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Achieving Your Goals
Illustration by Neil Webb

Dividing to conquer


From:

Achieving Your Goals

with Dave Crenshaw

Video: Dividing to conquer

One of the biggest challenges that people face when they set a goal is that it seems overwhelming to them. They look at where they are right now and where they want to be in the future, and the gap seems too large. To help manage your goals, we're borrowing an old concept, usually reserved for politics and war: divide and conquer. What this means is you'll divide the visions that you've created into smaller, bite-sized targets, so that you can conquer or achieve them.

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Achieving Your Goals
25m 25s Appropriate for all Mar 20, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Setting achievable goals is one of the first steps toward a successful career and meaningful personal development. In this business skills course for lynda.com, author Dave Crenshaw shows smart ways to create a vision, develop a quantifiable goal, turn that goal into actions, and share that commitment publicly to establish accountability.

Along the way, discover the importance of celebrating successes and reviewing your progress in order to stay motivated and establish a pattern of successful goal setting.

Topics include:
  • Creating a vision
  • Dividing to conquer
  • Processing into action
  • Establishing accountability
  • Tracking progress
Subjects:
Business Business Skills Career Development Time Management Management
Author:
Dave Crenshaw

Dividing to conquer

One of the biggest challenges that people face when they set a goal is that it seems overwhelming to them. They look at where they are right now and where they want to be in the future, and the gap seems too large. To help manage your goals, we're borrowing an old concept, usually reserved for politics and war: divide and conquer. What this means is you'll divide the visions that you've created into smaller, bite-sized targets, so that you can conquer or achieve them.

You'll find the dividing to conquer worksheet in your exercise files. The process is fairly straightforward. First, copy the vision exactly as you created it in the vision worksheet. Next, you'll want to define how you measure success. Sometimes the things you want to accomplish are very quantifiable. For completing my first marathon, that's very obvious. I either finish it or I don't. Other goals are quantifiable in terms of a number, such as what I want my income to be in the next year.

But, what if something I chose is more abstract, such as wanting to be a more giving person? That's much harder to quantify. In this case, we can convert the abstract goal into something measurable. For instance, I might say that I want to be a 10 on a scale of 0 to 10 in terms of being a giving person, and right now, I am a 4. It's subjective, but still helps me see my progress over time. Once we know where we want to be in a year and how we will measure it, it's time to divide to conquer.

We'll start by dividing our one-year goal in half, and asking, What do I need to have accomplished six months from now? In my marathon example, perhaps I'll finish a half marathon. In the case of being more giving, if I'm a 4, and I want to be a 10, then 6 months from now, I'll want to be halfway there, which would be 7. Now, we're going to divide again to create the three-month target, which is half of the distance to the six-month target.

For the marathon, I might list a distance I'll be running. Or in the example of being a more giving person, 5.5 would be halfway between 4 and 7. Finally, we move to the one-month target, where we divide that three-month target by three. For my marathon, it might be running four times per week for at least two weeks. In the example of being a more giving person, I could say that I'll move it up to a 5. When it comes to dividing to conquer, don't worry too much about getting it divided perfectly.

The idea is simply that you take this very large, very difficult goal and break it down until it's a smaller, more manageable target; it's more short term. Once you've done that, it will be much easier for you to figure out how to take action, which leads us to the next step in achieving your goals.

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