Benjamin Franklin, American polymath and founding father of the United States made the following profound statement – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
The truth is, not setting goals in whatever we are involved in or failing to plan ahead in life, is synonymous to courting failure. You have to be intentional when it comes to success because it wouldn’t just fall on your laps.
It’s not just enough to set goals arbitrarily. Part of being intentional is learning to break down goals into short, medium and long term.
After that, the next step is to take your short term goals and break them further into daily or weekly milestones or tasks that you tick off as you complete.
In war as it is in management, there is a concept called, “Divide and Conquer.” This process (redefined) involves being in control of your situation by dividing or breaking up bigger tasks or projects into digestible or manageable bits. This way, what looks mammoth and intimidating at first glance now becomes doable.
Imagine that you have never written more than 1000 words at a go, and now you realize suddenly that you need to create an engaging and converting (paid) course of about 20,000 words for your growing online audience. At first, the task could look so overwhelming that you’re not able to lift a finger. But if you take your time to analyze the writing project and break it down into smaller tasks, you’ll see immediately that it’s not that difficult to achieve.
So, using the illustration above, writing 20,000 words in a month could be classified as the long term goal; writing 1000 words a day could be considered your medium term goal; while writing 100 words an hour could be your short term goal.
By planning your writing project (ahead) this way far before you’ve even written the first sentence, you’re actually paving the way to your online course success. So, when you organize your thoughts together and start to write, your focus is no longer on 20, 000 words in a month but a mere 100 words an hour. This is the kind of planning ahead that leads to resounding success.
Now, the beautiful thing is you can take the example and strategy above and apply it to just about any area of your life where you desire success, and you’ll be amazed at the results you achieve going forward.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy. It requires a lot of planning, determination and action. You’ll be confronted with challenges along the way that can easily derail you if you’re not determined and focused.
Going back to the example above, you’ll be amazed that it is that time you’re before your PC or laptop; all set to write the first 100 words, that you receive a call that requires your attention someplace else.
This is where rugged determination comes in. If writing during the day without distraction is not realistic, don’t try to force it. You could decide to write in the night when all your potential source of distraction is “fast asleep.” But, writing when everyone else is enjoying their sleep takes discipline. And the only thing that can keep you going sometimes is imagining what can be once your goal is achieved.
Another very effective strategy is celebrating your pre-set milestones. For instance, you could decide to reward yourself with something nice that increase in value as you hit 500 words, 1000 words, 3000 words, 5,000 words, etc. By doing this, you keep yourself energized and motivated as you achieve each milestone that take you nearer to your ultimate goal.
On a final note, ponder on the words of Charles Dickens; English writer, social critic and author of the famous novel, Oliver Twist: “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, diligence, and the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”