“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
– General Creighton Abrams
In earlier blogs, we explored why goals work, what well-rounded goals address, and started building some basic ideas on what success will look like when the new year comes to a close. We’ve also outlined your specific goals…now it’s time to dig in and define what clearly needs to get accomplished.
For hundreds of years, business leaders have focused on the value of breaking down an annual goal into simple, clear, Quarterly Objectives, which is what we’ll do here.
If this is your first time doing this sort of thing, you may start to feel a bit overwhelmed. Don’t freak out — this can be a fun process! Review your visualization of what success looks like and your goals then let’s break them down into steps. I suggest people think about this like a project flow chart or building plan: Simply identify the steps you’ll need to take to actually achieve this goal. In some cases, your first Quarterly Objective may be to just complete this exercise. Outline and document the steps it will take to achieve this goal and break this down into bite-sized chunks.
Think of it this way: If your goal is to properly build a house, you don’t start with the plumbing. Instead, you’d begin by creating plans, determining the permitting process, and assessing how much it’s going to cost. Each of these steps is critical, yet none have to do with actually swinging a hammer. Once you have your plan outlined, you can start grading, digging, pouring a foundation, framing…you get the drift. Sometimes that first step can be the hardest, but investing the time to map out a plan is well worth the time invested it.
As you go through this process more and more over time, you’ll begin to find yourself diving into establishing the exact Quarterly Objectives you need. Creating great Quarterly Objectives stems from practice and experience – be patient with yourself.
One you’ve outlined your goal plans, it’s time to have a candid, honest discussion with yourself and your spouse about how much of that plan can be completed within this quarter. It’s not at all uncommon for one spouse to say, “Let’s do the entire plan. We can do all of these exercises and it will great!” This is usually the same spouse who goes to an all-you-can-eat buffet, filling their plate with way more food than they could ever eat. On the flipside, there’s often a spouse might say, “Let’s slow down here and take slower, intentional steps. Realistically, I don’t think we can get all that done.” This type of individual may be an overly cautious driver who rarely speeds on the highway, for example.
In this situation, both spouses can be right and both can be wrong. Have an in-depth discussion about this, LISTEN to the other’s opinion, and genuinely try to take it all in. It’s during these debates when the rubber hits the road and these things begin feeling real.
Now that you’ve established the plans and you’ve had a good, healthy debate on what’s achievable, it’s time to document them.
First, set a completion date for your plans and own this commitment! Clearly write out your objectives and make them as achievable as possible. Keep it simple; if you need to be detailed to start, that’s okay. There’s a method to the madness.
Just as you had a handful of goals, we recommend only having a handful of Quarterly Objectives, which are either yours or your partners – there’s no sharing of a Quarterly Objective. In the past, we tried sharing them and we found that we were less likely to achieve them because there wasn’t one person solely accountable for the objectives. So, split them up between the two of you.
If you have an objective that’s going to take energy from each of you – great! One person still needs to own it while the other helps to ensure it’s achieved. The owner is the one who pushes to make sure it is achieved.
Here are some examples of what Reka and I did this year:
- Schedule eight 10K trail runs, one 50K ultra trail run, row four to five times a week, and run on the treadmill once a week
- Finalize and document our adventure, family, and social calendar
- Research couples retreats, outline a possible couples retreat agenda, and document our next steps
- Follow a fasting program for four or more days, exercise four or more days per week and track my weight, and complete Gratitudes and exercises on SD app on a daily basis.
- Work with Reka to research, finalize, and document our adventure, family, and social calendar
- Talk with three or more candidates/connectors, outline and create timeframe for pro-circles, and document our next steps
“I Will” Statements
I learned this technique from a friend and we’ve adopted it. We like to take our Quarterly Objectives and add two things to them. At the beginning, we add “I will” and at the end, we add “by…” (which is the date we’ve designated). This converts them into positive affirmations; as a result, every time we read them, we’re reaffirming with our subconscious that we will do them and get them done. Perceived social pressure between couples may exist because each person doesn’t want to let the other down.
I realize the whole self-affirmation thing can end up feeling a bit touchy-feely, but we believe it helps. So…call me touchy-feely, send me a cardigan sweater – I will wear it.
In the next blog, we’ll talk about our One and Dones in our journey to filling out the Your Best Life plan. Do you need help breaking down your Quarterly objectives? We’re always here to help, no expectation or obligation. Reach out anytime.