us in a way that simple self gains aren’t enough of a force to push us past those really tough moments. Think of the person who works hard to provide for their family versus the person who just wants to make a quick buck. Whose got the greater motivator?

So take all three pieces of advice, layout a blueprint for where you want to go in the next year, start laying a small brick every day, and find a reason for doing it that’s greater than doing it for yourself. If you can combine all three, you’re much more likely to actually achieve that New Year’s Resolution.

Best of luck to everyone out there that’s getting ready to start their resolutions!


How To Create a Glow Effect In Your Unity 2D Project

This process took me entirely too long to actually figure out how to do myself. I even spent a couple of bucks on an solution off the Unity Asset store and still struggled.



I wanted to write this tutorial for anyone else that might want to add glow effects to their projects and to hopefully avoid them having to ride the struggle bus like I did. Take a peek at the end result here:

Play the game right here!

To get started, create a new Unity 2D project. Once created, open the Package Manager under the Window menu item and search for the Universal RP package, install it.

In the Project view, right-click and select “Create >> Rendering >> Universal Render Pipeline >> Pipeline Asset (Forward Renderer)”

This will create 2 objects, name the first object 2D Render Pipeline and delete the object named 2D Render Pipeline_Renderer.

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Right-click in the Project view again and select “Create >> Rendering >> Universal Render Pipeline >> Pipeline Asset (Forward Renderer)”

Rename this object to 2D Renderer. You should now have two render objects like this:

Click on the 2D Render Pipeline object and in the Inspector, drag the 2D Renderer object into the Renderer List. Also check the HDR checkbox under Quality.

Now under the Project Settings which can be found under “File >> Build Settings >> Player Settings” select the Graphics tab and set the Scriptable Render Pipeline Settings to the new 2D Render Pipeline object we just created.

Under the Main Camera Inspector you will see some new options, check the box for Post Processing under the Rendering drop down.

If you want, you can change the background of the camera to black to help add to the glow effect.

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In the Hierarchy, right-click and create a new 2D Sprite. On the Sprite Renderer of the new object, select the Knob sprite (or provide your own).

Also on the Sprite Renderer, set the Material option to Sprite-Lit-Default (you will have to click on the little eye, to show all of the options).

Now all you have to do is add a Light object to your new sprite and viola, he shall GLOW!

You can play around with the effect of the glow by tweaking these settings on the Point Light 2D

If you want to watch the live stream of the making of this tutorial you can check it out here: Twitch Live Stream or you can catch the shortened version on YouTube!


There Is No Finish Line

How many goals have you set and achieved?

What does your success ratio look like?

If it’s anything like mine, it’s about 2:9843455….

So why is achieving our goals so difficult? Well there can be a number of different reasons, but I think that ultimately there is one key flaw in our goal setting that is holding us back and I don’t think it has anything to do with the goal itself.



Have you ever asked yourself what would happen after you’ve reached your goal?

Let’s say you wanted to lose some weight. You sign up for an 8 week program, you do that program, you lose some weight… and then what?

What happens after that 8 weeks?

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What happens after you’ve reached your goal?

This is the area of time I don’t think enough people consider when they are setting their goals. What happens AFTER you’ve reached your goal? Well if you go back to behaving like you did prior to starting your goal…

Guess what’s going to happen to your weight…

People tend to be terribly short-sighted when it comes to goal setting. It’s just a natural part of who we are as human beings. We’re quick to jump on a new strategy or plan if we think it will get us to our goal faster but we’re not stopping to consider what happens if we actually reach that goal and we’re especially not considering what happens after.

What we’re really missing some perspective on, is the journey towards the goal.

It’s not the goal that gets us in shape, it’s the pursuit of that goal that gets us in shape.

It’s the journey that gets us in shape.

David Goggins, one of the most intense athletes I know, once said,

“An NFL football player comes up to me and says, “Goggins can I ask you a question? How do you keep that dog mentality?”

And I said, “Let me ask you a question? When you were younger, what did you want to be?”

He said, “An NFL football player… but once I got there I lost that dog mentality…”

He had a finish line in his brain. Guess what, a true dog mentality…

I have a dog at home, he never gets full.”

You see even those that can achieve amazing accolades, those that can reach the peak of athleticism, can reach their goals and not know what to do next.

This is the same mistake many people, including myself, make when setting their own goals. Our mind is too far spent thinking about the finish line, and not about the journey.

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The journey is really where we should be putting our time and effort in to.

But yes, we do still need a goal. A goal sets us on the journey. It gives us a direction, but the goal should only give us the direction. It should only be to point us to where we want to go, it shouldn’t be a finish line.

So the next time you set a goal, don’t set one that has a finish line. Set one that is grossly unachievable (Setting Big Goals: What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up) and then spend your time focusing on the journey.

Don’t worry about ever trying to achieve your goal, worry about what you’re doing today, that is taking another step on the journey.

Go all in on the journey and never stop walking the path!


How To Be More Efficient

One of the best ways to get ahead in anything that you work on is to find ways to improve efficiency. The faster you can get something done the more time you can put towards working on other important things. I think that’s a pretty straight forward concept to understand but the real trick is identifying what can be improved and how.



Let’s start with what you should try not to make efficient. It’s important to understand that not all things should be optimized for efficiency. For some things, the actual amount of time and the quality of that time both have an impact on the end result. One big area in this regard is in your relationships.

Don’t try to make Relationships efficient!

When we start thinking about efficiency we tend to start looking for lots of areas we can improve and this unintentionally bleeds over into our relationships, but…. this is the one place that you do not want to be efficient.

If you try to be efficient in your relationships people will know that you are doing just that, and it will come off as being too busy for them. Even if it’s not intentional, you just cannot put efficiency into your relationships. Instead, focus on quality and effectiveness in this area.

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Automate your way to getting more done!

So what you can focus on for efficiency? Just about everything else. And there are a number of ways you can optimize efficiency. One of the best ways is to look for places to automate things. (read my article on automating: Automate FTW!).

Automation can provide you a great deal of efficiency and potentially remove the risk associated with people. Because let’s be honest, people are very error prone (I’m sure I failed a grammar test on this blog...).

Get better at what you’re already doing.

After automation you can look to training. Training can greatly improve efficiency. The more you do a task and the more you learn about a particular task, the better you can do it. Consider an athlete who wants to improve their shot efficiency and spends the off-season in training camps. You can approach your tasks the same way.

And you have two approaches to getting better training. You can learn to train yourself through practice and self education OR you can hire/find a coach or mentor. Both methods can be effective and both combined can be efficient, see what I did there 😉

Master… Delegate… Train… Master… Delegate… Train…

Your next option to improve efficiency is to delegate. A lot of people struggle with delegation and it’s because they have an expectation that another person… a completely different human being, with a different background and a different set of life experiences, is going to do something the same way they do when they delegate it.

But that never works. If you delegate something to someone, your expectation should be that they do it roughly 85% as good as what you really want them to do.

Once you’ve set a more realistic expectation on the tasks you’ve delegated, you need to start training. Now you are the coach or mentor and you need to help this person improve their efficiency, which in turn, will improve yours. Delegation is often an investment that is mistaken as a handoff. Delegation is not a hand-off. Be clear on that. It’s an investment and should be treated as such.

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Now you have three different approaches you can use to improve efficiency. Remember, not all things should be more efficient. I find the best way to know what should be efficient, is to identify something that you’re doing on repeat. If you’re performing a particular task and it has become fairly routine for you, you should look to see if you can apply one of the three methods above to make it more efficient.

Can you automate it? There are a million ways to automate things. I automate my monthly budgeting and my weekly grocery list. I automate rules in my email applications to organize them for me. You can buy dog feeders to reduce the number of times you have to fill up a dog bowl. These are just some random ideas to get your mind on the right track.

Can you train on it? Can you learn to get better at the task and therefore do it more efficiently? I’m a very avid reader and reading has given me a ton of insights into how to complete tasks more efficiently. We live in an age of technology where literally learning to do anything faster or better is a google search away.

Take advantage of this opportunity and do a little research to teach yourself how to do things better. Just be sure to consider your source and know that not all information on the internet is equal. I recommend getting multiple view points.

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Can you delegate it? Can someone else do this for you? I delegate chores to my kids and offer an allowance in return. If I have a particular work task I think someone else can do better than me, I offer to exchange a work item with them that I know I could also complete faster.

Can you hire an accountant to do your taxes for you? What about pay someone else to cook for you, like when you order take out? Delegation happens more often than we think but once we start to realize it we can take better advantage of it.

If you have other tips on how to improve efficiency share them in the comments!