Now that we’re officially several weeks into 2019, how are your goals looking? The shiny appeal of setting goals against the clean slate of a new year is wearing off. This is when the reality that it is time to get to work begins to set in.
Setting a S.M.A.R.T goal is the easy part. It gets much harder once we realize that we need a plan for achieving that goal. That’s what today’s podcast episode is about.
There are 4 essential parts that you must have if you want your goal action plan to be effective. I’m going over all 4 pieces and breaking them down so that you can get your 2019 goals in gear.
#1 The Goal Broken Down Into Actionable Chunks
Macro goals vs. Micro goals
I’m going to call them the Birds Eye View and the Squirrel View. In the bird’s eye view, you’re zoomed out and looking at the big picture. It’s similar to flying in an airplane once it hits cruising altitude. When you look out the window you can see pieces of land, a mountain range and maybe some water but you’re too high up to see anything with detail.
The Squirrel’s view is the opposite of that, it’s dialed in and you can see things with great detail. You can see the house, the street, and the grass. You can focus in on the individual details.
When you use the SMART goal formula you’re working in the bird’s eye view, to move into the squirrel’s view you need to break that goal into bite-sized pieces that you can complete in a single sitting.
I generally like to attack my goals on a quarterly basis, taking my overall goal for that period and breaking it into 3 monthly milestones. Then, those milestones get broken down into 4- 5 weekly tasks.
That’s how you take your huge lofty goal and turn it into something manageable.
Parkinson’s Law states “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion“.
This is so true. Have you ever had a task that should have taken you 2 hours but instead it took you a week? Not because it was more complex than you imagined, you just failed to keep yourself constrained to that timeframe.
Your goals will do the same thing if you don’t give them some reasonable time constraints. You need deadlines.
Here’s how to quickly assign your goals deadlines:
- Your monthly milestones have a built-in stop date since they’re assigned to a specific month.
- The weekly tasks should be assigned to the week that you plan to work on them.
- If you’re trying to go really detailed, pick a specific day of the week and designated time to work on the weekly tasks.
#3 System for Review & Tracking Progress
Don’t overlook this! One of the most common reasons why most people don’t reach their goals is because they fall off track and they don’t get back on right away. That’s very simple to do if you don’t have a regular routine or system create for review.
This doesn’t have to be anything detailed or complicated. It can be as simple as setting a monthly calendar alert to review the previous month. Inside of the Visionary Journal, there is a quarterly and monthly review section.
Things to review every month:
- Your challenges
- Things to Improve
- Things To Let Go Of
- Things Unfinished
You can complete your review in a journal, Google Doc or digital notebook like Microsoft One Note.
#4 Rewards For Hitting Your Milestones
The beauty of this system is that there are multiple opportunities to celebrate your progress. You never have to wait until you reach the overall goal to reward your progress.
Rewards are great because they act as an incentive to finish your tasks. This is a win-win because you get the reward when you do the things you need to do. So not only do you get something nice, you get to celebrate the fact that you worked hard.
The key to making rewards work is choosing things that you actually really want and care about working for. If you choose lackluster rewards you’re not going to push yourself to finish your tasks consistently.