Break Big Goals into Smaller Chunks
One of the biggest issues regarding setting goals is to keep them at a high level to stay motivated. We all want to accomplish things in life, but setting goals that are too general is going to make it difficult to accomplish them. It’s also going to be difficult to measure how you are doing. If we don't take a second to measure our progress then we have no way of knowing if we're on track to achieving those bigger goals. The best approach is to break big goals into chunks so that they're manageable. Crossing things off the to-do list gives us a sense of accomplishment, and a confidence booster!
Think of the chunks as action items. These actions are measurable units that you put to milestones. You need to set them up in a way that holds you accountable.
Try to write your goals and action steps down on paper. Put it in a place where you can view it every single day. It’s okay to record them electronically as well, although some people find it difficult to keep both the paper version and electronic version in sync. It’s personal preference and a little bit of trial and error to find the balance that works best for you. If you feel you can succeed with just one or the other, that is the way to go.
It’s okay to dream big with your goals but be realistic about accomplishing them. When you break your goals down into action steps and find they are not within your ability or skill set to accomplish within the specified periods, rework them until you find the right mix of actions.
Making the goals and actions too difficult will set yourself up for frustration when not being able to accomplish them. It's good to stretch yourself, to grow, and to see how much you can accomplish with a little bit of hard work, but pushing yourself too hard, or stretching too think means that you're setting yourself up for burn out and frustration.
Evaluating how well you accomplish the action steps will go a long way in helping you meet the goals. The set of actions will get you where you want to be. If you find you are stumbling on some of your action items, determine why and see if you can get back on track. It is at this point you can recognize that you were too aggressive with the plan, and this will enable you to seek alternatives.
Move ahead with your actions and keep going. Understand that roadblocks are a natural part of the process. If something worthwhile was easy, you wouldn’t need to set goals to accomplish it, and everyone would be doing it. Overcoming obstacles give people a sense of accomplishment, and it can help us grow.
Setting goals is important. But creating action items related to those goals is the key to making them a reality. It is much easier to perform smaller chunks of work than it is to wing it towards whatever goal you are striving for.