Got a Goal? Here’s How to Make it Happen

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What’s the difference between someone who has big dreams they never realize and someone with a big dream they actually make happen? Four simple words: They did the work.

Reaching any goal – tiny or mammoth – happens when you take action. Seems simple, right? It is…in theory. But in reality, taking action to reach a goal can, and does, stop people in their tracks. Why? Because they don’t know where to begin. And the bigger the goal, the more overwhelming it might seem to dive in. The result is that action isn’t taken and goals don’t get reached.

Luckily, we’ve got a strategy to help you tackle even your biggest goals and see them through to completion.

BREAK IT DOWN, DOWN, DOWN

The best way to take action towards achieving your goals is to BREAK IT DOWN. That means, you want to take that big goal and come up with a list of smaller goals that make up the big goal. Here’s an example of how it works:

Big Goal:

To apply for summer internships with a magazine publisher

Smaller Goals for Supporting Big Goal:

  • Research magazines that accept interns
  • Work on updating resume
  • Put together a collection of writing samples and clips
  • Put the word out to friends and family that I’m looking for an internship
  • Contact magazines who hire interns and find out how to apply
  • Apply to internships
  • Follow up with magazines

Once you’ve broken down your MAIN goal into SMALLER goals, look over your action list. Do the tasks seem doable or are they still big, hairy, and overwhelming? If so, break them down even more to create a list of TINY goals that support the SMALLER goals. Like this:

Tiny Goals to Support Smaller Goals:

  • Go to the bookstore and flip through a ton of different magazines
  • Make a list of magazines that look cool, interesting, local or in some other way feel like a good fit
  • Spend a day doing online research on those magazines to see if they hire interns
  • Make a list of magazines to contact, along with the names and emails of the people to reach out to
  • Draft an email to send out to friends and family inquiring if anyone has connections at these magazines
  • Have someone review email from above before sending it to make sure it’s well-written
  • Send email out to friends and family
  • Follow up on any leads generated from emails
  • Go through essays and other original writing and put together collection of best samples
  • Create a document with 2-3 best writing samples
  • Brainstorm a list of items to include in your resume, including work and volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, special awards, honors, or associations, grade point average, etc.
  • Draft a copy of your resume
  • Have someone review resume to give you feedback
  • Revise resume
  • Have someone proofread resume to make sure there are no spelling errors
  • Make a list of the different internship application deadlines
  • Spend a day submitting applications

Once you have your list of TINY goals, review them again. If any item on your TINY goal list feels like it’s too daunting to take on right away, break it down even more. The idea is to have your To Do items be so small, simple, and straightforward you could easily check off one thing a day without blinking an eye.

Lastly, when your MAIN goal has been broken down into the smallest possible bite-sized tasks, go back to the list and add in any target dates you can. By adding in a day or date for each task, you’ll cut out the guesswork about what to do when, and you’ll also have created a way for you to be accountable, at the very least, to your schedule!

Wanna give it a whirl with one of your goals? Download our BREAK IT DOWN Goal Worksheet and get started!

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