Perhaps you’ve got the dreaming big part down pat. You can allow yourself to imagine what it looks like to be at your fullest, spending each day doing the thing that sets your soul on fire and fuels each of your actions. You can piece together what you want your life to look like at the end of the year with a good idea of where you want to go from the point you are standing at right now.
You have a vision. You allow yourself to dream. You can set goals.
Now what? How do you take that first step in finding progression toward these visions and ideas that light you up and make your heart beat a little faster? How do you put your feet to the ground and start to find forward progress? How do you even know what the first step should look like?
I asked every single one of these questions (and about 50 more) to myself and to Jor when we started Sherbert Shop. It was fun to talk about the what-if’s and daydream about the products we could create, what they would look like and who would use them. But I had absolutely no clue where to even begin with any of those ideas. There were new programs to learn, new software to buy, a realm of vendors and suppliers to learn about, meet and connect with and then there was the actual creation of the Happy Balance Planners. When I looked at as the big picture, there was and is one word to describe the feeling that immediately washes over you: OVERWHELMED!
Here’s the thing, all of those questions and feelings of being overwhelmed are absolutely normal and are absolutely a reason to pause before taking any action. But while you might pause, we don’t want these questions to keep you frozen in the dreaming phase and keep you from leaning head first into the doing phase.
We don’t want you to be the person that is standing in your own way of bringing to life all the ideas you have swimming around in your head and fueling your true passions.
If your goals scare you, it’s probably a sign that you are on to something that truly means something to you and that is never a bad thing. It means you are at your edge, at your comfort zone, and you have all the potential to push past the sense of doubt and step fully into the version of yourself that is brightest.
We’ve shared the Goal Funnel with you before (aka the heart and soul of our Happy Balance Planner) but we want to break it down even further today. The Goal Funnel is represented in your Happy Balance Planner with yearly, monthly, weekly and daily todos to help you break down those big dreams of yours into actionable items that make dreams into realities. These pages are your roadmap, your stepping stones and your compass that help you find intention on the daily and help you be mindful in how you carve out your time, for who and for what.
While the Goal Funnel can be a valuable tool, the value can only be fully utilized when you figure out how to make the Goal Funnel completely work for YOU! We’re asked all the time “How do you actually break your goals down into smaller steps?” It’s so important that you find an answer to this question because it is absolutely the first step and answer to creating the path forward that will ultimately lead to you reaching your goals.
We’ve got some tips to help you get started on breaking down your goals down into actionable steps:
- Write Down Your BIG PICTURE Goal: Seems like a simple step but this is the step where you are owning your goal. Put pen to paper and write your goal down boldly, both literally and figuratively. Put it in your planner, post it above your desk, tap it to your bathroom mirror, put a tiny version in your wallet…you want it to be at the forefront of your mind every day so that you don’t just see it but you BELIVE it.
- Write Down the WHY Behind Your Goal: Before you even let your mind start running through a mile long list of to-dos, listen to your heart and write down the WHY behind your goal. You have to know what is inspiring and motivating you to reach for this goal. This WHY sets the intention for each of your actions and will also serve as fuel when you find yourself hitting a speed bump along the journey. Your WHY is the reason you get started but it is also the reason you keep going in the thick of it. Acknowledge the why behind your goal and give meaning to your work before you even take the first step.
- Make a List of ALL THE THINGS: Here is the time to dump all those ideas out of your head and on to paper. With this step, you write down everything you need to do in order to get from where you are right now to the point where you are checking the goal off your list. This is your action item list that is going to capture all the things that you need or think you need to do. When making this list, don’t worry about the length or how many action steps you come up with. Personally, we like to add even the smallest of steps, such as an email that needs to be sent to get the ball rolling on another action item. To get a clear picture, you need to be honest with the work that is ahead of you and that means writing out each thing that is going to take you time, thought, effort and even money. So at this stage of the game, pretend you have endless resources and time and put it all out there.
- It’s All About that Date…Set One: This step is so important it could really be a blog post all by itself (maybe we’ll work on that), but no matter how badly you want to avoid it, you have to write down a date next to your goal. If you forgo the date, you know what’s going to happen! You’ll say tomorrow, next week about a dozen times until pushing it off another day or week doesn’t even bother you anymore and 6 months later you’re still standing in the same place just looking at your goal on paper rather than working toward the goal on paper. So open up your Happy Balance Planner and set a date that is reasonable and then add a grace period of two weeks (+/- a week). The most important part about this date is that it’s your starting point for breaking down your goal.
- Work Backward and Set a Timeline: At this point, you have a list of actions that need attention and you have an end date that you’d like to ring the bell on reaching your goal. Use your goal date as your starting point to work your way backward and create your timeline. If you know you have four months to complete everything, what actions need to be taken first and/or what actions are going to require the most time. Categorize your tasks according to the sequence they need to occur and by the length of time needed and then start to turn these items into monthly goals. Decide where you need to be at the end of each month to reach your deadline and then turn some of the items on your action list into monthly goals for the designated month. This will provide a focus for each month and you will have a clear direction where one month simply builds off of the last.
- Turn Monthly Goals into Weekly Goals: This is where you start to get your hands dirty and you really get down to business. Your monthly goals are setting the tone for your month and you break those actions down into even smaller pieces that you can do on the weekly. For each week of the month, decide what tasks you need to complete to take a step forward toward the monthly goals. This is when those small tasks like the emails, phone calls, etc. are written down. And not only are you breaking down the actual goal, but you’re breaking down your timeline and due dates as well. So for each task and step you write down, you assign a monthly and a weekly date to have the step complete. Small steps do add up!
This is the process that I go through every time I am setting my sights on a new goal, particularly the big ones. When I feel that sense of being overwhelmed creeping in, this is my first tool to combat the feeling off and quickly replace it with determination and confidence. My attack mode is actually a planning mode because I think we honestly just want to feel some sense of being in control. While I don’t think we can ever truly gain full control, we can certainly have a game plan and we can certainly create meaningful steps in our journey toward moving heartward for a goal that fuels us.
We believe that each of you has a goal and a dream that is so worth bringing to life and sharing with others!
Breaking down your goals in your Happy Balance Planner or just on any piece of paper can be the valuable tool that helps you bring these goals to existence! Decide today that your goals are worth it. Decide today that you are worth it! And decide today to turn your goal from a mountain into a journey defined by individual steps that allow you to step into your whole self fully.