A couple mistakes people make when setting their goals is having too many and trying to do it in 1 step. One gigantic, unrealistic step. No matter how long or hard you train, you will never make it to the top of the mountain with one big leap. It can be overwhelming and demotivating to approach it in this way which results in doing nothing at all. Or you start out working on your goals and set an unnecessary standard of perfection which also results in paralysis. In 1 year you are no closer to reaching your goal and are more frustrated than before you even started. Does this sound familiar?
If you don't want this to be the fate of your goals, here is something you can do to keep moving forward. To start, take your goal and break it down into tiny steps. How tiny is tiny? You need to experiment and be realistic with your time. Is it realistic to spend 1 hour every day on your goal to start off? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Figure out the realistic amount of time you can consistently dedicate each day. This consistency is critical to building the habit.
I have started some goals with action steps at 5 minutes each day. Other goals, I did with 15 min. Remember this is the starting point. If you are struggling with getting started, make it 2 minutes. You want to overcome the barrier to getting started and if you know that you only have to do the work for 2 minutes, it lowers the activation energy to start. You may even find that once you just get started and the 2 minutes are up, you want to keep going and make more progress than you realize. You can increase the time by 1% every day until you get to what you feel is ideal to make good impact.
Once you have identified your action steps, spend some time the night before to write them down on a note card or sticky note. You can use a digital calendar, but the physical act of writing it on the note card and carrying it around in your pocket serves as a great reminder. I like to focus on 3 action steps for the day. After I write them down, I schedule them in my day. The earlier in the day that I can schedule the actions, the better. That gives me flexibility to move them in case something unexpected occurs that needs to be taken care of. Keeping this commitment to yourself is really important.
The final step is one your brain will love. Check the action off your list! This releases dopamine which creates a feeling of enjoyment, motivation and a desire to learn. It makes us want to do it again. It is reinforcement for the action we just completed. When it is an action that I am particularly proud of, I post it on my "Wall of Wins" which is a great visual reminder of what I can accomplish with focus, discipline and consistency.
Imagine 1 year from now being over 1000 steps closer to your goal which is where these 3 daily action steps will take you. It is simple. Note card, pen, follow-through.