Recently I had my second to last oncology treatment (YAY). It was a surreal moment sitting in the room. I had a flashback to a year before when my doctor was laying out my treatment plan. I remember the growing feeling of overwhelm as he spoke. It seemed like such a big mountain to climb, with so many unknowns. Looking back, it was a good thing I didn’t know all that was ahead of me.
Thankfully, my doctors took an approach that helped me manage that feeling of dread: they shared the working treatment plan with me, but said our process would be to focus on one phase at a time. We were just going to deal with the current treatment and manage challenges as they came up. Whenever I tried to look further down the road, they gave me brief information with the but reminded me that we had to “get through this phase and see what happens.”
At first, the control freak and planner in me was not happy, yet looking back it was absolutely the right way to tackle the huge multi-phase obstacle that my treatment plan became.
I had to trust them and the process.
I realize it’s the same “procrastination-proof” approach I have with my clients when they are working on their goals to keep them on track.
Take one step at a time…
Many of us freak out when we think about the big goals we’ve set. They seem like huge obstacles and it’s hard to picture getting to the finish line. This is really true if we’re tackling something we’ve never worked on before.
The unknown makes the goal seem as big as an elephant next to our mouse-sized confidence.
The best thing to do when our goal seems too big
is to just take one bite at a time.
Breaking down your goal into smaller chunks makes it more doable and realistic. You’ll be able to set your schedule up to give you
the time you need for the work. You’ll be able to gather your resources. Working in short phases gives you time to ramp up your skills and energy.
Here is a quick way to break down your goal so you can eat that elephant one bite at a time.
- Create a working plan: Figure out the different phases of your goal. This will be the template for reaching your goal. Assume that things may change in your general plan based on what happens in each stage. If you’re not sure what the phases should look like, researching that type of project and coming up with the plan is your first phase.
- Plan backwards: One of the biggest challenges in creating a goal plan is figuring out how long things should take and what specific steps should happen when. Start with the goal result in mind and ask yourself “what is the last thing that will happen before this step?” Write that thing down and keep asking the question and backing into your goal plan step by step.
- Create a rough timeline: Lay out your goal priorities and key milestones by quarter, month and week. Block out time on your calendar to work on your goal. Each day set your Daily 3 -the three things you must get done that day to stay on track. Give yourself a break and schedule slack time to allow for unexpected interruptions and delays. That way your timeline won’t go to hell in a hand basket when things pop up.
- Rally your resources: For each phase, try to figure out what resources you’ll need. This could be the amount of time you have to block on your calendar. It could be the support team you’ll need to help you out. It could be the amount of money you’ll have to invest to make it happen. Planning your resources makes sure you have them ready when you hit that phase.
- Work one phase at a time: Yes, we just went through all this work to rough out a schedule and identify steps in each phase. You’re still going to put your blinders on for now and focus on one phase at a time. Work the project where you are and take each milestone and task as a win. This gets you into doing mode and keeps you from freaking out about what’s next. As you get near the end of completing this phase, then you can decide if the original plan still makes sense. If it’s good, then you can just roll right into it. If things have shifted, you can make adjustments and then get to work.
After each phase, evaluate:
- what worked
- what didn’t work
- what you accomplished
- what you still have left to do and,
- how it affects the next phase
And before you start grumbling about the process…
Your timeline will move. (It already has if you’ve just been ignoring the goal so get started now.)
Yes, you’ll think you were crazy for setting this goal in the first place. (Insanity is doing the same thing every day and expecting different results. Shoot for the stars, you might land on the moon.)
Yes, it takes time to plan and you’re already busy. (Planning things out up front saves you time from avoidable mistakes, lack of resources and chasing unrealistic deadlines.)
Yes, you’ll feel uncomfortable. (New habits always feel uncomfortable. Remember learning the route to the new job? This new doing habit will feel like an old friend if you stick with it.)
Yes, you’ll sometimes want to quit. (You’ve already quit if you haven’t started working on your goal. Don’t give up. Just evaluate and make small adjustments.)
Yes, you’ll accomplish more than you will from ignoring it. (Done is better than none.)
As my mentor and doctors told me, TRUST THE PROCESS.
Share your wins and let me know how the process works for you.
Need help figuring out how to break your goal down? Book a Discovery Call and jump on my calendar for a quick 1:1.