Have you set a goal recently that almost feels too big to tackle? Don’t get discourage. This post will help you break your goal into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to take action and see progress.
STEP 1: DEFINE THE BIG GOAL AND GIVE IT A TIME FRAME
To achieve a goal, you need to know exactly what you’re working toward. A good way to do this is ask, what will life, the project, or the situation look like if I achieve my goal?
Once this is clear, you need to choose an end-time for the goal. Big goals typically need a long runway. That means your goal may be for the year. However, we find it’s easier to make progress toward your goal if you assign it an even shorter timeframe. So consider setting quarterly goals, or setting goals for a life specific time frame. An example would be working to achieve your goal before the end of the fall semester.
STEP 2: FIND THE MILESTONES WITHIN YOUR GOAL
Big goals typically have milestones. For example, if you plan to renovate your kitchen, you need a plan, contractors, and selected materials before the work can begin.
Once you know the milestones, you can assign these timeframes too. If you use an ABIDE & FOCUS Planner, we encourage you to choose a milestone for each month. You can list them on your MONTHLY FOCUS Plan. This helps clarify your next steps, AND keeps you from being overwhelmed by the size of your larger goal.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY THE ACTION STEPS FOR YOUR MILESTONE
To achieve a milestone, you’ll need to take a series of small steps. Take time to write down the first 5 steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
Why stop at 5? Because your focus right now isn’t achieving the milestone. It’s making progress without feeling overwhelmed. Completing this list of 5 small steps gives you a win. And that winning feeling can give you momentum when it’s time to plot the next 5 small steps toward your milestone.
STEP 4: ASSIGN EACH SMALL STEP A TIME
Your 5 next steps probably look a lot like a to-do list. That’s dangerous! To-do lists can be ignored, and are rarely finished. They just keep growing, which can discourage you. A better way to manage these little goals is to assign them a time.
If you use the ABIDE & FOCUS Planner, you can list 1-2 of these steps as weekly goals. That way, your next steps have a deadline. You can go even further by choosing a specific day to take the small step. And better yet, actually choose the time or time block that day you’ll complete the action.
STEP 5: TRACK SUPPORTING HABITS
Many goals, such as losing weight or writing a book, require you to do something on repeat. In the first example, you need exercise; in the second example you need to write consistently.
Identify the habits you need to reach your goal, then decide how frequently you need to do them. Will you exercise every day, or just on week days? Will you write three morning a week, or four? Once you’ve decided, track the habit.
Again, our planners are great tools for this because they have Habit Tracking sections for each week. But you can also do this in any planner or on a wall calendar.
Making big things happen takes small actions. Identify these actions, schedule them, and track them…and you’ll be well on your way to achieving meaningful goals.