I’m a fan of setting very large goals. If you set goals that are out of reach, you might fall short and still end up pretty far. But the problem with overly large goals is that it leaves a big blurry gap between you and the goal.

That’s where benchmarks come in. They provide tangible steps that are reverse-engineered to bring you closer to that goal, clarifying the middle ground bit by bit.

If I want to run a million dollar business and I’m starting from zero, I should first figure out how to earn $1,000. Then $10,000. Then $100,000. And eventually I’ll get up to $1,000,000.

A high school football star can and should have dreams of winning the super bowl, but without identifying the micro benchmarks that come each season in high school and college, he’ll just end up confused and disappointed when he finds him years away from his goal after years of solid effort.