What have you set out to achieve this year? What dream are you chasing? What personal growth goal have you set? Do you want to lose weight, meet a fitness goal, get a new job, write a book, make a change in your family life, or achieve some life-long dream? This is the time of year we dream, set goals, and start out with so much hope. Yet, it’s also the time of year so many of of those dreams crumble when we begin to stumble or become overwhelmed at the enormity of what’s before us. So, how can we begin actually achieving big goals?
Achieving Big Goals Requires Small Purposeful Steps
If I set a goal to run my first marathon, I don’t sign up for a race next week. Instead, I get up and jog around the block. Then, I find a group to train with and map out a plan to build up my endurance day by day.
If I want to lose weight, I can’t expect it to happen overnight. I start by throwing out the cookies. Then, I actually get up and do some exercise. Step by step. As I get a few steps going, I can make plan of other steps that will help me reach my goal.
Decide on a first step – a small one – and take it today. Make some step forward to get yourself moving in the right direction. From that first step, make a plan of more small steps that build into bigger steps. As you commit to those small steps and being to build a little momentum, make a plan to reach your goal.
5 Steps to Actually Achieving Big Goals
1) Break the goal into achievable pieces
If I’m planning to run a big race later in the year, I’ll need to build up my conditioning and endurance. Maybe the first piece is to establish a good routine of running daily. Next, I need to work up to 1 mile. Then, work up to 4 miles, and so forth. For some types of goals, you can actually find plans online to help, especially for fitness and weight loss goals.
2) Assign dates to the pieces of your plan
For each achievable piece of your plan, assign a date. Decide how long it will take you to achieve that particular piece and set a deadline. Sometimes it helps to find a target to meet, such as a race you want to run or a beach vacation by which you want to have some weight off or a class you want to take. External dates and deadlines can be particularly motivating. Whether the deadlines are internal or externally-driven, put them on your calendar so they’re visible to you.
3) Determine how you’ll measure success
How will you know if you’ve achieved success at each piece of the plan? Decide one thing that will determine success for each piece, so you can measure it and celebrate the milestone when you get there.
4) Put your plan in writing
Write up your plan, with dates and success measures. Put your plan somewhere you can see it to keep you focused and motivated. Share it with someone close and ask for their support and encouragement. As you move through the plan and meet deadlines and success measures, celebrate those. Mark them off and celebrate your achievements.
5) Allow for grace
You’ll need some grace through the process. No matter how well-planned and motivated you are, you’ll fall off the plan at some point. You’ll miss a date, you won’t achieve the mark you’ve set, you may even change your mind about what’s most important to achieve. Allow for changes to your plan and give yourself grace if you don’t perfectly stick to the plan. Don’t give up on yourself if you don’t meet all your targets. Trust that God is in charge of your plan and He’ll guide you in those next steps.
What are your goals this year? Share your top one in the comments below and how you’re doing on it so far. Are you making progress or have you already begun to struggle? Remember it takes a lot of small steps to reach one big goal, so take that next step today.
If you’re still working through your dreams and big goals, or are not sure if your dreams are in line with God’s dreams for you, let me recommend Grace Goals. This is a biblical goal-setting program, focused on helping you enable real change in your life, with God’s help. Grace Goals includes 5 mini-workshops and a printable workbook to help you define your goals and take action. Click here to learn more.