Friends! This year has been pretty fun so far. We spent quite a bit of time up at Tangled Acres enjoying the mountains, and snuck in some outdoor time at the ski hill trying out cross country skiing gear and fat bikes. The Nordic center at our mountain held a winterfest event that had demo gear to try out. Our youngest waited over an HOUR for enough bikes to come back that he, his dad and I could all go out for a ride. It was worth every minute waiting!

In addition to enjoying the fire pit and talking bikes with the guys representing the company that brought bikes out, I spent some time thinking about how to break down the goals I set for myself this year. If you haven't already read Part 1 of this series, I'd recommend it as it provides some guidance on choosing goals that are meaningful to you.

What I'd like to focus on in this portion of the goal setting is to talk about how to break goals down into achievable mini-goals. One reason I like to do this is that it gives me a small chunk of a larger goal to focus on, which keeps me engaged in the process without straying too far off track or completely forgetting about a goal I've set.

Break it Down

How do you break down a goal? I like to map this out on paper or a whiteboard, and identify the main components of your larger goal. One of my goals this year is to improve my photography skills (so you don't have to keep looking at orange pictures). I spent some time thinking about what that meant to me and how I might want to go about tackling something that is a bit intimidating. Make sure these mini-goals are small enough to achieve within a reasonable time period. I decided that I'd like to take the following steps to achieve this goal:

  • Learn about the settings on my specific camera
  • Practice with a variety of settings to understand the visual differences between them
  • Take a photography class focused on landscape and up close photography (also learn what up close photography is actually called)
  • Learn about lighting
  • Improve photo editing

Schedule it Out

So now you have a list of items and activities that will get you to your end result. What's next? I like to pull out my calendar. Putting a time constraint around each of these mini-goals provides a deadline to work towards so that you stay focused on the objective. Now, this isn't a hard and fast deadline - we're all human and sometimes things need adjusting.

My preference is to keep goals to a monthly, two week or weekly schedule. This lets you group goals by time and not have too many things going on all at once. My timeline looks like this:

  • January
    • Learn about my camera's settings (youtube videos and articles)
  • February 1-14
    • Practice with the different settings to understand the differences
  • February 14-28
    • Learn about lighting (youtube videos, articles and asking the hubs approximately 800,000 questions)
  • March
    • Improve photo editing with an online photoshop course
  • To be determined (based on availability)
    • Take a photography class

Even though this is a very simplistic schedule it should have enough structure to accomplish my goals. In addition, I'll put these dates into my calendar to remind me that I'm working on this. One word of caution... It's really easy to schedule all your free time doing goal oriented work. Remember that you have other commitments, some days you might not want to work all day then essentially have an evening full of homework. The moral is to plan some slack time when you're making your schedule to account for life - for me that means accounting for some business trips that are scheduled and the fact that it's winter and we ski virtually every weekend (which means I'm not home to practice photography).

Do the Things!

Now is the fun part - go dive in! Do the things you've scheduled, feel accomplished and be awesome! Next week we will talk about tracking goals, stay tuned! In the meantime, share with us what goals you're working on and how it's going. You've got this!