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I love starting new puzzles. There’s something so motivating about staring at the finished picture on the box, the end result, and then dumping all the pieces onto the table and getting to work.

What I love about puzzles is that everyone has their own strategy and plan for working them, but no matter what that is, the end result is the same for every person who works that same puzzle.

When I begin, I start with the edge pieces. I connect the entire border and then work inward. Sometimes I focus on a specific area when I see several pieces that work together to complete it. Oftentimes when I’m searching for a specific piece I come across another one that I know goes in a different spot, so I put it there. And sometimes I think a piece fits somewhere and it totally doesn’t!

The process of puzzling is at the same time totally focused on the end goal, and also random, disorderly and hit-or-miss.

Goal setting is like a puzzle. First you set your goal, your end result. Then you get organized (perhaps with the periphery) and slowly the rest starts to take shape. With some combination of structured methodology and trial-and error, you arrive at the big picture. It takes time. It requires discipline and commitment to the small pieces along the way. And most importantly it takes a willingness to adapt and try something new when something else doesn’t work.

I attended a Rachel Hollis Rise conference a few years back, and she teaches “10 Goals For 10 Years.” These are BIG, scary, audacious goals that make your hands sweat, your heart race and your mouth dry.

I write my 10 year goals every day in my journal along with my yearly goals. I break down my 10 year goals to the ONE that will help me achieve the rest of them faster.

The more I write my BIG goals out, the more I begin to believe them. To me, this is the biggest missing piece for most people. When you set a goal, you need to write it down daily. That goal then needs to be broken down into bite-sized monthly and then daily goals.

You have to walk towards your goals and pay attention to where you are being led along the way. None of the paths towards any goal I’ve ever set have gone exactly the way I thought they’d go. But real growth and progress comes from using the hiccups, the do-overs, and the “gut check” moments as tools to adapt and press-on.

Goal setting is a non-negotiable in my life and it’s one of the small daily disciplines I’ve adopted that has yielded amazing growth and results. It’s been remarkable watching some of my “huge” goals start to fall into place slowly and steadily until they actually start to feel doable!

Here’s my challenge: if you’ve practiced goal setting in the past but haven’t grown towards your goals, they’ve become overwhelming, or you feel like you’ve failed. Start over. Read a new book on modern goal setting strategies or attend a conference. Give yourself a fresh lense to view your next 10 years through, then get after it!