How to Get Unstuck and Move Forward

Turning Your Goals into Actionable Steps

Last week we talked about the importance of a midyear review and taking time to reflect on the year to date, as well as what you want to accomplish in the remaining half of this year. From that, you should have identified some goals for the next three to six months. But how do you actually take the next step to make it happen?

Do you know how to eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

Maybe you’ve heard that old saying before but it’s easy to forget when you’re trying to accomplish new goals while keeping up with the day-to-day demands of your business and life.

Consider someone brand-new to running, who has set a goal of running a marathon. Whether or not you’re a runner, you know that they’ll need a training plan…and it’s probably going to start with running one mile (or a half)…but certainly not 26.


Whatever your goal may be, you’ve got to take it and turn it into small “bites.” So today, let’s get really practical and look at four steps that will help you get where you want to go in the next three months.

  1. Identify the Goal

You have to know where you’re going, in order to get started, so the first step is to be clear on what your goal is. If you’re a little lost on that, this post about reevaluating for mid-year might help you, and this one about dreaming big might, as well.

  1. Make a List of Everything Required to Succeed

What are all the things you need to do, to achieve your goal? This is where you take that huge elephant and turn it into manageable bites. Yes, your goal should stretch and challenge you. But when you break it into the little action steps that you need to do, it’s quite manageable.

  1. Set Due Dates and Start Work dates

Start with a Due Date: when do you want the action step to be completed? Next, determine how long it will take you to complete that action item and from that, identify your Start Date. Be realistic and give yourself margin (this from someone who is trying to recover from always underestimating the time it will take, but I am working on it).

  1. Hold Yourself Accountable 

How are you going to ensure that you actually stick to the timeline you’ve created for yourself? Can you hold yourself accountable or do you need to share your goal and action steps with someone else who will?


Are you motivated by a carrot or a stick? This idiom was named in reference to a cart driver dangling a carrot in front of a mule and holding a stick behind it. The mule would move towards the carrot because it wants the reward of food and moved away from the stick behind it to avoid the punishment of pain.

It’s been interesting for me to see how some of my clients approach their goals. Those who have nothing to lose but everything to gain (a carrot) are working towards their goals, but they aren’t terribly worried about how long it’s going to take to get there.

On the other hand, those who have a LOT to lose (the stick) are nose-to-the-ground hustling hard to make it happen. And they’re seeing much faster results. It makes me want to encourage my clients in the first batch to put something at risk, so they too have a stick to add some fuel to their fire!

(If you want help finding a stick of your own, check out that helps you set and achieve your goals by providing your very own stick).


Let’s look at two examples. Perhaps you want to set a revenue goal for the next quarter. There’s a few ways to break that down.

Do you have an existing product/service that you simply need to sell more of?

First, identify how many additional sales per month, week, and day you’d need to make to hit that goal.

But also, you must determine what actions you must take to get those additional sales. How are you going to attract strangers into the top of your sales funnel? How many strangers do you need to connect with daily in order to generate your targeted number of sales? (Do note this does not suggest you are trying to meet strangers and convert them to sales in the same day. Use your sales funnel!)

Are you going to create and launch a new product?

How long will it take you to create that product? Be realistic and work backward into the actions you need to take to actually get it out there.

For example, I’m creating a program that works you through the Roadmap in great depth and helps you take action on each component. I want to release it in early September but there’s a lot to do to get there. If I didn’t dive into the detailed action plan, I’d either 1) think the goal was so huge I couldn’t accomplish it and would be unable to make significant progress against it or 2) I’d underestimate the time it would take for me to finish it and would be unable to complete it on time.

Instead, for the next 12 weeks I know what I need to be working on each week to launch on time: lessons to write, slides to prepare, homework assignments to create, videos to record, etc.


Perhaps you’re launching a new business, as many of my clients are right now. If you’ve got a 90-day goal to launch, what are all the things you need to do to get there? (If you don’t have a copy of my Roadmap, download that here, as it will help if this is your scenario.) This is not a complete list, but here are some of the items you’d want to include:

  • Determine messaging for the business, what’s your value proposition or tagline?
  • Set up your website, social media, email list
  • Develop a plan to invite people to your business
  • Create your first product for sale

Identify what your due date must be for a particular item, and how long it will take to complete it. Then you can then work backward to know when you must start work on that item. But you must hold yourself accountable (or have someone else hold you to it) so that you stick to your timeline.

Identifying a plan like this helps you be very focused on your next right step.

Do you really need to be working on your product for sale when you haven’t even built your website? That’s going to depend on what your product is, what’s involved in creating it and how long it will take you to work through all those items.  And maybe you do need to work on two projects simultaneously. But…

As much as possible, make one thing the primary focus.

This allows you to make significant progress forward in that one area, actually complete that item, and then move on to the next thing.

It’s like moving wheelbarrows up a hill. If you’re sitting at the bottom of the hill with six wheelbarrows and you need to get them all to the top…what’s the most efficient way?

You could move wheelbarrow #1 a few feet then run back and grab another wheelbarrow and push it a little ways. Then go back and get another wheelbarrow and push it partway up the hill. By then odds are good that one of the first wheelbarrows is sliding backwards slightly or maybe about to tip over. So you run over there and rescue that wheelbarrow, then jump over to rescue another. Meanwhile you haven’t even touched the last few…and you can’t even get the first ones very far up the hill.

What if instead you pushed the first wheelbarrow to the very top of the hill? What a great feeling of accomplishment! Then you go back down, grab the next one and take it to the top…then go get the next one…etc. You’ll get done a lot faster and with a lot less stress.


Four Steps to Move Forward:

  1. Identify the Goal
  2. Make a List of Everything Required to Succeed
  3. Set Due Dates and Start Work dates
  4. Hold Yourself Accountable

Consider how you can motivate yourself with a STICK rather than a CARROT.

Focus on pushing ONE wheelbarrow at a time up the hill.

I created a free worksheet to help you put these actions into practice. Grab your copy by clicking the box below!


To taking your (one) next right step…