“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” -William James
So you have set yourself a fabulously inspiring goal, but looking at it now may seem daunting. (Read goal setting post here.) This realisation is what often causes us to give up on our goals or lose focus as it just seems too big. The secret is to break the goal up into smaller chunks that are more manageable and less daunting. Turning goals into actions helps you get more mileage out of your goals and dreams. How do you break it down? By setting milestones and linked actions.
Milestones depict specific stages on our path to achieving the goal/destination we have pegged for ourselves. Look at the milestones you will define as a set of mini-goals related to your main goal. Action plans on the other hand, are the specific activities and/or tasks that you perform to reach your milestone.
Breaking it down
Let’s break it down by way of an example. Say your goal is to get fit and walk or run 15km a day. If you have been a couch potato up until now, it may be unreasonable to think I will do this in 30 days. So you would start with a milestone of say 2km per day for the 1st week or two, or even month.
This may mean walking to the shop and back instead of driving. As each of us are different, you set these milestones to your rhythm, pace and current ability – BUT work in a bit of stretch to our milestones and actions to challenge yourself (within reason of course). What a few clients and I have done, is set very small targets like a 2-5min walk for every hour during the day at work. For an eight hour work day, this can add up to roughly 16- 40mins. Get the point? Your rhythm, pace and current ability.
So now you have set your milestones, what are the actions that will help you get there? These actions could for example include:
- Walk to shop daily for bread and milk instead of drive
- Do you 2-5min walks every hour
- Track distance/steps on your phone/watch
- Get the watch or download the app on phone
- Download/compile power tunes playlist for walking/running
- Water bottle, shoes, etc – you get the point right?
See how it all fits together in this worksheet. You can do some work of your own turning goals into actions.
Be aware of the change police
While you are turning goals into actions, be aware of thoughts that come up as blocks or self-limiting beliefs. Remember that you would have started identifying these during your goal-setting exercise? More about limiting beliefs in a later post though.
Back to your milestones and actions: find ways to keep yourself motivated and focused: this could be in the form of an accountability partner/buddy or life coach; a vision board; a specific mantra/affirmation; whatever works for you. It’s very easy to slip back into old patterns, but you don’t have to stay there or worse still, berate yourself indefinitely. Get up, dust yourself off, identify the lesson and carry on.
So in summary:
- Keep it simple, small chunks at a time
- Focus on where you want to be – milestone by milestone
- Find what motivates AND is blocking you
- Invest in your support system
- If you fall, get up, dust yourself off, identify the lesson and carry on.
By breaking down your goal into more manageable chunks, you pave your path to your destination with small, consistent victories. This in turn inspires and motivates you. Remember, the quality of your thoughts must align with where you want to be: what are you focusing on?
I would love to hear what your motivation strategies are and the things that you are grappling with when trying to achieve your goal(s). Get ahead by turning your goals into actions!