When you make a goal, how do you go about achieving it?
There are many different approaches, with varying degrees of success. From the classic overwhelm based procrastination, to the feet-first leap at the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of traps to fall into. A more common-sense approach would be those methods that are neither inaction nor massive, terrifying leaps, but rather taking one step at a time. But then what’s the first step? What order do they all go in, and how much time and space do they need in between them?
It’s time to talk strategy
The Oxford Dictionary describes a strategy as: “A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.” Other terms associated with strategy are master plan, plan of action, game plan. You get the idea! I like to think of a strategy as something of a map with a set of directions. You need to know not only where you are going to, but also where you are starting from and the points you will pass along the way.
If you head off on a road trip, you need to think about more than just the final destination. There are other practicalities to consider, such as fuel for the car, refreshments and bathroom breaks. This all translates into planning your way to achieving a goal. What will you need along the way?
Using micro-goals to plan your route
Also, if something goes wrong on your planned route, like an accident blocking the road, then a ‘b’ route is always good to have too. It’s really not much different when it comes to achieving a big goal in your life. It’s rarely a simple hop from point a to point b. I think it’s when people try to treat it as such that they get way off track – either pushing too far and making a mistake or being too paralysed by overwhelm to even start.
What I’m suggesting is simple, draw yourself a little map and write your directions down. Then simply follow the journey plan, one section at a time. Some people talk about this approach as setting micro-goals. Plotting the smaller points on their journey to success, where each micro-goal brings them a step closer to the end game. Micro-goals are brilliant as long as you get them in the right order, and they do lead you to the correct destination.
Reverse engineering your journey
A great way to make sure of this is to write your plans, your strategy, or your directions in reverse order. By beginning at the end, then following the journey backwards, a step at a time until you get back to where you are starting from, you can’t fail to get the micro-goals (or steps) in the right place.
They do say, begin with the end in mind.
So if you have a big goal, how about trying this approach? Plan yourself out a simple strategy, plotting out your journey in reverse, with micro-goals along the way.