Chunk Your Goals

by Jacob Abshire on January 19, 2015

In a not-too-distant past, I was meeting with my business partner producing company goals for the next five years. After we made our short, but daunting, list of goals, he said, “Great, now let’s chunk these goals.”

The first thing that came to my mind might have come to your’s. “What? Is this some kind of weird exercise of commitment? You want me to chunk my goals in the trash?”

My good friend didn’t mean to throw our goals away, but to divide each of them into smaller chunks of goals. (This is actually a real use of the word that I somehow never learned until that moment.) He meant to say to me, “Let’s break these big goals down into smaller goals that are more easily attainable.”

What a brilliant idea.

This is something I put into practice all the time now. After setting SMART goals and supporting them with key motivations, I take each goal one-by-one and chunk it—not in the waste bin, but into smaller pieces. I’m a visual learner, so I typically draw mind-maps. Here is how you can do it.

Choose Your Goal

Take out a new sheet of paper and write your first goal down in the very middle. Then, draw a circle around it. In mind-mapping, you create a kind of wheel with spokes or a cluster of star constellations (depending on your preference). But either way, you start with a goal in the center. Everything will burst from it and to it.

Make Your Chunks

Next, you want to write down smaller goals that you need to do in order to reach the main goal in the center. These smaller goals are called chunks. So, let your mind go. As you think of something, write it down outside the main goal and circle it just like you did at the beginning. Then, draw a line to connect the chunk to the main goal. It helps during this exercise to ask yourself, “What do I need to do in order to reach this goal?” If your goal is to save a certain amount of money, a chunk might be “Open a savings account.”

Make Your Chunks Chunky

For some of our really big goals, even our chunks are still too big. So repeat the prior step again with your chunks. Treat your chunks as individual goals with individual chunks. I call it making your chunks chunky. If you your chunk goal is to open a savings account, you might chunk it with “Research to find the most advantageous bank account type.”

Chillax Your Chunks

If this is your first time, keep in mind this important reality: you won’t think of all the critical chunks right now. So relax. Make some chunks, and move on. More chunks will come as you start attacking existing ones later. This is ideal, it means that you’re giving yourself good steps toward reaching your goal.

The truth is, most of our goals are big and out of our comfort zone. When we stand up against these goals, we usually cower. Most people never even start working toward a goal because the goal size intimidates them. Breaking down big goals to smaller sizes makes it easier for us to go attack them. Next, we’ll start our plan of attack.

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