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Most of my clients fall into one of two categories: they either love setting goals but struggle at following through or they avoid setting goals all together.
I used to belong to the first category before I understood that simply setting goals won’t make me magically achieve them.
No matter what category you fall in, you likely struggle to make big goals feel tangible. This is especially true if you have a big vision and set very big long-term goals. That’s absolutely amazing and will push you to go far beyond your own limits. However, simply setting those goals without setting up a process for how you’ll get there will discourage you more than anything else.
After a while of not hitting my goals and becoming very frustrated over it, I noticed that I never really thought the whole thing through. I never really thought about how I’ll be able to achieve a specific goal.
So, in this article I’ll show you how to break down goals into manageable sizes. Without that step, the whole goal setting process is kind of pointless. In order to achieve your goals, you need to know what you need to do on a daily basis.
Why is it so important to break your goals down into manageable sizes?
So, why is it even important to break down goals?
Well, let’s just imagine that you set yourself a 1-year goal of making 100k in your business.
How will you get there?
Maybe you have a vague idea for what you want to offer and at what price point you want to sell it.
That’s a great start.
But do you know what you need to do today to get closer to that goal?
Big goals can be overwhelming
And that’s because big goals can be very overwhelming. I’m a huge fan of setting very high, almost unachievable, goals. Because if you only achieve 50% of that goal that’s far better than achieving 50% of a low, realistic goal. Having a big goal will push you to try really hard. And it will get you to take massive action.
But at the same time this big goal looks so far away.
Breaking a big goal down into manageable sizes takes out all the overwhelm. It means you’ll know exactly what to do and what to prioritize to achieve your goal.
You need to have a roadmap
Second, breaking your goals down gives you a roadmap.
This is very important to know if you’re still on track. And you can check that on a regular basis.
Otherwise you might end up not even achieving half your goal without really knowing what went wrong.
You need to know exactly what to do each single day
As mentioned a couple of times, breaking goals down lets you know exactly what you need to do each single day. This is super important to beat procrastination and overwhelm right from the start.
Related article: How to deal with perfectionism – 16 tips to help you
How to break down goals into manageable sizes
Okay, now that you know how important breaking big goals down into manageable sizes is, let’s look at how you can do that.
In case you don’t even know where to start with your goal setting process, check out these 7 tips to set goals and actually achieve them.
1. Start with your vision
First of all, you need to get really clear on your vision. Take your journal or a Google Doc and write it out in as much detail as possible. Or download my free goal setting worksheet that will walk you through the whole goal setting process step by step.
This is your long-term ideal outcome of your life.
Where do you want to go? What kind of impact do you want to have? Where do you want to take your business? What does your dream life look like?
2. Determine your 5-year goals
Once you know your vision, determine your 5-year goals.
You can either just do it for your business or job. Or you can do it for every aspect of your life. In that case you can create different categories. For instance, one for your business/job, one for your health, one for relationships etc.
For this example, let’s only focus on work-related goals. So, think about what kind of revenue or income you want to be generating in 5 years from now. What kind of online or offline presence do you want to have? What kind of life do you want to be living? How much do you want to be working? What does your ideal daily routine look like?
Be as detailed as possible and imagine the absolute best-case scenario.
3. Determine your 1-year goals in great detail
Now, let’s take a bit of a jump and move on to your 1-year goal. Do the following exercise:
Imagine you’re one year into the future and you’ve hit your goal. It’s the best possible scenario that you could have dreamt of and things are going great.
Now, reverse-engineer the process: how did you get there? Think of each step you had to take to get you to this result. How exactly did you achieve your income or growth goal?
The same works for relationship or health goals. For instance, if you want to get to a certain weight, figure out what steps you had to take to get you to your dream weight.
Write it all down in as much detail as possible.
4. Set your 6-month goals
Alright, now you’ve figured out what you had to do to achieve your 1-year goal. Now, let’s look at your 6-month goals. What do you want to achieve in 6-month period? Go back to your 1-year goals and look at what makes sense to achieve in 6 months.
At this point, be sure to set SMART goals. This stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.
Dreaming big and having very high goals for the long term makes totally sense to push yourself. But when it comes to more short-term goals, you want to make them specific and achievable.
5. Break it down into monthly sub goals
Now, let’s get into the more short-term goals.
Take your 6-months goals and break them down into monthly goals. What steps do you need to take each month to achieve your 6-month goals?
For instance, if your 6-month goal is to have 10 clients, what kind of actions steps are required for you to realistically achieve that result?
Again, try to be as detailed and specific as possible.
6. Determine weekly action steps to hit your monthly goals
Alright, we’re getting closer to the finish line. Take your first monthly goal and break it down into weekly action steps.
Always do this at the end of a month for the next month. Write down all the steps you need to take each week to achieve your monthly goal, which will tie in your 6-month and your 1-year goal.
So, by now, we already broke down your big goals into much more manageable sizes.
7. Create a task list for all your action steps
But we’re not done, yet.
Having your weekly goals and action steps is great. But it can still be a bit overwhelming. You need to know exactly what you need to get done on a daily basis.
In order to do that, create a task list for your action steps.
For instance, let’s say one of your goals for this month is get your first client for a service you offer. To get there you figured out that you need to publish content on your blog, your LinkedIn profile and your YouTube channel.
These are 3 different action steps. Now, figure out what kind of tasks are involved for each content creation process. If they all tie in one another, then you can also create one task list for all of your content creation.
8. Collect your different task list as projects
Once you’ve got your task lists, collect them somewhere as projects. You can either use a simple Google Doc for that where you could write a workflow for each project. Or you can use Asana and actually create a project to collect those tasks.
Side note: I like to use Asana in the simplest way possible, meaning to have one team for your business and one for your personal life. If you also have a job, that would be another team. Then, simply create projects underneath each team where necessary.
You can totally refine it when you actually have a team where people work on different projects. But to get started, don’t overcomplicate it.
9. Make daily to do lists
Okay, now you’ve got all your tasks bundled up together. You know exactly what kind of steps are required to actually achieve your goals.
Now it’s time to take action. To do that, make sure to create daily to do list. Look for ways to batch similar tasks together and make sure to create blocks in your calendar that allow you to dive deep on one project.
- How to batch create content and save hours every week
- Task switching vs multitasking – why you should avoid both
Always write your to do list the night before. That way you can dive right in in the morning. I like to use Asana for that as well. But pen and paper is totally fine, too.
What I also highly recommend is using the Pomodoro Technique for your daily to dos. And then predetermine how many Pomodoros you’ll give yourself to get a task done. Here’s how to the Pomodoro Technique to triple your productivity.
You can also just use my free Pomodoro worksheet as your to do list:
Alright, so this is the exact process I teach my clients to help them break down their goals into manageable sizes.
As you can see, it’s all about starting with your big vision and then breaking it down one step at a time. This way, your daily to dos will tie into your weekly, monthly and yearly goals.
Keep in mind that you need to reassess your big goals at least every 3 months. Things change which means you might have to make iterations on your big goals.
Don’t forget to download my free goal setting worksheet to get started with your goals right away.