Turning Lofty Goals into Action Items
As we get closer to diving into our 3rd month of the new year (already...yeah, I know...) I've given a lot of thought to the things that need to be prioritized this year. In the first few weeks of the year, I stepped away from an in-person job, committed to working full-time from home, and began to establish new goals for the many moving pieces of my life.
Honestly, I think it takes more that one New Year's Resolution to get started off on the right foot. When I was thinking about what I wanted this year to look like, I immediately felt overwhelmed and had to take it to prayer, as I do most things. That prayer went like this:
"God, I want a lot of things. Maybe too much? Am I unrealistic? No? Why the heck is my 'word of the year' DIG. What does that even mean?! And my random Saint of the year is St. Therese? Again?? I want this year to lead me ONE step closer to Sainthood. Oh, wait. That's it, huh? That's my goal isn't it!!!! Brain blast! Okay...but how do we make that happen.....? Time's up. Gotta go. Amen."
Yeah. That's pretty much how my quiet time with Jesus goes. He gets it, though. And lucky for me, the moment I actually took some time to be quiet was the moment I understood: my main goal in 2022 is to be one step closer to being a Saint.
You might be thinking "wow, Viva, that's a pretty lofty goal right there..." but is it? Isn't everything we do going to bring us one step closer or two steps farther from the Lord?
Even if it is lofty, anything that's grandiose can be turned into small steps. After all, it's the pieces that make a whole, right? So, that's exactly what I did and I want to share my process with YOU in the hopes that you can turn any lofty goal into action items that make those goals manageable and attainable.
Get off the Gram The big Kahuna. Get off of social media, specifically Pinterest and Instagram. While these apps are great places for inspiration, they also double as a great place to fall into comparison. Grab your inspiration, and run. Stay off of social media for as long as you need to collect your thoughts, settle your emotions, and flee from any thoughts of comparison.
Brain Dump Grab a pen and paper. Sit somewhere with no distractions. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Write down everything that comes to mind. Every to-do you've let float around in your head. Every project you keep putting off. Every item on your Costco list. Whatever it is, dump it down. Stop when the timer goes off!
3 Categories Take a look at your brain dump. It might be long, it might be small- the length doesn't matter. Start looking for "themes" and begin to categorize. Choose a Top 3. Mine are usually as follows: Faith, Health, Home and yes, a myriad of unlikely things fall under each.
60 seconds or Less This is where we start to block things out. Look at your list of 3 categories. What can be done in 60 seconds or less? Do it now. If, for whatever reason you can't, put it in your calendar. Just do it today. ex: text someone back, make the bed, take out the diaper pail, etc.
Choose 1 per category Go back to your 3 Categories. Choose ONE item to tackle from each list. Look at that! You now have your 3 Action Items for the month.
And that, my friends, is how I take my big burger of a goal and break it into bite-sized pieces. Every little bit counts toward progress. Once I accomplish a task on that 3-Item list, I go back to my brain dump (or do another) and add another one from the same category. It helps to keep the momentum going! This process can be done as many times as you need, even if it's on a smaller scale. Truth be told, I have to brain dump at least once a week!
If none of that made sense and you're a visual person, well lucky you! Below I've attached an example of how I break things down and offer a FREE template just for you! You can print it or fill in the blanks right on the computer.
This template is essentially a guide for the *last* step in the process. I chose 3 actions per category. Then, I chose 3 total to work on for the month! From those, I created a practical action that would move me toward success.
Whether you're reading this as it's published in late February or you find yourself nearing the end of the calendar year, I hope these small steps bless you. In fact, I hope you take these ideas and make them completely your own. If you do, or your already have your own process, make sure to share it in the comments! When we learn from each other, we grow with one another.