Is This Type of Thinking Killing Your Goals?

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Several months back I interviewed a blogger named Jenny Blake who runs a successful blog called Life After College, and has actually just signed her first book deal. As I was going back through my chat with her about the process of writing a book, she said one thing that really stood out to me. She said that far too many people are victims of all or nothing thinking when it comes to the seemingly daunting task of writing a book.  Most people don’t even start because they think that it has to be all or nothing: write the entire book or don’t write it all. When you think about goals in general that’s not at all how they are accomplished.

Let’s take a look at how we can overcome all or nothing thinking and actually accomplish our goals.

Bite Size Pieces

One of the first things you should do with a goal is break it up into bite sized pieces. According to health experts that’s how we need to eat for a healthy digestive system. So, wouldn’t it make sense to do that in the way we accomplish our goals. When we break goals up into bite sized pieces a few things happen. First, you have measurable and visible progress. It’s also much easier to take baby steps and approach it in bite sized pieces. Let’s take a look at two examples of goals that can be accomplished in bite sized pieces:

Writing a Book: Writing a book is actually not that hard. If you’ve run a blog for over a year and have posted 3 times a week, then you have already done enough writing to write a book. Let’s say you committed to writing one page for a year and you did it every single day. At the end of the year you would have a 365 page book. You could then edit, write your book proposal, and contact a literary agent. Essentially you’d be on your way to becoming a published author. If it doesn’t work out, who cares? You’ve got a masterpiece that could fuel your blog content for a year or two.

Losing Weight: Let’s say that you have a goal of losing 25lbs. That’s not an easy feat even if you are a fitness junkie. In fact if you focus on the 25lbs, then you will never feel like you’re making any progress, and you’ll likely say “screw it” to your goal of losing weight. Let’s say you approached this plan, 1lb at a time. Then you will feel like you are making progress every time you check the scale. It’s about perspective and when we approach a goal this way our perspective shifts to a much more optimistic one about the fact that it’s possible.

One Thing Every Day

If you do one thing every single day towards the accomplishment of a goal, it’s close to inevitable that you will in fact accomplish that goal. You may not be able to quit smoking completely today, but you can give up a cigarette just for today and smoke again tomorrow if you feel the need. Just don’t get caught in that trap of all or nothing thinking. You may not be able to shed 25 lbs today, but you can eat healthy for today and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

The End Results

The end results speak for themselves. By going through your goals in this manner, and letting go of the all or nothing thinking that hold so many of us back from reaching our full potential, you have an opportunity to truly accomplish everything you want.

Do you have any examples of how you’ve broken a goal up into bite sized pieces? Please share them in the comments.

Photo by Darwin Bell