Conventional wisdom is to set small, achievable goals. It’s great advice, and it works. You need goals that are attainable soon. These can be chores like laundry or steps for setting up your website. It’s satisfying to check things off your list. As you accomplish each item, you feel good about your progress and motivated to keep going.
Yes, but also no.
What if your small goals keep you busy enough that you put off your big goals? Small goals can be distracting. If they aren’t tied to your Big Audacious Goals, or if your Big Audacious Goals aren’t in sight, small stuff will keep you feeling productive but not take you to ultimate glory.
What are your Big Audacious Goals – starting a business? A family? Taking a trip? Writing a book? Writing a blog? Applying for a reach job? These goals are attainable in a sequence of small steps. So break your Big Goals down into achievable chunks, and keep those on your To Do list. Prioritize them and as soon as one is done, do the next. As you complete each step, you get closer and closer to your Big Goals. This is David Allen’s favorite thing. If an item on your to-do list is “write a book,” it will never get done. That’s too big for anyone to do in one go. Break it down instead: start by writing for one hour every Monday.
Don’t sell yourself short with only small goals. Think big. Think huge. Keep Big Audacious Goals in sight – on your fridge, closet, at the top of your Year Plan (see How to Plan Your Best. Year. Yet). You will need to break goals down in order to achieve them, but don’t let the small stuff crowd out or overwhelm the big. Even if your small goals bring you closer to your big ones, keep those big ones visible. They are the ends while you’re in the midst of the means.