It’s common for business owners to feel overwhelmed by their own goals. While dreaming big is certainly a positive way forward, the process of realizing those dreams can be fraught with peril if they aren’t broken down further into accessible milestones and procedures for meeting them.
Today, we’ll take a look at how to break down your overarching goals into micro goals that allow for realistic projections and meaningful progress. You may be surprised at how much more manageable your project is when broken down into smaller, more directly measurable achievements.
Set Your Goals
When you decide to run a 5K, you don’t just show up and run it, expecting success. There are several smaller steps you have to take to build up to that success beforehand. You have to make a training plan and practice regularly for months before ever running the event.
You can compare this situation to big business goals. You may want to make your first million, or even your first $100, but these things don’t happen overnight.
You should first recognize your primary goal. Goals may seem obvious at first, but it’s difficult to understand the scope of what you want to achieve until you write them down and look at them.
Before you break your goals down, you need to decide what they are. This may seem simple, but the key some people miss is that you need to be precise. For instance, let’s look at the 5k. Sure, you want to complete it, but what do you need to do beforehand? You need to set some fitness goals and possibly some diet goals. You need to examine, in detail, what achieving this will entail. How do you need to change your schedule or lifestyle to achieve this goal?
Define Your Milestones
Once you set your goals in detail, you can divide them into milestones. For a 5k vs. business goals, this may look like the following:
- Decide the types of exercises you need to do (What steps do you need to take to achieve your goal?)
- Create running and distance goals (Create goals for sales, assign duties to individuals, etc.)
- Create diet goals (Create goals for changing your everyday practices)
- Define how long you need to plan this out and what it looks like week by week. (Create a calendar and define what goals to achieve week by week.)
Once you have recognized each step, it’s time to break these down into achievable micro goals.
Set a timeline for each micro goal. Even if some goals are very easily achieved, holding yourself to a timeline is essential for accountability and useful urgency.
Factor in breathing room. You’re not a robot, and neither are your colleagues. You need rest and time to regroup. Give yourself this courtesy after each goal. The most common mistakes people make when setting goals are trying to pack too much into each step and not celebrating the milestones as they come. You wouldn’t try to run a 5k on day 1, and you wouldn’t try to run two 5k’s back-to-back. In either scenario, you risk injuring yourself or burning yourself out. The same applies in business.
Create a Task List
Milestones are still larger steps, so it’s essential to break them down into specific tasks. Divide the tasks into what you need to do to achieve your first milestone. For example, the first task is to get off the couch and go for a 5-minute jog. The next goal is to turn that into a 10-minute jog.
Break down more than just the jogs, such as each dietary change and additional exercise or stretch that needs to be done. By the end of the first month, you may set your milestone for a 30-minute jog or even more. Take your time with each goal, and be thorough in planning and working toward them.
Use verbs when you create actionable steps. The specific language you use ensures that you understand what needs to be done.
Preparing for Your Goals
Good preparation is crucial for success. So, before you start on your tasks, gather everything you need along the way. For a 5k, this could mean new running shoes, new food for your diet, and much more. In terms of business goals, this could mean acquiring the right equipment, space, capital, talent, and more.
When you prepare well for each task thoroughly, you stand to save considerable time. Planning ahead means factoring in challenges and accounting for them. In addition, ensuring that you have each preceding step completed before moving on means that you won’t have to deal with numerous avoidable, costly, and time-consuming setbacks.
Setting a Timeline
You will need to prioritize your assignments, create a system that works for you.
For instance, let’s say your task list includes the following for your first milestone, with the milestone to be to run a 30-minute jog by Saturday. Your tasks may include:
- Wake up at 6 am. (Repeat daily)
- Have a high protein breakfast (Repeat daily)
- Stretch for 10 minutes (Repeat daily)
- Jog for 5 minutes the first two days.
- Perform additional exercises in the afternoon (Repeat daily)
- Jog for 10 minutes the next two days
- Jog for 25 minutes on Thursday and Friday.
- Jog for 30 minutes on Saturday
For this list, you may purchase new breakfast foods or drinks and good running shoes. You might buy additional exercise equipment, water bottles, and any other equipment you may need for running.
Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate by saying you’ll hold off until the next day just because you don’t feel like it. If you are well, try to achieve the tasks on the timeline you give yourself. If you think it’s too much, adjust your timeline to accommodate. But try to make all of your changes in the beginning. Otherwise, you could get behind very quickly.
Five Second Rule
Sometimes breaking down your goal into actionable steps isn’t enough. You might keep making excuses, procrastinating, and not achieving your goals.
The Five-Second Rule, created by Mel Robbins, is a process where you count down five seconds when you hesitate. After one, you tell yourself to GO and start the action. It’s considered the window between the moment you have the instinct to change and your mind is destroying it.
Getting past the excuses is the key to getting into action and achieving your goals.
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