break it down, make it happen.

inevitably, as soon as i set a goal, this panic sets in. like, “what have i done?”.  did i just bare my soul on my blog for the world (ok, that’s a mild exaggeration) to see?  oh yes, yes i did. and just as everyone that has momentum going into the new year, i set the goals, wrote my post, and the hyperventilating soon followed.  it wasn’t the goals so much that overwhelmed me, but the process of setting my goals made me think of all the things i want to/should be doing in my life.  and that’s a good thing.  but as a result of this, it dumped 22 actionable items onto my already bulging to do list.   far be it for me to just set 2 or 3 goals. oh no, that’s not my style. i go big or just don’t go at all.  22 goals across 6 categories (financial, career, faith, fitness + health, personal development, and family + relationships).  some are BIG (train for and run a half-marathon) and some not-so-big (read my devotional every day).  and yet putting my dreams out there and then not having a plan to reach them just stressed me out.  til now.

someone brilliant came up with this idea of taking big goals and breaking them down into smaller, more achievable ones. the same applies to any type of goal so here’s my method for breaking down my LIFE goals and then taking small steps each week to achieving them.  the reason resolutions don’t work? they’re too lofty, not sustainable, or down-right unreasonable: “i will not eat sugar ever again.” yeah, i’ve tried that one. feel free to ask my neighborhood goldenspoon how that one’s going!  so, here’s my 3-step plan to BREAK IT DOWN, MAKE IT HAPPEN. [grab your goal list and join me, won't you?]

  1. make it purty, print it out.
    keep your goals top-of-mind and the best way to do that is to post them where you’ll see them – every single day. the mere fact that you’re seeing your goals each day will keep you focused on that same go-get-em feeling that we all have at the start of a new year. mine is posted on my fridge, front and center.
  2. plan your actions.
    for every goal on your list, there is at least one step that will create forward momentum toward reaching that goal. but if you create an action step for every goal right now, hyperventilating from action overload ensues. look at your goals with a big-picture perspective and identify which ones you need to start now and which ones can be revisited at a later date. for example, if you want to learn to surf and it’s january, no need in stressing about something you could revisit in june. so for those goals, go to your calendar, smart phone, or even the ol’ paper planner and mark those on the calendar so you can free your mind from thinking about it til’ then. then, you’ve cleared some of the mental clutter so you can focus on your NOW actions.
  3. take action NOW [weekly].
    for those goals that require attention now, identify 1 action item per week. that’s it.  just one. these baby steps will add up throughout the year and you’ll be surprised the progress that can be made by applying this method.  so go down your list and ask yourself, “what’s the one thing i can do this week to move this forward?”.  add that to your weekly to-do list. (FYI i use a combination of outlook and workflowy to manage my to-dos).  then create a HABIT that every week when you’re prepping your food and cooking on sunday nights, you spend 10 minutes jotting down the next round of action steps for the week ahead. create a mental cue in your head that sunday night means prepping food, planning workouts, and preparing for the week ahead – and that includes revisiting your LIFE goals.

so i won’t bore you with how this applies to all my goals, but i’ll take my fitness + health goals and break ‘em down to show you what this looks like for me.  here are my goals and notes for how i’m either taking action NOW (this week) or making note of when to revisit that goal.

  • identify and sign-up for a half-marathon in january; then train for and complete my first half-marathon in 2013
    i already identified that i want to run the OC half-marathon on may 5th (skinny margs to celebrate, anyone?) so my action item this week is to actually register for it. next week’s action item might be to start researching a training plan and then calendar when to start training!
  • try 1 new fitness activity per month that i’ve never done before (bikram yoga?) and cook/create 1 new healthy recipe every week (and blog about it!)
    this is an ongoing behavioral change, so this is why having it visible is important. each week i can see whether or not i’m on track. last week i tried a yoga sculpting class (hot yoga) which i’d never done before, so…check!  but i didn’t try a new healthy recipe (or blog about it…my apologies). so this week, my actions will be on sunday to 1) identify 1 more new activity i want to try in january and get that on the calendar and 2) find a recipe and add the ingredients to my shopping list for the week, then i’ll have what i need to make it for the week!
  • complete a 12-week hard-core workout program  (with my super hot trainer boyfriend) to get my body fat (back) down to a maintainable 15-18% to regain my commitment and self-confidence
    since i’m training for the half-marathon through may, this is a LATER goal. i may be working toward this goal during my training, but to specifically complete a hard-core 12-week program, i’m going to add that to my calendar for may (after the half-marathon) and whaddya know, we’ll wrap that 12-week program right in the middle of bikini season!  brilliant.

so i’m off to break down my other LIFE goals, and then (ya know), go make ‘em happen.  success, after all, isn’t about making one big giant leap, but more so about taking smaller, consistent, baby steps in the right direction. positive momentum.

share: what are your action steps for the week? or, if you need help breaking down a BIG goal, tell me and i’m happy to help!


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