How to Break Down a Big Goal Into Something You Can Actually Achieve
Setting big goals is a healthy way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and achieve your dreams, whether they’re personal or professional. Working toward big goals, though exciting, can also be scary and uncomfortable. Whether you’ve taken on a huge DIY project (like remodeling a house), are starting a side hustle or business, or working toward a career-changing promotion, learning how to set smaller milestones along the way will impact your success. This kind of strategic approach to achieving a big goal has proven popular: Pinterest tells us that searches for bullet journaling are up 112 percent, year over year. “People love bullet journaling because it’s a great way to track daily activities that are connected to long-term goals,” the team shares.
Elisa Darma, a successful entrepreneur and social media influencer, agrees that breaking down a big, long-term goal to make it more manageable will help you achieve your overall outcome. We recently caught up with the media mogul to score a few secrets behind her success, as well as her best tip for dealing with unexpected obstacles.
1. Enlist the Ivy Lee Method. Darma swears by the Ivy Lee Method, a 100-year old productivity strategy that millions of people find works like a charm. “The night before, write down your top six must dos for the next day,” Darma instructs. “Then only focus on the first one until it’s done — and only move on after it’s completely done.”
Darma tells us that she works her way through her list each day and adds any tasks she couldn’t complete to tomorrow’s 6 Daily Tasks list. Good to know: Your tasks can be as small as sending an email or making a call or as large as completing part of a project. The key is to list and execute on them in order of true importance.
2. Time your tasks. Experts agree that working with timed breaks can help you stay focused while giving your brain a healthy break; losing focus can slow you down and make your overall goal harder to reach. In fact, productivity professional Julie Morgenstern informed us that each distraction can eat up 20 minutes or more as you work to regain focus.
Darma says starting a task takes up most of her effort; once she is able to find focus, finishing is much easier. To get going on smaller things that’ll help her achieve her big goal, she works in spurts. “I use the Pomodoro technique where I work for 20-30 minutes and then take a 5-10 minute break. It makes the ‘daunting’ and big task much easier to digest,” she explains. “It’s also a psychological thing where you make the barrier lower by truthfully telling yourself, ‘I only have to do 20 minutes of this task.’”
3. Step away when you need to. Working toward a big goal can be overwhelming, stressful, and anxiety-inducing. Feeling frustrated? Darma reminds that it’s okay to take a break. “When things feel chaotic as I’m working toward a big goal, it’s my cue to step away from my desk and biz. I leave the house, go for a walk and just let my brain wander,” she admits. “It’s not healthy and productive to work from a place of ‘fight or flight,’ so stepping away (though sure, it feels counterintuitive and sometimes more stressful) is the best thing I can do for myself in those moments.”
Don’t have a ton of time to step away? A few minutes of intentional breath work can be a major help. Use your breathing to channel calm vibes and regain your focus at your desk or in a stressful situation — you’ll likely find it easier to power through.
What big goal are you working toward right now? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Featured photo via @elisedarma)