20 Marbles


Over the past 2 years, I’ve had some personal goals: lose 20 lbs, train for a relay race, improve my skiing/snowboarding, and launch a new blog. In the process of pursuing these goals, I have taken the Empire Building Kit Program, participated in the Body Project course, and I have gone for it on my own. I also regularly read Nerd Fitness and Chris Brogan’s newsletter, and I talk to a LOT of people who are pursuing their own dreams and goals (including Jenn who is working full time and going back to school!)

So…what are some of the goals I have accomplished this past year?

  • Lose 20 lbs. Check.
  • Do great in a relay race. Almost check. (this weekend!)
  • Launch my new blog. (Planning to launch by the World Domination Summit).
  • Improve skiing/snowboarding. Nope, still quite mediocre.

Interestingly, the goals I have successfully accomplished involved me breaking down the big goal in to very small tasks, and celebrating my small accomplishments along the way . This is also a recurring theme in many of the books I have read, as well as the blogs I follow and the classes I take. However, in most of these, the “steps” are not explicitly outlined, nor are they easily visualized.

Because I’m a marketer, I wanted a visual representation of success (as we all know…visual representations “stick” in our brains, they are more tangible, and they are more fun). Thus, the 20 marbles approach.

If you can break your goals (or even sub-goals of your really big “Dream Big” goal) in to small achievable chunks, you can accomplish anything. In this case, break it in to 20 steps, write them down and as you achieve them…visually move your 20 marbles (now this is 20 real marbles, not Jenna Marbles, though that might be more fun…hmmm…might need to reach out to her as test case of the approach. Oh my, I digress to marketing again…)

So, for example, here are the 20 steps I used to lose weight
1. Investigate programs that feel “right”
2. Sign up or register for course/program. Plan on spending $
3. Clean out house of junk food
4. Visualize goal…put it in writing, make a vision board if I feel like it
5. Buy groceries as needed
6. Modify my exercise program, if needed
7. Lose first 5 pounds and celebrate
8. Share my goal with close friends (easier to share if I’ve had some success, but also know it’s best for commitment to have accountability)
9. Prepare for grumpiness. (own it, deal with it, move on—not sure timeframe for this)
10. Identify what’s working and what is not
11. Identify any lifestyle changes needed to reach goal
12. Make lifestyle changes (In this case, it was finding new places for eating out and skipping the kegerator at work)
13. Lose another 5 pounds, celebrate
14. Next 10 pounds will be harder…get ready (read motivational books/stories, talk to others, self-pep-talk)
15. Lose pound 11
16. Lose pound 12
17. Buy new outfit
18. Lose pounds 13-19
19. Make a plan for “maintenance”
20. Lose last pound. Eat cake and champagne. Exercise tomorrow.

Some steps took longer than others, but in general, I was moving marbles from the “to do” pile to the “accomplishment” pile on a very frequent cadence.

Now here is a goal I haven’t met, but is in process…and here are the 20 steps. I’m feeling really confident it will happen, as the steps are do-able and make sense. The goal? Launch a new blog, and a related community, all about accomplishing goals!

1. Change from current travel blog concept to goal accomplishment focus (Complete!)
2. Investigate similar sites (Complete!)
3. Decide if idea has “legs”, if not, return to #1 (potential business opportunities, something unique to say, run conceptually by a few people I admire conceptually) (Complete!)
4. Decide if I’m still excited by topic, if not, return to #1 (Complete!)
5. Write a few posts, confirm idea has legs and is interesting/fun, if not, return to #1 (Complete!)
6. Do a 3 month editorial calendar. Does this still seem like a good idea? If not, return to #1 (complete!)

7. Buy domain

8. Change hosting plan
9. Install WordPress template. Celebrate…this will deserve a cocktail or two!
10. Decide general organization of blog (sub-topics, sections)
11. Run idea by another 20 people. Do they like it, would they visit it, capture their ideas
12. Investigate keywords, build a rough plan for SEO
13. Build site (this is going to be hard for you, Susan. Stay calm, enlist help, set aside a full day)
14. Write copy for one week (give myself a deadline), populate site with a minimum of 10 articles
15. Promote site to friends and family. Celebrate!
16. Add 10 more stories (won’t need to keep this pace up after this…don’t panic, stay focused)
17 Review Chris’ Empire course emails…make long-term plan for growth.
18. Start basic social media efforts. Make a plan for next 90 days
19. “Launch” site at World Domination Summit
20. Set up next set of goals for blog

All in all, any type of goal can be accomplished with a 20 marbles approach—getting a new job, saving money, making home improvement updates, training for an event, planning a party or a trip, starting a new business…you name it, the goal can be subdivided in to steps that are accomplish-able and fun.

Grab your marbles! It’s time to live your BIG goals!


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