You want to start that side hustle, lose 50 pounds, and learn how to code. If you’re anything like me, you have a long list of big goals you haven’t completed. The list keeps getting bigger every year.
You want to put more effort into achieving your personal goals. Now, you’re wondering if you should break down those large goals.
Well, let me tell you this…
One of the most important habits for achieving success is breaking down your goals into smaller pieces.
But why is that, exactly?
Here are seven reasons why breaking down your goals is an incredibly effective strategy for achieving success.
Reason 1: Big Goals Can Be Intimidating
That’s the first and foremost reason. Telling yourself that you need to write the next bestseller in three months will have you cowering in a corner. Before you even write that first word, you will think of a million better things to do. It is hard for us to do something we consider impossible or very hard.
You then turn your focus and concentration to other things. For example, a video on YouTube, an episode of your favorite show, or a video game you never beat. When you get tired of that, you start doing busy work. This is everything related to the goal you want to complete, but not the actions that will help you complete the goal.
You then become unmotivated and defeated because you haven’t worked on your goal. Well, this isn’t your fault. Let me explain.
The idea of completing such a large goal prevents you from concentrating on the goal. When you work with 100% concentration, you’re 100% into the task at hand.
Everything else fades away. You hear sounds and words. You feel happy and focused. Concentration is something you can achieve when you break down your big goals into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Reason 2: You Will Save Time
And as we know, “If you don’t spend time on it, it won’t get done.” When you spend a lot of time planning a big goal, you aren’t taking any real action. You focus on how to climb to the peak of the mountain rather than on how to put on your climbing gear properly.
Breaking down your big goals into smaller pieces helps you achieve high performance in less time. You’ll be able to actually put more effort into each part of your larger goal. You can use the time you save on other areas of your life. You will be able to have fun without feeling guilty or unaccomplished.
Instead of trying to figure out how to complete your goal as you go, you’ll have a roadmap to success. You will be able to make smarter decisions about what actions to tackle next. The smarter you work, the less likely you are to make mistakes. You also won’t hit a wall or focus on the wrong areas. This will save you a ton of time.
When you break your goals into smaller pieces, you free up your attention and energy. You can tackle smaller actions more quickly and efficiently, which leads to higher productivity.
Reason 3: You Will Be More Likely to Succeed
The more focused and narrow your goals are, the more you will likely succeed. Try to think of your goals as arrows pointing at a target. Your goal may be to lose 50 pounds or become an expert at photography.
If you’re shooting an arrow that is too broad, you won’t hit the target. You’ll be far more likely to miss and hit yourself.
Your goal is a big idea, but achieving it is going to be much more complicated than just speaking it into existence. If you set too big of a goal, you will get overwhelmed and never achieve anything.
Think about it.
You probably have dozens of things you want to accomplish. How likely are you to accomplish all of those things?
You’re still going to be going to work every day, spending time with your family, and completing your daily chores. There’s not much else you can do in a day.
Having a broad and ambitious goal to accomplish is never useful. It takes a lot of effort, time, and energy to accomplish even a goal that is broken down. The more effort something takes the harder it is to be successful at it.
Your success doesn’t come from exerting a large amount of energy at once to accomplish your goal. It comes from being consistent over a long period of time. When you break down your big goal into smaller goals, you are able to create more consistency.
Reason 4: You Will Set Better Deadlines
Breaking down goals into smaller pieces also has an important side effect: it helps you set deadlines for accomplishing them. Realistic deadlines help you avoid getting overwhelmed.
A big part of the reason why you don’t stick to your goals is that you create unrealistic deadlines. You procrastinate and you end up pushing everything off until the last minute. Creating better deadlines helps you manage your time more effectively.
For example, you might want to write your first book. In your mind, you figure that means writing 75,000 words by the end of the month. That’s hard. Also, you have to think about finding an editor, finding a publisher, getting artwork designed for your book, and how are you are going to promote it.
So, maybe you give yourself a more reasonable deadline – write 1,000 words by the end of the week. That’s much easier to manage. You’re now forced to move forward. Your writing will progress faster because you’re not trying to do the impossible.
You’re no longer focusing on the mountain you have to climb, but rather on your timeline to climb it.
Reason 5: You Will Feel More Accomplished
Have you ever had this experience? After working really hard for something, it’s finally over and done with. You’ve reached your goal. That feels pretty good, right?
Instead of having this feeling once, you will be able to fill this multiple times when you break your large goals down into small actions. When you’re working towards small parts of your goals, you will feel more accomplished.
When you accomplish your big picture goals, you will feel like you have accomplished something big. You will have completed something awesome in your life.
But there is a flip side to that. If you don’t complete the goal, then you will have a very disappointing feeling. If it is a large goal, you will feel discouraged and lose your momentum.
If it is a small part of a large goal and you don’t complete that, you can look at everything you have completed before. This will give you the motivation to you forward. If you spend a lot of time pursuing something, you’re more likely to move forward when something goes wrong because of the time you have already invested.
In the end, you want to end up with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction from achieving your goal. That’s what it’s all about.
Reason 6: You Will Prioritize Your Life Better
In order to achieve any goal, you need to prioritize it. It is hard to prioritize a larger goal because you think you need a lot of time to complete it. You begin to focus on the things you can complete immediately.
I recently came across a great article on the Fritjof Capra website. In the article he states:
“The only way to achieve any of your goals is to eliminate everything else. There are no other activities in the world that you can do to equal the time you spend working on these goals.” – Fritjof Capra
In reality, we have work, we have our families, and we have other responsibilities. We can’t just drop everything and focus on our goal. Having a small part of a goal to complete, allows us to balance what we enjoy, what we must do, and what we want to do to be successful.
Although we can drop everything, and make our goal center stage in our lives, we have the opportunity to modify our priorities so we can focus on our own self-improvement. If you spend more time focusing on the goal than you do on other aspects of your life, you will miss opportunities to thrive.
Breaking down your goals lets you consistently pace yourself. This gives you the opportunity to balance everything you have going on in your life. You are then able to pick what matters most when it comes to satisfying your basic needs.
Your goal doesn’t have to be completely achieved in order to be effective. The process of goal-setting and breaking down your goals into smaller pieces will help you see the forest from the trees.
Reason 7: You Will Stay Motivated
I mentioned above that setting goals gives you momentum. When you completed your goal, that’s all the more motivation to keep going. But you also have to stay motivated during the entire journey.
You can’t let your momentum slow down because you reached a roadblock. Focusing on smaller actions rather than larger ones means you’re always progressing. And that keeps you motivated to keep going.
The small pieces of a large goal work together to provide a complete vision. It will force you to rethink your goals constantly and stay focused. You’ll see what you’re actually capable of accomplishing.
You will be more likely to succeed and learn more from when you fail.
You don’t achieve success unless you put in the work. And it takes more than just putting in the work. You need a healthy dose of motivation and persistence to get where you want to be. If you get discouraged by past failures or never push yourself to do your best work, you’ll never achieve your goals.
I hope this blog post has inspired you to break down your goals. Once you start doing this, you’ll see just how beneficial and powerful it can be. If you want to learn how to succeed, then it’s time to stop talking and start doing. Stop making excuses and start doing.
Now, I want to hear from you. What’s your experience with breaking goals down into smaller pieces? What tips can you give to others struggling to break down their goals?
Share your insights in the comments section below.