How to set & achieve long-term goals

Do you struggle to set long-term goals for yourself? I certainly do! So I’m really excited to welcome certified life coach Marissa Nash onto the blog today. Marissa specialises in leadership coaching, and founded The Vine Collective to help women make a bigger impact in life through leadership.

Below Marissa shares the manageable 3-step strategy that will help you set long-term goals. So, over to you, Marissa…

Have you ever set a big goal and felt like you had no idea where to start?

You know those massive, scary goals like buying a house, starting graduate school, running a half marathon, launching your business, landing your dream job, etc.

I know I have. Goal setting used to feel daunting, a little confusing, and was something I tried to avoid at all costs. I hated feeling like I might be setting myself up to fail. However, once I became a life coach, I fell in love with the process of setting goals. I learned strategies for goal setting that felt exciting, not scary. I learned to break my goals down into bite-sized steps that set myself and my clients up for success, not failure.

I want to teach you how to do the same thing! In 3 simple steps, you’re going to learn how to accomplish your long-term goals by setting short-term goals first. It’s a tried and true method that will help you to feel less overwhelmed and more focused on the goals that matter to you.

I hope that these 3 steps give you the motivation you need to get started, keep pressing forward, and never look back!

Let’s dive in:

1. Start where you want to finish

That’s right! It might sound backwards, but it works. You have to know where you want to end up before you get started on accomplishing any long-term goal.

DO THIS: Write down your end goal.

Here are a few examples:
I run a half marathon.
I travel to Africa with my husband.
I launch my new website.
I land my dream job as an interior designer.

When you start with the end in mind, you give yourself a destination to land.

You will know you’ve accomplished your goal when it’s complete, and you will have a real way to measure success along the way.

Let’s take this one step further: give yourself a deadline.

Listen, it’s okay if you don’t compete your goal on the exact date that you write down but you have to choose a date so that your mind begins to sense the urgency needed to provide the momentum to get you going and the stamina to prevent you from giving up.

DO THIS: Write a deadline next to your big goal

Example: I run a half marathon by December 2019.

2. Break your long-term goal down into smaller steps

Thinking about completing a big project, task, or goal like the ones mentioned in step #1 can be overwhelming. I know it. Many of us get stuck before we even start, because we’re too afraid to take a single step at all.

Don’t give up too soon! Let’s keep going…

Let’s break it down.

DO THIS: Ask yourself how many weeks (or months) do you have to reach the deadline that you wrote down?

Once you know how many weeks/months you have left, continue to work backwards.
Let’s say your big goal is to launch a new website and you’ve given yourself a deadline of 6 weeks.

DO THIS: Write down all of the tasks that need to be accomplished before your website is complete and ready for launch.

This might include having 5 blogs published, your first email copy written, your domain name purchased, and your business cards ordered.

(TIP – if you really want to be organized, I recommend using Trello to manage your ongoing to-do list.)

After you have all of your tasks written down, begin to divide and conquer.

DO THIS: Choose which week, and maybe even which day, you’ll do each task. Schedule it in!

3. Complete 10% of the work

If you’re still overwhelmed, don’t worry I’ve got you. This one is my favorite!

I learned this trick from the book, Focal Point by Brian Tracy. He talks about overcoming overwhelm by simply completing 10% of the work. It works like a charm.

Here’s an example:
If you need to clean your whole house on Sunday afternoon, focus on 10% of the work first. 10% might be emptying your dishwasher or vacuuming the living room floors. Do it. Start there and watch what happens next. You will keep going. I promise.

Breaking your goals down into 10% chunks takes the distance away from you and your goal. It makes you an active player in the process rather than a bystander looking at your goal from afar. Once you get going, it’s often hard to stop. Most of us like results and are highly results-driven. Try this one!

DO THIS: Write down the 10% that you can accomplish TODAY!

Alright, ladies. That’s a wrap.

How are you feeling?
How are you doing?

One last note of inspiration — there’s a reason your big goals scare the heck out of you – because they MATTER to you. This is a good thing, a brilliant thing actually!

Own where you’re headed. Take a small step. Don’t give up too soon. You can do this.