Let's Start Small...
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Two years ago I wrote a post on goal setting as we headed into 2019. We discussed how to create SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time specific. This framework is a great way to plan out future goals and make sure you are making the steps to attain them. We would suggest looking back at that article heading in to 2021 if you have some goals in mind. (Are you among the 88% of American’s who make a goal or resolution for the new year?) But after the challenges of 2020, diving into some big goals sounds...tiring. This year, instead of talking about how to make goals, we wanted to talk about making your goal setting more manageable. And I am all about making life more manageable right now.
The first thing we wanted to talk about was creating sub goals. What would it look like to breakdown your big goal into little small steps. These are much easier to attain and less daunting than a big goal like—pay off my land loan, or save money for a tractor, or lose 40 pounds. That seems to be a big hurdle for most people—becoming daunted by the big goal and losing hope of achieving that goal, or even failure to start towards that goal. One of the best things you can do is look at your big goal and break it down into the small steps and milestones it would take to reach that goal. Let’s look at an example.
Say your goal is to learn another language. Seems pretty daunting, right? Let’s break it down into smaller goals. First, research and order a linguistics program. Next, your goal could be use the program for 15 minutes every day. Another smaller goal could be making flashcards and practicing them daily. The same principles could be used for a goal like paying off the tail end of an equipment loan. Maybe some sub goals would be to track and categorize every farm purchase you make for 6 months. Include all the little items you purchase that aren’t necessities. Another step could be to clean up that old equipment that’s been rotting in a barn or a fence row. Sell it for scrap and use that amount as an extra payment. Fill out your crop budgets. See how much extra you could devote to a payment. All of these are something you feel like you can achieve; and all help you reach your larger goal.
If you are at all like me, setting a goal that takes a year or more to reach also seems daunting. While I have some general goals for the year, I also decided to set some Monthly habit goals. Doing something for 30 days sounds a whole lot more manageable than something for 365 days. Each month I will select a habit that I want to work on for the month and track how well I do. The next month, I will select something else and focus just on it that month. While I haven’t nailed down my list yet, so far I have some ideas like walk every day, practice a new skill daily, limit computer and phone time, get up early every day, drink 1 gallon of water daily, read for 10 minutes a day, do a brain puzzle every day. Just some ideas I am tossing around, but all things I think I could commit to for a month. I think that is a key for me, and probably for many of you. We need our goals to be manageable. If it’s something I think I can do for a month, I am much more likely to stick with it, and prove myself right.
If you would like to try out a habit goal this year, I’ve attached a free download for a habit tracker I made for 2021. Simply mark off each day that you complete your goal. You could do this for one habit for the entire year, or different habits/goals each month. Enjoy!
Whatever your ideas for goals are in 2021, big goals, broken down into sub goals, monthly goals like mine, or maybe no plans for your goals yet, I hope this post gave you some ideas for starting of 2021 and marching towards the things we want!