Discovering the Critical Actions That Will Make Your Big Goal Achievable
“A vision without a task is but a dream; a task without a vision is drudgery; a vision and a task is the hope of the world.” —Unknown
Welcome back, everyone!
Today, we will discuss how to identify the crucial steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish your specific Big Goal.
Why Should We Divide Up Our Big Goals?
Every Big Goal we want to accomplish can be made easier by breaking it down into a series of smaller, more manageable steps. Whether you’re aware of their impact or not, all of the resulting tiny victories you’ll accrue are the key to propelling you through to the final leg of your journey. These victories can prevent you from giving up and remind you why you are undertaking this Big Goal in the first place. In other words, splitting up your Big Goal into small steps will help provide you with the forward momentum you need to keep going and see this through to the end. This same idea also applies to your life, by the way—if you consistently take little steps to improve your quality of life, then you will eventually find yourself living comfortably.
How Do We Break Down Our Big Goals?
In order to break down a Big Goal, we need to first critically evaluate what things have to happen before our Big Goal can be completed. Put another way, we need to break up each task into its most basic actions. A simple way to do this is to consider your Big Goal and ask yourself, “What needs to happen in order for me to accomplish this Big Goal?” and write out all the steps you come up with.
For example, if your Big Goal is to run a marathon, then steps you could write down are:
• Find a coach.
• Run each day.
• Eat healthier.
• Buy better running shoes.
• Sign up for a marathon.
Now, look at the first steps you wrote out for your own Big Goal and ask yourself, “What needs to happen in order for this to happen?” Write down those steps. Do this for the second, third, and all subsequent steps that you broke your Big Goal into before moving down another layer and repeating the process.
Going back to the example of running a marathon, here’s what this might look like:
• Find a coach.
– Research coaches near me.
– Call coaches who might be a good fit for me.
– Interview the coaches I like the best.
– Pick my favorite coach.
– Hire that coach.
– Meet with my new coach and make a plan.
• Run each day.
– Set an alarm for when I’ll wake up to go running every day.
– Run every single day (even when I don’t want to).
– Buy more running clothes (or do laundry more often).
– Plan out routes for my runs.
– Download a running app.
If you get stuck and can’t figure out how to break one of your big steps into smaller ones, then ask yourself, “What’s stopping me from completing this big step right now?” Your answer will give you at least one small step that you can write down. When you’re all done breaking your Big Goal down into its smallest steps, you’ll end up with a list of the most granular actions that you’ll need to take in order to achieve it.
Something to keep in mind is that each Big Goal has one or more Critical Actions: steps or tasks that are crucial to the completion of your Big Goal. In the above example, the Critical Actions of running a marathon would be to run every single day and to sign up for the marathon. Everything else could technically be bypassed, and I’d still be able to achieve my Big Goal as long as I completed those Critical Actions.
1. Follow the procedure outlined above to divide your Big Goal into its smallest component parts.
2. Identify your Big Goal’s Critical Actions and add them to your Goal Journal.
3. Before beginning a task, ask yourself, “Is this a Critical Action or just busywork?” If your answer is busywork, then figure out what you can do to shift your focus back to your Critical Actions.
In our next lesson, we will learn how to create healthy Big Goal Rituals that make our Big Goals easier to achieve.
Jordan Thibodeau and Samara Veler
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