How to Breakdown Goals and Make them Happen
This post is a continuation off the post I made about setting goals and today I want to help you make the smaller, mini, actionable goals that you can take to get towards your BIG goal(s). I am going to show you how to breakdown goals so that you can make them happen. Hopefully, this will be a lighter post because I reviewed my past posts and realized that I am a Chatty Cathy! I’m over here just chatting away and you’re over there passed out from boredom! Ha ha! Well, in general, the length of my posts probably won’t change but today’s post will be a lot shorter…
[Editor’s note: it’s not a lot shorter at all. My B.]
Let’s jump into it, shall we?
If you recall, mini-goals are the baby action steps that we make to get us a little bit closer to achieving our big goals. Mini-goals are imperative because a lot of times, we look at our big goal and think “Man, there ain’t no way I’m going to be able to do this.”
Don’t fret, mis amigos. That is why we’re going to make some mini-goals.
Brainstorming out the mini-goals will help us figure out what smaller steps we need to take that get us a wee bit closer to accomplishing our MONSTER goals. We break down our goals into fun-size pieces so that we can easily and quickly get started, rather than us freaking out over the big goal to the point that we don’t even start because we are intimidated and overwhelmed.
Ok so. How do we break down these MONSTER goals?
By following these 5 steps. Don’t worry. They’re easy peasy:
1.Brainstorm and List
I’m not gonna lie. This will require a little bit of work. Keeping your big goal in mind, you will have to think about the milestones you need to accomplish this goal. These milestones are your mini-goals.
I’m going to give you a good example of how to write our your mini-goals using these steps so feel free to skip to the lou down towards the end of this post for that example.
2. Rewrite Your Mini-goals so That They are Measurable
In the Setting Goals post we talked about how we need to make our goals measurable. This goes for our mini-goals as well. Doing so helps us to objectively determine if we’ve accomplished our mini-goals or not. And we want to accomplish our mini-goals right?
In order to make our mini-goals measurable, we have to attach a by when and by how objective to each. If you are unsure of what that means or how to do it, check out the How to Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve post and scroll down to item number 2.
3. Add Some Actionable + Specific Details
This is where I want you to be a little more specific and clear about how you are going to take action.
This means that we must write our mini-goals into something that we can DO. In other words, don’t be all abstract-y here. You want to use action words when you write out your goals. Action words express an action, something you are DOING. Examples of action words are words such as call, review, shop, write, read, answer, return, buy…
Non-action words, by contrast, do not express an action but rather they express a state of being, a feeling or a preference. Some examples of Non-Action words are words such as consider, prefer, be happy, love…
So, say your big goal is to buy a new vehicle. An actionable mini-goal for this is “Visit Bob Barksdale’s Auto Retail Dealership next weekend. Actionable mini goal number 2: test drive 3 fully-loaded sedans while at Bob Barksdale’s Auto Dealership.”
A non-actionable mini-goal for this would be something like “consider going to the dealership and figure out what car I want.”
Do you see what makes the first scenario (Visit Bob Barksdale’s Auto Retail Dealership next weekend and test drive 3 fully-loaded sedans) more achievable over the other scenario (consider going to the dealership and figure out what car I want)? The first scenario is measurable, specific, and actionable. You know exactly what you need to do and by when you need to do it so that you can get the job done.
The second scenario is a little more passive. You have to constantly make game-time decisions and figure things out as you go. There is no defined plan of action. How do you measure whether or not you have considered something enough? What dealership are you going to? How do you figure out what car you want?
See what I mean? Making each mini-goal actionable and specific will keep you feeling overwhelmed, which will keep you from accomplishing it. And that is a no-no. I want you to not feel overwhelmed. I want you to get your goal.
Having a specific, actionable mini-goal gets you to plan your goals ahead of time, saving you the hassle of having to decide on the spot and the possible disappointment from choosing incorrectly. Not only can cause buyer’s remorse, it can cause life-remorse: regret and frustration from not achieving your life goals.
I think you got it. Let’s move on.
4. Write Out the Steps for Accomplishing Each Mini-goal
Now that you’ve written out the mini-goals you will have to list out the very first step you need to take for this goal. And then list the next step, and the next, and the next, and keep listing until the final step is you actually achieving that mini-goal. This means that you have written out every single step you need to take to get that goal. Don’t worry too much about whether the steps are too detailed or too small. We will get to that. For this step, I just want you to brain dump all your steps out for each mini-goal.
5. Now Make them Small
Your steps should be small enough so that the thought of doing it does not overwhelm you. The problem that most of us have when we write out the steps for our goals is that they are still wayyyyyyy too big and we get intimidated by them. And because we are intimidated, we don’t do them.
We need to break down our mini-goal into the smallest steps necessary for us to take action on them. We have to be able to look at our steps and think, “Ah, this is easy. I can do this really quickly.” So when you are writing these steps write them as if you are telling your 5 year old you what to do. Make the steps simple and easy to follow.
Here is a comprehensive example using steps 2-5. Assume we’ve already done step 1, which is brainstorming and listing the mini-goals, okay?
Let’s say that the big goal is to get out of credit card debt.
MONSTER GOAL: Get out of Credit Card Debt.
Mini-goal 1: Read 3 personal finance books for getting out of debt by the end of next month
Step 1: Write down 10 tips from each book that will help you get out of debt
Step 2: Review your debt and apply those tips
Mini-goal 2: Calculate the total amount of debt you have accrued for each credit card. Do this by Friday of this week.
Step 1: Open up your web browser and log into your online bank accounts
Step 2: Calculate the total balance that you owe for each credit card account
Step 3: Calculate the total monthly amount due each month for each credit card
Mini-goal 3: Calculate your monthly income. Do this by Friday of this week.
Step 1: Open up your web browser and log into your online bank accounts
Step 2: Calculate the total amount deposited monthly to your bank account by your employer(s)
Mini-goal 4: Create a monthly budget. Enact your budget by the end of the month.
Step 2: Itemize each bill and the monthly amount due for that bill
Step 2: Calculate the amount of your income leftover after paying your bills (disposable income)
Step 3: Calculate how much of your disposable income you want to allocate towards your debt
Mini-goal 5: Set up automatic bill pay by the end of the month
Step 1: Open your web browser and log into your online bank accounts
Step 2: Select a recurring day of the month for paying off your credit card
Step 3: Calculate how much of your disposable income will be used to pay your credit card
Step 4: Electronically send the calculated amounts to the debtor on the date that you selected
Mini-goal 6: Celebrate being debt free
Step 1: Drive to your local grocer on Saturday
Step 2: Buy a bottle of Brut champagne
Step 3: Invite friends over (or not, I’m not judging)
Step 4: Celebrate
So obviously getting out of debt is going to take a little more planning and step-making than the simple example that I have given here. But I hope that this gives you a general idea for how to set up and write out your big goal, mini-goals, and its corresponding steps. I’m telling you, following this method will keep you from fainting every time you think about your goals. Try it out. Take an afternoon and write out your goals and break them down into super easy steps.
The hardest part with accomplishing our goals is starting.
And for those that have skipped to the bottom of my post to get to the point faster, I see you. I got you. Here’s a summary of what I said: Make sure your mini-goals are measurable so that you know what to do and by when to do it; actionable and specific so that you know exactly what to do and how to DO it; and broken into small steps so that you don’t freak out every time you have to DO them.
And no matter what, just start. You don’t have to have every step figured out and the steps certainly don’t have to be perfect. Just start.
Until next time, love like Jesus.
Graphics and Content by Cefion