Just Do What’s Next!

There can be great value in setting a big goal and then breaking it down in the steps of an action plan. As a Life Coach, I work with almost all of my clients on this process.

However, there is a potential trap inherent in this process that many of us fall into. It’s a trap we unwittingly set for ourselves.

The trap is this: once we’ve broken our goal down into the steps we need to take to meet the goal, we immediately start thinking about how to accomplish all of the steps. That is the problem. We start thinking about how to carry out ALL of the steps!

We clearly understand the “hows” and can visualize ourselves easily completing Steps 1 through 4 in our plan. However, we get stuck thinking about how to do Step 5. Step 5 is a big one and we’re not sure how, or even if, we can possible complete that step. So we begin a process of analysis and self-talk around the solution to Step 5. That’s our roadblock and that’s the problem!

Do you see the problem? The problem is not that we can’t figure out how to solve Step 5 in our goal plan.

The problem is that we never actually took Step 1!

Long-range planning is important for achieving your goals, but it’s not nearly as important as simply doing what’s next!

I often find myself trying to do Step 5 before I have done Step 1–at least in my head. Consequently, I have given up on many of my goals before I even took Step 1.

Just do what’s next!

I have discovered that, by simply doing what’s next, I gain the necessary skills, information, and resources needed to solve Step 5 by the time I get to it.

Do not fall into the trap. Simply do what’s next!

— You may hear me speak about this and other similar topics on my Life Is A Marathon podcast

One Response to Just Do What’s Next!

  1. John Bennett December 2, 2015 at 2:04 PM #

    Great post!!! Best line in the post, for me at least: “I have discovered that, by simply doing what’s next, I gain the necessary skills, information, and resources needed to solve Step 5 by the time I get to it.” Yes indeed!!! BUT this happens only if you regularly self-assess and reflect on those skills, information, and resources needed!!! You might very likely discover that an alternative might hold enough promise to redo some of what’s done or change from the ‘obvious’ moving forward.

    I would suggest another effort most likely to occur. I take this statement to mean further learning for Step 5 (or any step for that matter) won’t require further learning, additional skills, one alternate resources not needed until Step 5.

    Fundamentally, thinking about Step 5 before completing earlier steps (except in upfront planning) compromise / delay any efforts being made. It also defeats the intent of breaking a big problem into (more manageable) smaller steps.

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