How to Break Down Goals into Actionable Tasks

steps toward goal

We’ve all heard about the importance of setting goals in business. Goals are what tell you what direction you’re trying to go. Setting goals helps you continue to move the needle forward in the right direction. But it’s not as simple as just setting a goal. You need to follow up with breaking goals down into actionable tasks. This is what will ultimately lead to success.

While setting and breaking down goals seems like it should be simple, it can become an obstacle when not done correctly. Here are some tips that can help you set and reach your goals.

1. Make sure you set SMART long-term goals

We’re not going to waste time covering the ins and outs of setting SMART goals because you can find the information everywhere. So, here’s your overview:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

When you follow these rules as you set goals, you help set yourself up for success from the start.

2. Understand and connect with your goal

This is one place you can easily get derailed in reaching your goals. Your goals need to have meaning, If you are setting them simply because you think you should but there isn’t a real driving force behind them, you likely won’t follow through on it. Why? Because they don’t matter to you.

It doesn’t matter how SMART your goal is if it doesn’t matter to you and your business. So, this step works along with the first step of creating SMART goals. Make sure you understand why that goal is important and that you connect with the reason and desire to achieve the goal.

3. Split your goal into mini-goals

Now that you have your goal set, it’s SMART, and you care about it, it’s time to start the process of breaking it down. Big goals quickly become overwhelming. This is why it’s crucial to turn your big goal into smaller goals and then into actionable steps.

Look at your goal and ask yourself, “What needs to happen in order for me to reach this goal?”

Write down those answers.

Here’s a silly example since we’re getting close to Thanksgiving.

Goal: Cook the entire Thanksgiving meal and have it ready to eat at 4:00 pm

What needs to happen in order for me to achieve this goal?

  • I need to know what dishes I’m preparing and how many people I’m preparing it for
  • I need to find the right recipes for the dishes
  • Groceries need to be purchased to assure I have the right ingredient
  • A schedule needs to be created so I know what I should be working on when

If Thanksgiving day rolls around and I haven’t taken time to make progress in any of these areas, I’m going to be in trouble and dinner is going to be on the table late. And, I’ll probably be missing some of our favorite dishes.

Take time to look at your goal and split it up into smaller goals that you can accomplish along the path to meeting your big goal.

4. Create a list of tasks

Now that you have smaller goals that aren’t as overwhelming, it’s time to turn them into task lists. Going back to my Thanksgiving dinner example, if I’m going to find the right recipes my tasks might include:

  • Send family group a text message to ask what dishes everyone is counting on for Thanksgiving
  • Create a list of each dish I will be preparing
  • Look in my cookbook for the recipes
  • Look online for recipes
  • Call my Grandma to get her dressing recipe
  • Paperclip the recipes together in my recipe box
  • Make a list of all the ingredients I need to purchase

This is obviously a very simple example, but the concept works for any type of goal you want to accomplish. The goal is to continue breaking every goal down until you have it in individual tasks you can cross off your list. This helps you see each step you’re taking and how much closer you’re getting to reaching your goals.

5. Review on a regular basis

Your goals and task lists should be something you review on a regular basis. Setting goals at the start of the year, quarter, or even month and not looking at them throughout each week is not going to help you accomplish them.

You need to review them on a daily and weekly basis so you can see the progress you are, or aren’t, making on achieving them.

If you see that you’re not moving forward, you can take time to analyze why no progress is being made? It may be that you didn’t break your goal down into small enough tasks. Or it might be that something outside of your control has happened. This allows you to review the situation and adjust and pivot as needed.

Do you need help achieving your goals?

The SPEAR team of business and leadership coaches are here to help. The SPEAR app is designed to help teams, of any size, set and achieve their goals. The process of breaking down goals and pivoting as needed are built right into the technology making it easier than ever for you and your team to hit your goals over and over again.

Schedule a demo and speak to a business coach today.