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- julie


Arlington, VA
United States

Tailored Output is a professional development coaching company with an emphasis on goal-setting, career-planning, and team-building within the context of creating whole and fulfilling lives. 



Individuals working with Tailored Output will uncover their unique genius to identify career opportunities that will contribute to a whole and fulfilled life.

Organizations working with Tailored Output will learn how to assemble multi-disciplinary teams--staffed with engaged and motivated members--to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks in alignment with the corporate mission and values.

 

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Shrinking Your Dreams (to Achieve Them)

Julie Slanker

I’ve done quite a bit of research on goals and achievement in the past few years (it’s kinda my thing), and it turns out: We must be challenged and inspired by our goals to generate the motivation to achieve them. And at the same time, we must believe that we can achieve our objectives if we are ever going to try in the first place. We must be outside our comfort zone and also comfortable and confident. We must want more and be content with what we have. 

Seriously. All at the same time.

No wonder so many of us find it hard to achieve our dreams. We either stay within the realm of our capabilities and lack the inspiration to reach for new heights. Or we dream big but become overwhelmed by the fact that we don’t know how to get from here to there. Either way, it’s the same result: The same old us, doing the same old things.

So then what do we do? Practice contentment? Refuse to reach? Give up on our goals? Decide not to dream? Of course not!

According to the researchers and authors I admire, there is a trick - and it is absolutely a trick! But one you play on yourself. You must dream as big as you dare to dream, and then slice the work required down into the smallest possible steps. Steps so minuscule they can be accomplished easily and without much thought. Steps so ridiculously small you’ll feel like you haven’t done a thing. And yet, you’re still making progress toward your big beautiful dream.

Does it work? So far, so good... An example:

One of my intentions for the year is to transform my lifestyle from suburban-dwelling to adventure-ready. That is a big and nebulous, you-know-it-when-you-see-it kind-of goal. How do you even know where to start with something like that?

So I asked myself, at the end of the year, how will I know I’ve accomplished my goal? And then I made a list:

  • I will have reduced my possessions to the things I absolutely need.
  • I will have paid off my debts.

Hmm. Still too big. Let’s try again:

  • I will have reduced my possessions to the things I absolutely need,
    • By pretending I was moving and donating everything I wouldn’t want to pack and take with me.
  • I will have paid off my debts,
    • By increasing my payments in my debt snowball to accelerate my payoff timeline.

Getting closer, but not quite. One more try?

  • I will have reduced my possessions to the things I absolutely need,
    • By pretending I was moving and donating everything I wouldn’t want to pack and take with me,
      • By systematically moving room by room, each month, and sorting and donating everything I wouldn’t pack if I was going to move.
  • I will have paid off my debts,
    • By increasing my payments in my debt snowball to accelerate my payoff timeline,
      • Because I reduced expenses to free up more money to put into my debt snowball.

Still not there yet. Maybe if I break them down once more, I’ll know exactly where to start?

  • I will have reduced my possessions to the things I absolutely need,
    • By pretending I was moving and donating everything I wouldn’t want to pack and take with me,
      • By systematically moving room by room, each month, and sorting and donating everything I wouldn’t pack if I was going to move,
        • And I started with my bookshelf and donated everything I don’t need for research. 
  • I will have paid off my debts,
    • By increasing my payments in my debt snowball to accelerate my payoff timeline,
      • Because I reduced expenses to free up more money to put into my debt snowball,
        • By trading in my SUV for a smaller car, with lower payments and better gas mileage.
My "new" and more-affordable Carmax Car. It's super fun to drive! Photo Credit: Carmax.

My "new" and more-affordable Carmax Car. It's super fun to drive! Photo Credit: Carmax.

And then there it was, a place to start. I turned the inspiring idea of becoming adventure-ready into two easily-doable action steps. Donate every book that I don’t need for research and trade in my SUV for something more affordable. Those two actions can be broken down further. Sort the books, for example, is a good first step. Use the Carmax website to research nearby vehicles that will meet my requirements is another. 

I slapped deadlines on those actions and I was off to the races! And once they were done, I was actively achieving my challenging and inspiring goal. And that provided even more motivation! So I walked through the process again. What can I do next? Clean out my closet and use all of my tax refund for debt reduction. Check and check! Throw out all the expired medicine from last cold season I have lurking under the sink and recalculate my debt snowball. Boom, boom, wow! I’m practically done already! (Not really, but it feels like it because I am making progress, one step at a time).

And that’s the trick.

So what is your big dream? How will you know that you’ve achieved it? What will you have done? What do you need to do to make that step possible? Can it be broken down any further? Try once more and make that step smaller still. Then execute. You’ve got this! A challenging and inspiring goal, and a completely-doable place to start. All at the same time.


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