After I wrote the article on revisiting your goals for the year, and assessing where you stand, I received some questions on how not be intimidated by goals we set.
The truth is big goals are always overwhelming. Mainly because they seem super difficult to achieve. The trick is to break the big goals down into bite-sized chunks so that they become realistic, accessible, and approachable.
Here is a method that I implement to break down a big goal into daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Ever since I learned this method (Thank you, Dr. Hallowell!) I have not only increased my productivity, but have also understood how to prioritize my activities.
I call this the principle of 3 goals. It is very simple. Figure out what outcome you desire. Then decide upon 3 goals in the next year or two which will lead you in that direction. These are the steps on your map to the outcome.
Now how to start working towards these steps?
Every day you decide 3 things that you want to get done. They do not have to be extravagant – just simple actions which you think help you towards your goals. Sometimes the daily goals involve the necessary evils – urgent but not important tasks. But most often these tasks will be those which help you move further in your journey and those that will make you happy.
Once you get into this habit of accomplishing 3 outcomes per day, you will learn to detect a pattern of what makes an outcome desirable for you and what does not. This also brings clarity in your desires. Finding out what you really want and do not care for starts becoming clearer.
You start making time and devoting energy for what is important to you – family, friends, long-term career happiness, hobbies etc. All superfluous time-sucking tasks take a back seat.
Soon you will extend this principle of 3s to longer time periods. You will begin picturing the 3 most important things you want done in a week, a month, or even a quarter.
An alternative way is to first break a bigger goal down into 3 yearly goals, then 3 monthly goals, then 3 weekly goals. The execution comes through setting your eyes on 3 daily goals and going after them.
But when I tried setting weekly and monthly goals before daily goals, I was just stuck into analysis paralysis. It again became overwhelming. Hence I preferred the first method of knowing what I want to see happen in a year or two and then just start with small daily tasks. It was all about taking a small action every day.
Believe me no matter how small the action is, if it is in the right direction, it has the power to propel you towards your big dreams!
So which 3 goals are you going to put on your list for today?
What is your secret to breaking down big goals into smaller bites? If you follow the 3 goals principle, how is your experience?