Goal Training-Part One

I’ll admit it-I’m a goal-aholic. I love thinking about big, hairy, audacious goals. I love making action plans and to-do lists. I have never had any issues with aspiring to greatness.

Problem is, like most overachievers, I set my sights too high, too soon. I’ll lose 10 pounds this month! I’ll master this entire cookbook of recipes by next week! By the end of this hour, I’ll have reorganized all of my computer files! Guess what? These never happen. They always sound impressive, they always look good on paper, but their ridiculous unreasonable timelines always lead to failure.

Once I taught a new client who was going through a huge and painful transition a coaching tool called the House Metaphor. Her homework for the week was to take one small thing in her house that she did not like and to make it better. At the time, I was a brand new coach. I thought giving her something very small to focus on would really help her. The next session, she told me that she had brought in an interior designer and had redesigned every room in her three-story house. “All I have left to do is to reorganize the bookshelf and I have that set in my schedule this evening after my 12 hour workday!” I remember her telling me.

Although a part of me was impressed at her velocity, I couldn’t help shake the nagging feeling that she was moving way too quickly, way too soon. That redesigning her whole house in one week was actually just part of the overall problem of overachieving. I recognized in my sessions with her what the universe was trying to teach me-that the need to do big and impressive things in an unrealistic amount of time is actually just a form of self-sabotage.


Sound familiar? So what’s an overachieving goal-setter to do?

First of all, I’m not going to try to get you to compromise on any of your goals or your dreams. Make them as big and impressive and inspiring as you’d like. Once you’ve stated your goals, then you’re about to take some other very important, very significant and very crucial steps to your success: breaking them down into smaller projects.

Goal Training-Part One:

This week, your homework is to take one of your goals (perhaps a New Year’s Resolution that’s already going down the toilet) and break this big goal into several small and more manageable goals (or projects as I like to call them).


For example, let’s say you want to reorganize your entire kitchen. That’s a big project. So first, you would break this goal down into several, different , smaller projects. Here’s an example from the kitchen reorganization of yours truly.

BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal): Reorganize and Clean Entire Kitchen

Smaller Projects for BHAG:

-Project Refrigerator: Clean and organize the fridge (and throw out the science experiments).

-Project Pantry: Clean and organize the pantry.

-Project Dinnerware: Organize all dinnerware.

-Project Silverware: Organize all silverware.

-Project Pots and Pans: Organize all pots and pans.

-Project Tupperware: Organize all tupperware.

-Project Glassware: Organize all glassware.

-Sweep and Mop Floor (including behind the oven and fridge).

*Notice how I took my big goal of reorganizing and cleaning my kitchen and created 8 separate projects from this one goal. Now it’s your turn. Once you break down your BHAG into several smaller projects, don’t move into action just yet. There are still three more important steps to this process that I’ll write about soon. For now, just focus on
breaking down a big goal into smaller projects.

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~ by projectlifedesign on January 18, 2010.

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