Getting important stuff done can be overwhelming — especially if you keep focusing on the big picture. Ambitious goals are inspiring, but without an attainable action plan, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Many people understand the importance of creating goals, systems, and habits to make it in life but they forget to break them into smaller milestones.
If the distance between where you are right now and where you see yourself is too far or too wide, you are likely to give up.
Ambitious goals can be intimidating without a realistic and measurable plan of action. That’s why you need to break down every goal actionable tasks.
“Breaking down long-term goals into smaller, self-contained goals can turn what seems like a marathon into a series of Sprints. Sprints cover the same ground, just in shorter, more manageable intervals,” writes Ryder Carroll, Creator of the Bullet Journal.
For every big goal, create sub-goals and work backwards
To achieve your goal, define it, and with the end in mind, work backwards and focus on the sub-goals or tasks that will take you there.
You can’t eat an elephant in one sitting, but you can take small bites every single day.
Breaking down a big goal into smaller or multiple steps helps you make real progress. A big goal, like writing a book, starting a new exercise routine, starting a new business, getting six-pack fit, starting a passion project, learning a new skill or becoming a full-time writer, can feel intimidating.
But the moment you create daily actions, steps or sprints that can help you achieve it, it begins to feel more manageable.
By breaking down every goal into small steps, you can easily make daily improvements which can even build your confidence to take on the next step.
Want to write a book? Choose to write 200 words daily. Or better still, aim for one to three pages every day. Want to learn a new skill? Find the basic sub-skills you need to get started and focus on mastering those daily.
Want to achieve that big personal goal? “Examine your goal and identify as many different components as you can. Then you can design a plan to accomplish each of those smaller tasks. When you do that, your overall goal will fall into place, says Annie Lin, MBA of WikiHow.
If your goal is to lose weight, turn it into “eat one insanely healthy breakfast/dinner every week.
By breaking down those goals into daily exercises or habits, you will be able to make continuous progress without procrastinating.
“The reasoning behind this is quite simple. You need momentum, and nothing builds momentum like getting a few wins under your belt,” argues Lewis Howes of Forbes.
Smaller subgoals can lead to faster progress. For even more ambiguous goals like living a stress-free life, you can set attainable daily or weekly milestones.
You could schedule daily mediations or gratitude journaling into your calendar. Even if you do that for just 10 minutes every day, you will be making progress.
You could also do something calming each day — nature walking, reading a few pages of your favourite book or going for a run for just 15 minutes every morning or evening.
Success in any endeavour isn’t about chasing “magic bullets”. It’s about taking consistent action, testing different options that work or deliver results, and doing more of what gets you closer to the big picture in small sprints.
You may have the best plan in the world, but if you don’t have an equally great execution plan, you won’t achieve your goals.
The first few steps are the most difficult — forging a new path is the hardest. You will be tempted to give up but if you stick around long enough and focus on achieving those milestones, you achieve what you’ve planned to do.
At some point, if you doubt yourself, remind yourself why you want to get there in the first place but keep your eyes firmly on the next step and walk steadily toward the goal. You can also analyse your results every month and adjust as necessary.
This post was previously published on ILLUMINATION-Curated.
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Photo credit: Sneka Balakrishnan