In the previous two weeks, I wrote about identifying your unique priorities and creating goals in order to make those priorities a reality. Now, it’s time to get very specific and identify tasks that will allow you to reach your goals, so you can live according to your priorities.
Once you identify important goals in your life, it’s time to break them down into actionable steps. What tasks can bring you closer to your goal?
If you want to learn to play piano, a suitable aim may be to play piano 3 times per week for 30 minutes. If you want to spend more time with friends, you can make it a goal to meet up with a friend for dinner or lunch once a week. Then, go ahead and make arrangements with your friends to that end. The key here is to make the steps actionable, so it’s clear what you need to do to move closer to your goal.
Next, you should put the action you’ve identified on your calendar and/or to-do list. Put it somewhere where you won’t forget about the activity, you’ll be reminded of it, and you’ll be able to review it. My calendar and my to-do list (both digital) are my best friends in this regard because they are always by my side (on my phone).
It’s very important to be practical and to plan your activities in detail. Multiple studies have shown the “when, then” approach extremely effective in modifying behavior: for instance, “when I come home from work, I will play piano for 30 minutes. Thus, identify when exactly you will do your new behavior, and decide on what exactly you will do. Be as specific as possible.
We should aim to break down our big goals into small, manageable steps and plan when and how we will carry those out. This is the way to make our goals happen.