It’s certainly not unusual for someone’s vision for their year ahead to be exciting and motivational one day (usually the 1st January!) but then feel quite overwhelming and intimidating the next. Does that sound familiar? Especially if you’ve had a tough day or are exceptionally tired! So what do you do if your vision and goals for the year ahead don’t feel achievable? Or, how do you ensure they are achievable?
My eldest daughter is a long distance runner. On the day of a big race her coach focuses her preparations on her mindset. To keep her from getting overwhelmed by the longer race and the number of runners that may be in front of her, he tells her to overtake one runner at a time. I find this is sound advice in the business arena too. Overwhelm sets in when you focus on the end point and all the actions you need to take between now and then to achieve it. That can feel like a huge chasm to cross. In reality all you need to do is to put one foot in front of the other until you cross the line, or in my running analogy, you just need to overtake one runner at a time.
The way I translate this into practical action is to break my goal for the year into quarterly objectives. I then break the first quarterly objective down into monthly ones and then the first month down into weekly “things to do”. That way I can be sure that my actions are aligned to my strategic aim for the year and will thus move me nearer to achieving it. The upside of breaking it down into manageable weekly tasks is that they are very do-able and as such don’t trigger an overwhelm reaction.
Right then, take a look at the 2014 goals you wrote down last week. Break each goal down into quarterly objectives. Take the objectives for January-March and translate them into monthly ones. Now look at just the list for January and break those down into simple weekly tasks. Some of them may turn into multiple tasks which is absolutely fine, and if anything, that is a better approach as it will make each task easier to do as it will take less time.
Now you should have mapped out the strategic actions you need to take in January to ensure you can work sensibly towards your 2014 goals. Repeat this towards the end of every month to ensure you have a strong direction for 2014 and a very good chance of meeting your goals for the year.