One of the most effective ways to accomplish our goals and aspirations is to break them down into more manageable individual action steps. Here are a couple of approaches which can help you to create some workable action steps.
Imagine that you have already achieved your goal and work backwards. Close your eyes and visualize all the details. What would it look like? How would you be feeling? Who would be around you? Be as specific and clear as possible.
Then look backwards; what did you do to get where you are now? And before that what did you do? Tracing your steps backwards to the beginning may help you to clearly see a path and even show you how you worked past your stumbling blocks.
Mind mapping is another effective strategy for chunking your goals and dreams down into a manageable action plan. Mind mapping is simply a visual detailed to-do list for guiding you in achieving your goal. You start by placing your desired goal or dream into a centre circle. Extending from the main centre circle, you create a number of outside smaller circles. Smaller goals or sub goals that you need to do to accomplish your main goal are placed within each of these circles. Finally you draw several lines outside each of the smaller circles. On each of these lines you identify specific detailed tasks and actions you need to complete in order to achieve your sub goals.
From this visual exercise you can create a master to-do list. You can create a plan and convert each item from the list into daily action tasks and set a completion date for each one. Setting time deadlines is another important component for making goals and dreams a reality.
Having a workable plan and small action steps can be beneficial for dealing with the negative self-talk which can arise and derail your aspirations. When a negative thought arises like, “I just can’t do this.”, when you have a plan you can counteract it with the positive, “If I break this down into small enough steps, I can do it.” By taking one step at a time you will move forward, from that dreamer to a doer.
Our self-talk is critical in our success in achieving our dreams and goals. We talk to ourselves through words, pictures, and emotions at three to four hundred words minute. You need to make a conscious effort to use positive words when you talk to yourself and to others about yourself. Check to ensure what you visualize also reflects your goals and dreams. Studies have revealed that visualization is powerful. In practising a skill, athletes and piano players alike have shown that through imagining practising a skill their ability to play improved.
Checking your self-talk when you have setback is also important. Stumbling blocks and setbacks are part of life. Learning how to move forward when we encounter setbacks is a learning opportunity and a chance for growth. Support yourself in this growth by noting what you say and how you judge your actions. Replace any negative statement such as, “Why do I even try?” or “There I go again. I’ll never get it right.” with more positive supportive statements like, “I’ll take a different approach next time.” or “I’ll get up and do it again but this time I will prepare more effectively.”
Finally a great tip to help you prioritize and complete all of your action items is revealed in Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating.” He suggests when setting goals to identify the top five things you must accomplish on any given day. Then from these top five pick the one item you must absolutely get done first. By eating your biggest frog or your most challenging task first, you will be motivated to get more done making the rest of your day easier.
The same momentum can be created by breaking your goals and aspirations into manageable steps and taking action on them each day. The spark created from taking daily action and supporting this with positive self-talk and images can motivate you and move you from a dreamer to a doer.
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