The 1 in 60 rule: How remarkably successful people stay on track to achieve their biggest goals

On March 28, 1979, a scenic flight crashed into a mountain in Antarcticawhich killed all 279 people on board.

An investigation found that the crew had not been notified of a 2-degree correction made to the plane’s flight path the night before, which caused the plane’s navigation system to direct them to Mount Erebus rather than through McMurdo Sound.

Two degrees doesn’t sound like a lot, but in aviation terms, even one degree is huge.

That’s why pilots learn the 1 in 60 rule, which states that after 60 miles, a 1 degree error in the course will result in a 1 mile deviation.

Which means the lake you wanted to fly over could turn out to be a mountain.

Keep in mind that the 1 in 60 rule isn’t just a navigation aid; it is a mental box designed to reinforce the importance of constant evaluations and corrections of the course.

If you don’t, the further you go, the more off course you get.

That makes the 1 in 60 rule a great mental box for achieving your own goals.

The 1 in 60 rule in action

We all have dreams. However, the people who realize their dreams don’t just dream. They create processes. They build systems. They establish routines that keep them on track and ensure they reach their ultimate goal.

Strangely enough, they are not obsessed with their goals. They are obsessed with their processes because greatness comes partly from inspiration, but mostly from consistent, unremitting effort.

And they stay on track as they continuously evaluate their progress and make smart corrections to their process.

Do you want to make a dream a reality? Follow this simple process:

1. Start with an extremely specific goal.

The further off course you start, the further off course you get. That’s why it’s so important to set a specific goal.

Let’s say you want to get in better shape and be healthier. “Be healthier” sounds great, but it’s too vague. How do you know when you’re “in better shape,” let alone “healthier”?

“Lose 10 kilos in 30 days” is a specific, objective and, above all, measurable goal. You know exactly what you want to achieve, which means you can create a process designed to get you there. You can create a solid diet plan. You can create an effective training plan.

You can track your progress and make smart course corrections.

Or say you want to grow your business. “Increase revenue” sounds great, but is too vague. “Bring in five new customers this month” is specific, objective and measurable. You know exactly what you want to achieve, which means you can create a process designed to get you there.

Under the line? You can’t chart an accurate course until you know exactly where you want to go.

2. Then forget your goal.

It is critical to maintain a laser-like focus on a target.

One of the biggest reasons people give up on big goals is the distance between them herewhere you are today, and there, where you hope to be one day. If you made only $10,000 in sales last month and your goal is $1 million in sales per month, the distance between here and there seems insurmountable.

That’s one of the reasons why the most incredibly successful people set a goal and then focus all their attention on creating and following a process designed to achieve that goal. The purpose still exists, but their real focus is on what they do Today

And make sure you do it again tomorrow.

Because consistency matters, what you do every day is who you are.

And who you become.

3. Focus on your process.

Healthcare providers are taught to check medications three times before dispensing them to patients. Not because the process itself is complex.

But because the consequence of an error is so great.

The same goes for you; the consequence of “mistake”, in terms of time, effort, money, etc. not achieving a goal can be significant. (And depressingly: No matter how many times you hear “fail fast, fail often,” failure still sucks.)

Pilots use the 1 in 60 rule to remind themselves to constantly check their progress and make quick course corrections.

You also know where you want to go. But you’ll never get there if you don’t check your plan regularly and adjust it based on your progress.

And if you don’t start on the right track. Remember that the 1 in 60 rule states that if you start with 1 degree, you will finish 60 miles later 60 miles later.

So don’t just correct your course along the way. Create and follow a process that is proven to work. Choose someone who has achieved something that you want to achieve. Deconstruct his or her process.

Then follow through and make small corrections along the way as you learn what works best for you.

That way, when you run your own 60-mile version, you’ll get exactly where you hoped to be.

The opinions expressed here by businesstraverse.com columnists are their own, not businesstraverse.com’s.