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As a culture, we are pretty obsessed with where people are heading and what they hope to accomplish in doing so. We are constantly finding ways to measure our progress in work, in our relationships, heck even through the comparison trap of Instagram.

SMART goal-ing our professional lives away can lead to overwhelm when it comes to balancing your personal and professional goals.

No matter the size of the accomplishments on your goal list, you can set about achieving them with more ease.

Start with a solid foundation
In order to begin the process of accomplishing what’s important to you, you need to have a solid foundation to build upon. This includes time to reflect on WHY your goal is important to you, identifying the support you have in your life to help you accomplish it, and how you will feel when you achieve it.

I want you to have total clarity in how it will feel to accomplish your goal so this feeling starts to become a magnet getting you out of bed early to work on it, or grants you full permission to turn down a weekend invitation to spend time making progress on your big vision.

Breakdown the steps to get there
Once you are clear in your destination, and your big juicy reason why this is of the utmost importance to you, you need to break it down.

Think of it like building a house. Your reason why is the foundation you’ll build from. (Which is why we want it to be compelling and strong.)

Now you’ll want to determine the structure to erect the house. Categorize the big steps you’ll need to accomplish to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to write a memoir, your categorization might be a rough content outline, creating a pitch list of publishers, securing an editor, locating a cover designer, etc. You’re basically determining the walls of the house and which wall needs to go up first before you start to laying down your metaphorical bricks.

Do something each day
With your foundation set and your blueprint determined, you’ve got to start showing up each and every day. That’s right, each day spend a small predetermined amount of time laying down one brick.

In our memoir example, this could be as simple as writing for 20 minutes before work each morning. The point is that you do something small each day to continuously build upon the foundation of your goal. Slow, but incredibly steady.

Plan for failure - “If this, then that”

Life happens. There are going to be early morning meetings and sick days. Those times when despite the best of intentions, you aren’t able to show up as fully as you may have intended for your goal. The key is not to beat yourself up in these moments, shame and harsh self criticism can quickly send you down a spiral of goal abandonment. We just want to have a plan for these moments when life gets in the way.

Use the “if this, then that” technique. If I get sick and am unable to write my allotted 20 minutes in the morning for a week, then I’ll earmark two hours over the weekend to write when I’m feeling better. Having a backup plan is a fail safe way to make sure when life sidelines you, you know just how to get yourself back on track.