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How to Break It Down: Why We Love Mini Goals

We often say around here that we "do goals differently," and that can mean a lot of things–that we don't believe in anxiety-fueled goals, that we DO believe in attaching a strong WHY to each goal, or that we believe little by little progress is just as powerful as a big leap of faith. One of my favorite ways we do goals differently, though, is the way we actually go about tackling them–and THAT has a lot to do with mini goals.

The Cultivate What Matters proven process includes three steps:

1. First, uncover what matters to you: your passion, path, purpose, priorities, and big-picture vision
2. Then, make a plan: identify your big picture goals and clear starting steps
3. Finally, take action: think big picture and take small steps, experiencing change along the way

I am SO excited to say the 2019 PowerSheets, debuting this October, are going to reflect this process more clearly than ever before. As we reimagined the newest version, we wanted to reflect the way we see much of our community (that's you!) and our team setting goals. Instead of setting very concrete goals for the year, you are identifying "buckets" of areas that matter deeply to you and where you want to experience change. For example:

  • Love long-distance family members and friends well
  • Cultivate a life-giving home
  • Enjoy our family of three (before it becomes a family of four) (One of my 2018 goals!)
  • Love the things above, not the things of this world (Lara!)
  • Phone down, eyes up (Jess!)
  • Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit in motherhood
  • Intentionally take care of myself through activities I love (Kristin!)
  • Use my creative gifts well (Kaylee!)
  • Build a strong financial foundation (Jess!)

Personally, I LOVE goals in this format–they immediately fire me up, because I can so clearly see how they have the potential to transform someone's life, not just serve as another thing to check off a to-do list!

But, as we all know, to see a change in these areas, at some point we DO need to make them more concrete (which makes them more actionable). Breaking each big "bucket goal" down into mini goals helps us take the next step, and when we string many steps together over the course of a year, THAT is when we will see real change!

Our PowerSheets walk you through all the necessary steps to do this, including getting specific and visualizing what progress on your bucket goal might look like and identifying what success at the end of the year might look like. Once you have the why and the finish line, it's easier to fill in the middle!

Speaking of the middle, that's where your Tending List comes in. Every month, it gives you the opportunity to refocus on your big picture yearly goals, identify the next ways you can move forward for each, and then add those mini goals to your daily, weekly, and monthly slots. Let's look at one of my goals for the year as an example!

Break_It_Down

Big picture yearly goal: Grow our family story through creating and maintaining a beautiful, simple visual narrative

Monthly goals I have completed so far this year:

  • Gather all of the loose printed photos in our home. Cull them to keep only favorites.
  • Sort loose printed photos into a box with sections (childhood, school, newlyweds, family life)
  • Choose a back-up solution for phone photos (we went with Amazon Prime)
  • Order new external hard drive for back-up
  • Create folder system on hard drive
  • Collect all random digital photos and sort them into folder system
  • Choose new favorite photos for display at home, print them, and frame them

This particular big picture goal hasn't had too many weekly goals, but I have had great success with daily goals here. As I work through organizing my backlog of phone photos especially, I'm editing, sorting, and transferring just one month per day of phone photos to our hard drive (i.e. January 2018, February 2018). It's not overwhelming, and I can clearly see myself making progress toward my big picture goal with each step!

If you are feeling stuck on a goal that you KNOW matters to you, this is the best way I know to start making progress. Break the big picture goal down into smaller and smaller chunks until it's almost impossible to NOT progress. That momentum builds, and soon enough, you'll be on your way.

Show Comments (3)
  1. Janneke
    Janneke
    reply

    Thank you for your inspiring post! This is one of my goals and you put it into words and pictures for me. Thank you. I have been struggling as a first time Powersheets user to identify my big goals and break them down into smaller goals. I think I turned the book into a checklist and I haven’t been able to use it effectively. I think only 2 out of the past 6 months have been fruitful. I look forward to seeing more previews of the next Powersheets book for 2019

  2. Sarah
    Sarah
    reply

    This is an awesome breakdown for a new creative entrepreneur like myself! Just mini-goaled some big ideas that felt really overwhelming.

  3. Mary
    Mary
    reply

    Thank you Emily! This was really helpful. I've been having a slightly hard time knowing how to really get progress going on a few goals. I feel like Janneke (above) who said she's turned her powersheets into a checklist instead of using it effectively. I like the idea of little mini goals. Last week I had a specific goal in my daily planner that went with my powersheets daily list. For instance, one of my powersheets daily goals is to "Love my husband well" so I had a specific thing for each day written in my planner, here are some of them: 1. Send Nathan an encouraging email 2. Text him at work with a fun/sweet/special memory 3. Stay under budget while going shopping (this coincides with another big goal this year) 4. Take the kids to eat lunch with him at work, etc. Anyways, doing this helped me SEE different ways to "Love my husband well" instead of just writing that down in my powersheets and then, well, "hoping" it would happen. HA! Anyways, I got that idea from one of Lara's live sessions she had done. I love how she just helps us MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! :)

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