So you should have a basic idea of what your goals are. If you haven’t come up with your broad goals yet, go to my previous post about Getting Your Life Together. If you have already done all that, have your worksheet ready because we are going to begin breaking down our goals.
For this exercise, you will need the break it down worksheet. Okay, all ready?
What happens when we create goals and these ideals in our minds is we focus so much on the outcome we don’t know how to get there. We want to “eat healthier,” “exercise more,” “read more,” but what exactly is “more?” What are we actually trying to achieve?
When creating goals, we need to be SMART about it. Taken from the Mindtools website, SMART means:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
So how do we create these goals?
We break down our broad ones.
Let’s take “read more” as an example. “Read more” is a very broad goal. How do you even go about achieving that? More than what? What counts as reading? Is scrolling through Twitter reading? Did you want to read more novels or more New York Times articles?
Once you figure out the purpose of “reading more,” whether it to be more informed (newspapers/magazines), recreation (novels/non-fiction), or learning (both), you can decide how you are going to measure those goals.
Let’s say you decided you wanted to read more because your Goodreads list is just too dang long. Fair enough. Mine too. So you tell yourself, I am going to read 20 books this year.
Well, now we have a number. This number makes the goal more specific. See how we went from “read more” to “read 20 books?” Our goal went from immensely hard to accomplish to a specific, measurable goal.
So how about the rest?
You can make your goal achievable by promising to read a chapter every night or by reading a set number of pages every night, depending on your reading style and what kind of book you are reading. Let’s say you’re like me and like to take it by chapter. A chapter a night takes maybe about an hour, so an hour reading before bed sounds reasonable (depending on your schedule, you will have to find what is reasonable for you. Maybe you only have 30 minutes to read during a lunch break, but that’s okay too).
And when are you going to have all 20 books read? By the end of the year of course because this is a 2018 goal.
So we went from “read more” to “read 20 books by the end of this year by reading a chapter a night.”
See how less complicated that is? Now you have an ideal plan! There is a way to measure your progress.
Of course, this goal was a relatively easy one to set. If you have a project, such as a novel, this goal will take more planning and breaking down and deadline setting for each individual step will also have to take place.
But don’t worry! All goals are achievable as long as you plan accordingly and don’t spread yourself too thin. You won’t be able to write a novel, paint a mural, solve world hunger, exercise every day, and have a social life. You have to take each goal separately, break them down, and then spread them out. Maybe don’t paint while you are writing and alternate months for the projects or spend half the year doing one and the other half the other.
The point is, you can achieve your goals as long as you are practical about it.
I want to see how some of you have broken down your goals. Or you you need help, tweet me @renadeer and ask!