At the end of each quarter, I take a detailed look at my yearly goals to see how I’m progressing against them. Sometimes I’m ahead – sometimes behind. And what I’ve begun to notice is that I’m ahead on the items where I accomplish smaller tasks more frequently.
There’s a concept in goal setting called “chunking”, which means taking a large daunting task and breaking it down into bite-sized ‘chunks’.
For instance, I want to become a better public speaker, so I made a commitment to speak 12 times this year. (I surpassed my goal already). The way I broke this down was, in January, to list the topics that I felt like I could add value to a conversation. From there, I started talking to friends and contacts in the industry and offering to speak at their events and seminars.
My goal – chunked down – was to (a) understand what I’m good at, (b) prepare a presentation, (c) make contacts, and (d) go speak.
12 speaking events for the year is one per month. So instead of asking myself how I could do 12 in a year, I asked myself what I needed to do THIS MONTH to speak once. This made the larger task more plausible.
Susan Butcher is an American dog musher, noteworthy as the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years.
I was in the bathroom at a restaurant the other day and read a quote from Susan. I liked it so much that I took a picture of it. (By the way, it’s cool that a restaurant had this wallpaper in the BATHROOM!)
…You don’t win because you do one thing or two things right. You win because you do one thousand little things right throughout the year.
The Goals Takeaway
I believe we have a tendency to suppress our wants and goals because we can’t see how we can get there. But the truth is, you don’t need to. Not all the way at least.
All you need to be able to see is the very next step.
Let’s say you get in your car from Detroit with a plan to visit the Pacific Ocean. All you need to do is see the road in front of you, have a good GPS, stop and refuel, and keep driving. Even though you won’t see the ocean for 95% of the trip, you’ll get where you need to go.
Just take the very next step in front of you.