Getting Life Handled: Part Two, Goal-setting in Action


Everyone has heard of the really annoying cliche of taking baby steps. Though this is great advice in the overall picture of tackling major tasks, it’s also overused and has an underlining word of caution.

“Be careful! Baby steps!”

But we are not babies. We are grown ass creatives who don’t want to take baby steps. We want to take confident stiletto driven strides. We want to see the end result and we want to figure out the route to get there, what milestones we need to tackle, and what trolls we may find along the way.

We don’t want careful, we want productive.

Two months ago we talked about the importance of getting organized and creating space for our own creativity. Last month we looked at the big picture in how to get our dreams and goals on paper and start looking at the end result.

Now this month we are going to break those goals down into bit sized pieces using the Hey Toad Project. Or rather…into powerful strides. And here’s how to do it:

Step Four: Projects List

Grab your Goal List (Step Three) and your Good Habits (Step Two). Now grab four separate sheets of paper (either digitally or actual paper). On the first sheet, write High Priority at the top. On the second, write Medium Priority. On the third, write Low Priority. On the fourth, write Someday/Maybe. Now, looking at your Goal List and Good Habits, divide each goal and some habits into these four sheets. For example, your career will most likely be a High Priority for you. Mine certainly is. So I put “Write Fiction Book” and “Getting Published” on the High Priority Sheet. However, taking a Cooking Class is something I want to accomplish one day in life, but it isn’t a priority. So I put that under Someday/Maybe. Divide up all of your goals and some of your habits into these sheets (if you are using physical paper, make sure to leave room between each goal).

Once they are all divided, grab your High Priority sheet. Focus on the goal at the very top. Now think of the steps you would need to take in order to get this done. Let’s take “Launch Website” as an example. Here are the things I would put underneath:

—Schedule photo shoot for images

—Decide and buy domain name

—Decide on hosting

—Pick website theme

—Set up email

—Create social media schedule

—Create blog schedule

—Finish and upload reel

These are just some of the many steps you can take. Now do this for each of the goals on all of your lists, but especially the High Priority. If you have a huge project, I would even create another sheet all together and brainstorm every little step you would have to take on each line. For example, what if your Highest Priority is “Make My Movie”? Think of all the tiny details you would have to do from casting, to finishing script, to having a script reading, to costumes, to posters, to buy bald cap, to buy tub of licorice for craft services, etc. Remember, the more steps you can break down for yourself, the more it will actually get done. Yes, you may be overwhelmed with all the tasks you have to take for one project. However, when you look at your list you can see how easy it is to accomplish a few tasks a day and as you cross each item as done you are that much closer to achieving your goal. Click here to find a more detailed example.

Step Five: 90 Day Plan

Now, take your High Priority Projects List and your Good Habits list. We want to pinpoint the most pressing projects and important habits that we want to tackle in the next 90 days.

So ask yourself this question: What are the 5 most important outcomes I want to achieve at the end of these three months?

I would pick one or two habits and have the rest be projects. Here’s an example:

1) Finish Screenplay

2) Launch Website

3) Have a habit of meditating every day

4) Do a headstand in the middle of the room

5) Create Social Media Schedule

Each project you bring over into the 90 Plan should already be broken down on your Projects List. A simple copy and paste is totally fine for this. The point of this is bring your focus to a handful of projects and habits. Five is usually a good number and easy to get accomplished. That being said, this is your list. You can have three outcomes to work on or even one major one. The important part here is to separate these out from the master Projects List, because this 90 Plan is what you will be living for the next three months. (Click here for examples).

Step Six: 30 Day Plan

This you can do in one sitting or once every month. Have your 90 Day Plan in front of you and look at the Projects listed there first. You will have an assortment of tasks written underneath each project and some will have do be done before others. Divide the individual tasks into three separate months until all tasks under one Project have been assigned a month. Then move onto the next Project in your 90 Day Plan outcomes. You can then start looking at the month ahead to schedule things and create your to do lists for the week or the day. (We will cover to do lists next month).

For your Habits, know that it takes 21 consecutive days to ingrain a habit. We are going the extra mile and doing it for 30. Pick one habit a month and then move onto the next for the following month. (Click here for examples).

Nicole Larson

About Nicole Larson

I’m sitting here, writing my YA Novel, waiting for the hubs (to bring me another glass of wine already), when the cat reveals he wants to have his own talk show. This sadly, does not surprise me, so I go back to blogging about taking my creative career seriously. Speaking of blogs…I’m the Founder (and midnight cocktail waitress) of Real Creatives Drink Champagne where I say (cork) screw it to the stereotypes facing all creatives and toast you on living the creative life confidently (including my free 7 day brand building email tutorial called ICEBERG). It’s my own digital (spiked) lemonade stand and if you come over I’ll give you a brownie (because brownies).