Productivity and GTD

How to Break Down Your Goals Into Actionable Steps

AUTHOR: Lauren Adley
Break down goals

“Most people claim to understand the importance of goal setting in order to attain a better life, but in fact, approximately 80 percent of people never set goals for themselves. Even more surprising, of the 20 percent of the population that does set goals, roughly 70 percent fail to achieve the goals they have set for themselves,” states Douglas Vermeeren, best-selling author on goal settings.

The key to actually achieving your goals is to break them down into actionable steps. Scroll down to find out how to do it and ensure accomplishing your objectives.

Set Your Goals

Before breaking down your goals into actionable steps, naturally, you need to establish your goals properly, not just to have them on your mind.

This means that your goals should be as precise as they can be. For example, let’s say you need to write your dissertation, but it’s so hard to start.

If your goal is to write a dissertation, then define it to last detail. What does it imply specifically? What problem is it going to tackle? What results do you want to achieve with your thesis? Write it down on a piece of paper.

Knowing your target will help you aim better and achieve your goals.

Define Some Milestones

After writing down well-established goals, it’s time to divide them into milestones. In the case of writing a dissertation, your milestones might be:

  • writing a dissertation proposal
  • doing research
  • making an outline
  • writing a dissertation
  • editing and proofreading

That way, you will have a clear structure that won’t seem so overwhelming. More importantly, these mini-goals are practically actionable steps you need to take to accomplish your objective.

Make sure you also write down these milestones because according to study by psychologist Gail Matthews people who write down their goals, are 33% more successful in accomplishing them than those who only formulate wishes in their heads.

Create a Task List

Milestones are still big steps, so you need to break them further. Therefore, make a list of specific tasks necessary to achieve each milestone. Begin with the first one and take your time to complete every segment.

Write precise, actionable tasks that start with a verb. Specific language helps you understand what you need to do in order to complete a certain assignment, but at the same time it lets you know when that assignment is finished.

For instance, for a dissertation proposal you need to:

  • Choose a theme
  • Choose a title
  • Structure of the proposal

Since the last task is a little bit vague, you can break it further:

  • Write objectives
  • Write potential outcomes
  • Choose methodology

And the list goes on.

Prepare Everything You Need

The key to success is good preparation. Hence, before getting down to business, think about all the things you might need along the way.

For example, when writing a dissertation, you will probably need some books, or maybe you will need assistance from professionals, such a Best Dissertation company.

Preparing adequately for each task and getting the necessary support will save you time because you will be ready to roll up your sleeves right away. There won’t be setbacks that would squander your precious time.

Try to anticipate what you need to complete every task, from practical things to professional help, and ensure you have them in the time of need.

Set a Timeline

Once you establish a list of tasks and prepare the ground for the work, it’s time to set a timeline for their execution. It will help you prioritize your assignments and create a system that will work.

For instance, you can do your dissertation research before purchasing or getting needed books, so you will decide when are you going to buy the necessary material and for how long you are going to do the research.

A timeframe is crucial for spending your time efficiently and juggling all the task in perfect balance.

However, don’t get caught in the tomorrow trap. Instead of saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” change the narrative and say “I’ll do it today.”

Work on Your Goal

Even though you broke down your goal into actionable steps, sometimes that’s not enough. There is a little voice in your hand that keeps making excuses for not working and giving you reasonable reasons to procrastinate.

Fortunately, there is an efficient way to make that voice quiet down.

Use The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. “When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action. There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5-second window.”

So, from now on no more excuses and procrastination! Start counting and acting!

To Conclude

Once you create specific goals, break them into smaller milestones with detailed planned tasks, you will definitely belong to 30 percent of the population that achieve their goals successfully.

One comment

31e9edb3d10859de6e8c0396325ef3ec
Commented 3 months ago Michał

Nice article, in my case I need to break down a goal (or a step) until I don’t feel resistance towards it. In some kind of projects, the steps are smaller and in other ones they are bigger.

I found it also beneficial to set not only result goals but also process goals like: “I spent 60 minutes in writing thesis every weekday”

31e9edb3d10859de6e8c0396325ef3ec Michał

Nice article, in my case I need to break down a goal (or a step) until I don’t feel resistance towards it. In some kind of projects, the steps are smaller and in other ones they are bigger.

I found it also beneficial to set not only result goals but also process goals like: “I spent 60 minutes in writing thesis every weekday”

Posts are closed to new comments after 30 days.

Try FacileThings FREE for 30 DAYS and start living at your own pace

No credit card required for the free trial. Cancel anytime with one click.