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For the past two weeks, we’ve looked at a simple goal-setting method that will carry you from your goals to tasks in a few easy steps. It’s called “Building the Bridge.” Following is Part 3 of the four-part series.

In this section of our goal-setting series, we get down to the real meat and bones: the formation of tasks that will inspire action. We call this important step “Breaking It Down.”

It shouldn’t surprise you that procrastination is the root of most failed goals. Getting started is half the battle. And, when it comes to goals, most procrastination comes from either one of three causes:

  1. You don’t know where to begin
  2. The task seems too big and daunting
  3. You’re not motivated to do the work

Would you believe that all three causes can be cured with one simple solution? It’s true.

The solution is breaking down your tasks into small, specific and achievable tasks. Here’s how you do it:

By rule, most tasks people set are too big and vague. They carry clear directions, yet are not specific enough to put on your task list. In fact, we labeled them as intermediate steps in the previous goal setting step called Build Your Bridge. For each intermediate step you create, you must create goal-related tasks.

Here are the instructions for making certain each task on your list offers specific detailed instructions:

  • If your task can’t be turned into a specific action, it needs to be broken down into smaller steps
  • Write down the first action that comes to mind and then the next, and the next, and so on
  • Avoid writing single words like “budget” on your list; that’s a large, unapproachable word that looks difficult to accomplish
  • Begin your tasks with a verb and offer clarity as to the subject, like “List monthly expenses,” or “Gather last year’s bank statements”

It’s all about being clear and concise. In creating goal-tasks, it’s important to be as thorough as possible–think of them as baby steps.

Remember this: A poorly-defined activity can cause a roadblock that hinders your progress and discourages you from getting started.

For more tips on planning, organizing and productivity—as well as goal-setting—for every facet of your life, visit the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center.

Did you find this article on goal setting helpful? Please read our other articles in the series:

[photo by ScienceWorldCA]

3 thoughts on “Easy and Effective Goal Setting: Part 3—Break It Down

  1. You hit the nail on the head, Grace! It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed–but it’s so easy to avoid it with just a little planning and self-discipline. Sounds like you have a great solution at hand.

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