Break goals down to make them manageable

Every new year many of us make resolutions for the year. You may even be considering some self reliance related resolutions. May I recommend one simple trick for increasing your chances of success?

I find it helps to break goals down. If, for example, my resolution or goal for the year is to add to my food storage I may want to break it down into smaller components, such as:

  • January: Store 50 gallons of drinking water
  • February: Store 200 lbs. of wheat
  • March: Buy wheat grinder
  • April: Store 200 lbs. of oats

…and so on. This is certainly much more detailed–and therefore more achievable–than “Add to my food storage”. But we can–and should–take it farther. For example, just taking January’s goal, we can break it down further into steps:

  1. Research water storage containers
  2. Select container(s) to hold 50 gallons
  3. Designate and clear a storage location
  4. Place and fill containers
  5. Research rotation schedules for water
  6. Implement rotation plan

Now we’ve got a series of steps, most of which could be accomplished in an hour or less. When you find yourself with some time during January you know what you need to do and where to start instead of fumbling around thinking, “Okay, I need to add to my food storage. Should I go buy some flour? Or do I need honey first?” In the latter circumstance you’ll likely talk yourself out of doing anything, but instead you can look at your goal sheet and decide, “I’ve got half an hour. Let’s go research water storage containers online”. Boom! You’re off, and when you’re done you will have accomplished something important.

Of course it could be that you need to break your steps down further. In step 2, for example, you may decide you need to first take a look at potential storage sites in your house to see if you can get by with one large container or if you’ll need a number of smaller containers that can fit into smaller spaces. You may decide you need to do research to see if 50 gallons will be sufficient. Break down each task on your list until you feel comfortable that the step is small enough and clear enough so that you can do it in an hour or less without first fumbling around trying to figure out what you need to do.

If you’re anything like me, ambiguity is the bane of productivity. If I don’t know exactly what to do next toward a given goal I’ll put it off or skip over it to pursue something else that I can accomplish more easily. A little planning up front can make all the difference in reaching your goals. Try it! Today!

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