Happy New Year!

Wow, here we are: 2017. Can you believe it? Another year. Another twelve months filled with countless opportunities. What will you pursue in 2017? What will you bring into fruition? What dreams will you realize?

The start of a new year is always refreshing because it allows people to reflect on the year behind them and then think about the ways they’d like to grow, change, and evolve moving forward. Some people make resolutions. Some people develop elaborate schedules to keep them on track. Some people hire their friends as accountability partners.

If you want to make sure your goals for 2017 stick, though, you definitely want to have a fail-proof plan in hand that you can refer to again and again. That’s what our most recent series on the blog has been all about, and in this final installment, we’re going to review all the questions we’ve discussed so far as well as highlight the fifth question you should consider when creating your roadmap from where you currently are to where you want to be.

 

So let’s look back on the ground we’ve covered so far!

In the part 1 of our series, we raised this question: What does your dream life look like? The importance of knowing the answer shouldn’t be underestimated. Apart from equipping you with incredible focus, having a clear idea of what you want to achieve will motivate you like nothing else. Essentially, you need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. What are you working toward, and why is the work you put in now worth it?

In part 2 of our series, we asked, What type of person do you need to become to achieve your dreams? The road toward making your dreams a reality very often requires you to step outside your comfort zone and live outside of your bubble—at least for a few hours a day! Thinking about the type of person you need to become will help you step up your game and work on areas in your life that may need improvement.

In part 3 of our series, we posed the question: What/who do you need to let go of to reach a higher level in your life? Tying in with the insights above from part 2, this question is all about being honest with what’s holding you back from getting to the next level in your life. Too often, people never realize their dreams simply because they’re still holding on to things that are no longer serving a purpose in their lives.

In part 4 of our series, we asked you to consider this: What kind of resources do you need to move forward with your dreams? Once you’ve got your self-awareness in place and you’re ready to move forward, you may find that there are certain resources you need in order to get to your next level. Without understanding this, you may remain on square one for a long time.

 

And now finally, in this last part of our series, we ask: What next steps do you need to take to get started?

Sometimes, this ends up being the one question that trips up people like nothing else. We don’t mind so much daydreaming about the end-result we want. That part can be easy! Thinking about how we need to grow and what we need to let go of and what tools will aid us in our development can sometimes be pretty easy, too.

But then coming up with an actual plan? This is where the rubber hits the road, and unfortunately, it’s where a lot of people tend to fall flat on their face. Why? Because they try to do everything at once when it comes to planning and only end up getting ‘analysis paralysis’ from all the overwhelm.

So how do the pros get it done?

They break their plan up into tiny, bite-sized pieces.

This serves two purposes.

1) By breaking down a monumental task into a bunch of much smaller tasks, you’re suddenly able to perceive it as a task that’s manageable and doable. It’s no longer a Goliath staring you in the face. Now you can knock it out one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ve conquered it.

2) Research has indicated that by breaking big goals into little pieces, you create a series of little finish lines, and every time you pass a finish line, your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your dreams and goals, and gives you a surge of pleasure when you experience achievement, so essentially you’re ‘hacking’ your brain into giving you the motivational ‘high’ you need to keep moving forward.

 

So think of all the things you need to do to get from where you are to where you want to go. List them out on a piece of paper. And then take each step you’ve written down and break it into a bunch of smaller pieces.

Then, when you’re ready, move forward and start going through them. You may find that you’re flying through the process, and that’s a good thing! Remember to celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, and give yourself a pat on the back, because with every accomplishment, you’re one step closer to making your dreams a reality!