A few years ago I started running. At the time I hated running. But I hated how out of shape I was when I tried to play basketball with youth group students even more. So I decided to do something about it, and that something was to make myself run. I thought it would be great to be able to run around the block, which was about two miles, up and down hills. Two miles is a long way if you aren’t a runner. The idea was a little over whelming.
Perhaps you have a goal in mind that you would like to accomplish, but keep putting it off because it seems too unachievable. Maybe you want to read 30 books this year, or swim 20 laps in the pool each day, run a marathon, write a book, or even hike the Appalachian Trail. Whatever it is, unless we choose to look at our goal differently it will always seem too big and unattainable. It will always loom over us like a dark cloud, and has the potential to become a source of discouragement. If that’s you, then keep reading.
We can all get overwhelmed by goals.
But what if the key to accomplishing our goals was actually pretty easy? What if we could even do something today and begin accomplishing our goals right now?
The key to accomplishing anything is this:
Break it down into smaller more attainable goals.
That’s it. It seems so simple that you might be tempted to stop reading. But I promise you it works.
When I started running, I didn’t try to run 2 miles right away. In fact, I was far from it. I would run for 2 minutes and then walk for four, and I didn’t get very far. So I broke down my goal into smaller more attainable chunks. I would increase the amount of time I ran and decrease the amount of time I walked until I was able to run a mile without stopping.
The same principle is true when a friend and I started a church; there was so much work to be done that it would’ve been easy to just stop. But we decided to make a list, and break our goal down into smaller more attainable goals.
The same thing is true whenever we set any goal. Break it down into smaller more attainable goals and when you meet those goals, celebrate―you are one step closer to writing that book, to running a marathon, to reading all those books. I can tell you from personal experience that that feels good. It feels almost like accomplishing your goal. If you celebrate the little victories along the way they will give you the fuel to move forward with your goal. Once that momentum starts, it can be hard to stop.
Once you break your goal down into bite-size chunks then make it a priority in your schedule. Our calendar is the one thing that can sabotage any goal. You see, so many of us are incredibly busy. We don’t have time for our goal. We think, “Yeah, that’s nice and all, but I don’t have time for it.”
I would push back and say, that is a lie. You do have time for it. You have time for Netflix and golf, and so many other things. The only difference is you make them a priority on your calendar. So do the same thing for your goal. Make it a priority, schedule it in. This is the only way you will ever accomplish your smaller goals and achieve your dream.
This might mean you have to cut some things out. But here is what I know, sometimes you have to say no to some good things, in order to say yes to a great thing. So practice saying no; practice telling yourself no.
I was able to run 2 miles, and even ran a 5K because I broke it down into smaller chunks. We were able to launch a healthy church because we broke it down into smaller, more attainable goals. You can do it too.
If you do this, you can accomplish your goal. So start today.
The Master Gardener Program requires interns to complete 50 hours of volunteer service within their first year. For some, this sounds like a lot of hours. For others, this is nothing. But this can be a challenge for anyone regardless if you work or are retired.
So break it down into chunks. “I have 12 months to get 50 hours in.” That means I need 4.17 hours a month, or 1 hour a week. When you look at it that way, it seems much easier to get your hours in.
Next, look at your calendar and decide what needs to go, in order to allow you to get the hours in. You know your schedule and what weeks have the potential to be busy, so schedule around them. Maybe schedule more hours during times of the year when things tend to slow down.
If you do this, the 50 hours will be much easier to attain, and not so daunting of a task.