Do you have a big goal you’d like to reach, but feel like there’s no time to pursue it? Then this post series is for you.
In the last post, I outlined 3 questions you should ask God to discern if this is the right season to pursue your goal. If you feel like the answer is yes…it’s time to strategize.
Here are 5 steps you should take make progress toward your goal each week.
STEP 1: CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR GOAL
Once you know what you’d like to achieve, you need to make sure your goal is specific enough to take action. For example, build a stronger relationship with my kids sounds great. But what exactly does it look like to achieve this?
Are you measuring your success by the number of quality conversations you have with your kids each week? Or is this about working through anger (or other) issues you face? If you’re having trouble really naming what it is you want to achieve, ask yourself:
- What would success look like?
- What defeating behaviors, knowledge deficits, resource deficits, or obstacles do I need to overcome to achieve this success?
The answers can help you better define your goal.
When your goal is clear, write it out in a planner such as ABIDE & FOCUS, or plain notebook where you’ll track the next steps.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT GOAL MILESTONE
You may need to take hundreds of small actions or make lots of decisions to achieve your goal. That laundry list of to-do items is likely to overwhelm you. Instead of focusing on everything that needs to be done, ask this:
What is the first milestone toward success?
Identifying this smaller achievement gives you an earlier point for success. It also lets you focus on a smaller set of to-do’s, which reduces overwhelm. Here’s what this looks like in real life:
My husband and I recently set a goal to paint our kitchen cabinets. Technically, it’s still our goal because…well, painting cabinets like a professional takes F…O…R…E…V…E…R (,but I digress).
That’s why we needed milestones. If I couldn’t declare any success until all 27 doors, 13 drawers, upper frames, and lower frames had three coats of paint (yes, three), I would be living in total failure right now.
But with milestones, I’m winning. I felt success when all our kitchen prep was done. I felt it again when all the cabinet frames were painted, and once more when all the drawers were done.
With these successes under my belt, I can more positively look to the next milestone: painting cabinet doors.
So what’s your first milestone? Write it down and focus on it exclusively.
STEP 3: BREAK THE MILESTONE INTO ACTION STEPS
Now that you know your milestone, ask yourself:
What specific action steps do I need to take to achieve this milestone?
Write your milestone and action steps down in your planner or notebook. That way, you know exactly what to schedule in STEP 4.
STEP 4: SCHEDULE YOUR ACTION STEPS
STEPS 4 AND 5 are the special sauce of this strategy. Pay extra attention here because taking these steps, in this order, can make or break your progress!
STEP 4 is to review your calendar for the week and find actual times to schedule your action steps. Yes, you pick the actual time or time block when you work on your goal. This is crucial because it keeps your action steps from being a to-do list that’s left to chance. Your steps are now events you’ve planned.
As you know, things come up and can change your plans. Don’t let that deter you. If it’s no longer possible to work on an action step at a certain time, simply reschedule it. Prioritize finding a new time to work on the action step, just like you would a cancelled meeting or event.
STRATEGY 5: SET YOUR PROGRESS GOAL FOR THE WEEK
Many goal-setting experts tell you to make a goal for the week and then decide when you’ll take action. The problem with this is it’s easy to make a miscalculation.
When you schedule action steps first you see what you can truly accomplish…not what you wish you could accomplish. This makes your plan realistic. It also makes it more achievable.
STEP 6: WORK YOUR PLAN
Now here’s the kicker: plans are only effective if you follow them. So, you need to actually work your schedule. The ABIDE & FOCUS Planner contains monthly and weekly planning tools to help you break down your goals. If you’d like to try it out, get a copy of our weekly spreads and get-started resources below.