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Ten Easy Steps From Goal Planning to Goal Achievement

Updated on October 30, 2019
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Cygnet Brown lives in Springfield, Missouri with her husband and daughter and cat Neko. In addition to Hubpages, she has published 12 books.

Just Ten Small Steps to Accomplish Your Goals!

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Have you created lifetime goals for yourself? If not, think of some things that you would like to accomplish during your lifetime and up at least one in every area of your life. Spending a little time every night with goal planning exponentially helps improve your chances of improving those goals. First define the goals you want to accomplish in the areas of career, financial, relational, family, personal, and hobbies.

A lot of people forget to include hobbies in goal planning, but I think they are important. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, so having some fun recreational goals is always a positive. Perhaps you would like to learn to play guitar like Jimmy Page or want a house that looks like Martha Stewart’s or perhaps you enjoy playing baseball and want to get good at it for your local league. I believe hobbies keep our lives interesting.

It takes just 15 minutes per day to create goals and make plans to complete them.

Step 1: Define Your Lifetime Goals

Spend 15 minutes improving your goals every evening before going to bed. Write down your goals and every day define them a little more defined.

The first day in the area of finance, you might say “I want to make a lot of money”. Over the next several days, consider how you can better define it. Define it by making it specific. The next day you might determine that you want to make a million dollars. Make sure that the goal scares you a little bit. If a million sounds comfortable, edge it up to 1.5 million or higher. If your goal is to write a book and it feels comfortable, determine that you’ll write two.

Step 2: Give Yourself a Deadline

Once you’re specific about what goals you want to accomplish, determine how long it will take you to reach this goal. You may decide you want to make that million dollars in five years. Later, if you make that million dollars in two years, then you might want to up your goal to 10 million in that same five-year period. The better defined your goals are, and the more specific your deadline, the more likely you’ll achieve that goal.

Step 3: Break Down Goals into Projects

Go over each of your lifetime goals and determine what you can accomplish toward this goal this year. You may have one or two goals that you want to accomplish this year as it relates to your lifetime goal. One of my goals is to retire in the country, grow much of our own food, and be debt free. Now break that down your annual goal into quarterly goals. For this quarter, the goal related to my retiring to the country goal is to prepare the site for our new home that we are building on land that my husband recently purchased for cash. Next, I broke down the quarterly goal into a monthly goal. This month our goal is focused on lining out our utilities. The monthly goal is then broken down into weekly projects. This week, my husband is working on and hoping to line out our electrician and plumber.

Step 4: Task-Down Projects

Now task down those projects. In other words, break down your projects into tasks that you need to do this week in order to complete this week’s project.

We all know the cliché about eating the elephant. We do it one bite at a time. The same thing is true about completing projects. We have to first realize the difference between projects and tasks. Projects take hours, days, weeks, or even months to accomplish. Tasks can be done a few minutes. To define task, I use fifteen minutes as my guide. What can I do toward accomplishing this project in 15 minutes? If I can’t, I probably have a project rather than a task.

We complete our projects and ultimately our goals by completing one task at a time. Once you know what project (or projects) you hope to accomplish this week, task-down those projects. In other words, break the projects down into daily bite-size tasks that can be done in 15 minutes..

To accomplish this, I do what is called a brain dump. This gets everything out of my head and onto a document. I prefer to use a word document rather than paper and pencil because I type faster than I can move a pencil and I can read it better, but you can use paper and pencil if you wish.

To do a brain dump, get a clean piece of paper or open a new word document. Now write your goal at the top of the page. Now write down everything you can think of in which you need to do to accomplish that goal. Some of the things that you will be writing down will be projects. Other aspects will be tasks.

Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon within the year. So, your annual goal is to run a marathon. Let’s say that you aren’t very athletic to start with. So, brainstorm what you will need to do to accomplish this. You’ll need time blocked out to run at least 3-4 times (or more) per week to run. You’ll need a pair of running shoes, and you’ll need to learn how to eat and exercise so that you don’t injure your body and set up your running schedule.

Now look over what you have written. You realize that you’ll need to learn more about how runners eat and exercise, so you’ll need to Google that. You write that down as something that you’ll need to do so you add that to the list. You know that you will need to wait until payday at the end of the month to get the shoes (and maybe some running clothes), but you know that you can start doing the stretching exercises (need to Google the best ones to use for flexibility when running) and you know you can start walking at least a mile a day and use the sports shoes you have now until you can pay for the better quality running shoes. You know the different tasks you can begin doing now to realize this dream of running a marathon. In addition, your process will follow a routine every week if you want to accomplish the goal of running a marathon.

Here's another example of how-to task-down a project. Unlike the other project, this one has a series of steps in which none will be repeated at least not during the next year or so.

Another project related to our moving to new house is my preparations for the move. Currently, I am sorting what we want to keep, throw out, or give away. My own tasks for this week related to this project is to clean out my closet, reorganize my pantry items, file papers in my file box, and clean out one of my kitchen cabinets. In addition, I am planning to use food stored rather than buying new to cut down on my inventory, so I don’t have to move so much. I can do most of these things in about fifteen minutes each. Everything except for the reorganizing my pantry. That’s actually a project that I will need to task down.

Step 5: Prioritize Tasks

Once I brainstormed my tasks and broken down my projects into tasks, I divide these tasks into the timeframe on my schedule that I need to complete those tasks. I can’t do everything in one day, so I prioritize in this order.

  • Daily tasks-I divide my daily tasks into routines-morning routine, breakfast routine, lunch routine, going to work routine, work routine, coming home from work routine, dinner routine, evening routine.
  • Tasks with Deadlines-paying bills, going to appointments, follow-up phone calls
  • Recurring tasks-errands, weekly chores, laundry, cleaning out the car, washing the car,
  • Self-motivated, necessary tasks-research, pre-writing, writing, editing, formatting, submitting (social media posts, online articles, magazine articles, books, eBooks etc.) gardening, YouTube videos
  • Self-motivated, not necessary tasks-hobbies, watching Netflix movie, cleaning out my cabinet now, (if I don’t get to it this week, it’s no big deal. I’ll be able to do it next week or any time before the move). Also, research could be in this category if I am researching future projects that I will be taking on. It is not necessary that I do it now. However, it will make it easier for me in the future.
  • Someday tasks-At this point many of these someday tasks are related to what we’ll be doing the new house once it is built and we are moving into it.

Step 6: Batch Tasks

Some tasks don’t take fifteen minutes in themselves and can be batched so that you do those tasks all at one time. Pay all your bills at the same time if possible. Run errands on the way home from work. Listen to motivational videos on the way to work. Do dishes immediately after meals. I often try to see how many household chores I can be doing at a time without losing momentum. I have done as many as 4 at the same time.

Step 7: Task Delegation

Delegate tasks to people who are better at doing the job and have to tools (like an electrician, attorney or accountant), jobs that you can pay someone less than your time is worth (an assistant) jobs that you can automate like sorting emails, and jobs that your child needs to learn to do like laundry and loading the dishwasher. Schedule any necessary follow-up to be sure that the delegated work is being done. Teach your children how to use the strategy given in this article and help them get themselves ready for tomorrow and free up even more of your time tonight!

Step 8: Task Deletion

You prioritized tasks, you batched tasks, you delegated tasks, now look at the bottom of your priority list at the items that are not priority. Do you really have to do all that? Is there any way you can just say "no" or at least say "no" the next time? Also, are there activities that you hate doing or that no longer are necessary? Are there bad habits that you want to replace with good habits? Make a list of ways to get rid of those tasks on your list that you no longer want to do or have to do.

Step 9: Analyze How Well You Took Action

Making Goals without action is just daydreaming. Therefore, take the time during your daily goal sessions to analyze how well you completed the important tasks of that day. Did you do those tasks at the top of your list or do you find yourself doing small tasks that are less important? If so, why did that happen? What can you do differently next time. Look at the previous steps. Perhaps you need to delegate or eliminate that goal or perhaps you need to batch that task into other daily tasks Make sure that you are actually taking action and doing the tasks on the List-Do all you can, then do just one more.

Crossing off tasks that relate to our long-term goals can be addictive. Every day that you go the extra mile and do “one more”, you’ll find leads you that much more quickly to accomplishing your goals.

Step 10: Celebrate Project and Goal Completion.

When you finish a Project, find some way to celebrate. Go out to dinner. Take time to watch a movie on Netflix or go to a movie theater. Cook a special meal. Go visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Drink a cup of herbal tea while you watch the sunset from your deck. Something to reward yourself of the good work that you have been doing, but don’t stop there, you have more projects to conquer if you want to reach your goals.

Finally, when you reach bigger goals, be sure to celebrate those in a bigger way than you celebrated project completion. Go out to eat at a nicer than usual restaurant. Invite friends over for a party or barbecue. Take a vacation. Do whatever makes you happy as a reward for a job well done.

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    • cygnetbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygnet Brown 

      19 months ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Thank you so much Lawrence Hebb! It means a lot to me when someone finds my articles useful!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Cygnet

      If I'm totally honest I wasn't going to read this article, but I'm glad I did, it brought a few things into focus.

      I'm one who tends to set goals 'in my head' which many people think means I don't set them, but I do and I work towards them.

      This year I had the goal of wanting to earn $100 from the sale of my books on Amazon, I wanted to receive a royalty payment, but had no idea how I was going to go about it.

      By about July, things weren't looking good for doing it, but I started looking for a mentor or mentors, I found some that had a track record in that area and started doing what they suggested and things started happening.

      My revenue for November was good, but not quite the goal that I had, then came December and in that one month I achieved that goal, linking that with what I did in November and the rest of the year I'm going to be recieving royalties not just from the USA ($100 at least) but also from the UK (One hundred British pounds, or about $160)

      I've realised that this year's goals are going to have to be flexible as I'm likely to achieve them pretty quickly (though at the moment they seem far away) and I'm really looking forward to it.

      On top of all this as a family, we are beginning to look at our long term goals and resetting some of them.

      One bit of advice I would add is 'find yourself a mentor' who had walked the path you're on.

      All the best for the new year.

      Lawrence

      By the way, I'm going to be putting this one up on my author page on Facebook.

    • cygnetbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygnet Brown 

      21 months ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Thank you so much, Brian Leekley! I agree. Wasn't it Benjamin Franklin who said, "a stitch in time saves nine?"

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      21 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      That's excellent advice, Cygnet—one of the best articles I've read anywhere on time management. It'll be my Get Projects Done manual.

      I've found that it's important to find time to do little tasks of low importance that become huge problems if repeatedly neglected. Not brushing and flossing your teeth or not minimally exercising, for instance, can in time lead to serious and expensive health problems. Procrastinating giving a simple thank you or a positive brief reply can hurt a relationship. Forming habits is important to avoid neglecting or "not having enough time for" such tasks.

    • cygnetbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygnet Brown 

      21 months ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Marlene Bertrand, Thanks for your comment! I agree. Goals without deadlines will probably never get done and I agree with you about deleting tasks too. Habits are only good if they serve us.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      21 months ago from USA

      These are all wonderful steps for planning achievable goals. I believe strongly in setting a deadline. And, I like more what you said about deleting tasks. That makes a lot of sense to me, because some things are things we might be doing out of pure habit. Excellent advice here. Thank you.

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