At the New Year many of us reflect on the previous year and set goals for the next 12 months. Most of the time, these goals are BIG. And that’s part of the problem.

Of the 45% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions, only 8% successfully achieve their goals.  Most goals are so vague and generalized they’re unattainable. 

For example, this is a list of the top 10 goals Americans set at the beginning of 2014:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something Exciting
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family

This 8% success rate (or 92% failure rate) is why one of my mottos for 2015 is, “Think Small.”

I’m not saying that I don’t want to achieve big things. Quite the contrary. But I’ve found that the most effective path to achieving big things is through focusing on the small ones.

You do this by taking the big goal and breaking it down into the small steps required to achieve the big goal.


  1.  Get specific. Don’t say “lose weight” or “earn more money.” Get specific on your goal: “Lose one pound a week,” or “Increase earnings $4,000 a month by finding and working with two new clients monthly.” Specific goals. Specifics make it doable!
  2. Break it down. Once you have the specifics, you can easily break down the goal into small, actionable steps. What do you need to do to achieve your goals? If your goal is to lose one pound a week, what will you need to do to alter your diet and exercise habits to achieve this? If your goal is to find two new clients, what steps do you need to take to make that happen? The trick to this step is to break each part of the process down into the smallest steps possible. This is amazingly effective in helping reducing overwhelm and procrastination – the two main contributors to failed goals.
  3. Map it out. Once you have written out the action steps necessary to achieve your goal, map out the order in which the steps must be completed. Then map out how long it will take you to do each task and how much time you are going to devote to the different tasks each day and each week. This will require some estimation on your part. You may not know how long each task will take. Make your best educated guess and go with that.
  4. Schedule it. Now that you have your list of actionable steps, the order in which the tasks need to be done, block off time on your calendar specifically to work on these tasks. Consider these time blocks nonnegotiable. Treat yourself and your business like you would a high-paying, priority client. Don’t reschedule on you!
  5. Do the things. Take action and do the things that are on your list in the time you allotted.

If you find yourself procrastinating, try breaking your tasks down into smaller pieces. Remember that procrastination isn’t a logical response, it’s an emotional one. And as you break your tasks down into smaller and smaller step, you will be able to transition out of an emotional response of stress and anxiety and operate from a place of focus.

Follow these five steps and get big results. Remember: Think Small in 2016.