The Map to Your Future - Pt 2

In Part 1 we talked about how to decide where you wanted to get to and how to figure out where you are now. Today, I'll explain how to tackle even the most daunting journey, one step at a time.

Tracing a Route

This is where you take what seems like an impossible goal and break it down into little manageable bits that are nowhere near impossible. This process is called "chunking down".

For example, you could put things like. "To smoke 5 less cigarettes per day", followed by, "Run half a mile". Then, "to smoke 7 less cigarettes a day", followed by, "run a mile and a half".

Then, maybe put, "go for a whole morning without a cigarette", "take up a hobby that takes my mind off the cravings", and so on. Move further and further up the page, till you have filled the space in between the bottom and the top, with incremental steps.

Finally you need to put today's date at the bottom and beside each of the steps in between put a new date. So, for example if you think you can get to running a mile and a half in three weeks time, put that date down there and other dates next to all the other steps until, when you get to the top, you will set yourself a date for actually reaching your final goal.

Now you know that you don't have to worry about your great big goal which seems so far away; all you have to worry about is the little goal that is the next step on your map. Suddenly your mind isn't so overwhelmed and you can start to think that maybe this just might be possible.

Staying focused

Now that you have your map, you need to start your journey. For some people, making any kind of change in their lives can be real tough in all sorts of ways, but one of their biggest problems is focus.

How do you stay fixated on your next step? How do you keep going when there are so many reasons not to? Here are the four key things you must do.

  1. Review your plan every day. Get out your roadmap each morning, or more often if you can and look at it, read it again and again till it becomes utterly familiar to you. Make the habit of looking at it as familiar as brushing your teeth.
  2. Each day, break the steps down into smaller, even tinier steps. This is the same chunking technique on a micro level. For example, when you're trying to motivate yourself to go running for half an hour, try this. Say to yourself, "OK, I'm just going to put on my running gear, that's all. I'm not thinking beyond that".

    Then when you're dressed for the road, say, "OK, now I'm in my gear, I'm just going to step outside and run for 5 minutes - just 5 minutes that's all". So you step outside and you start to run. At the end of the five minutes, you're five minutes from the house and you might as well keep going for another five minutes.

    It sounds silly and like you're trying to fool yourself, doesn't it? Well, that's precisely what you're doing even though you know what's happening and it does work. It keeps those little voices quiet. The ones that given half a chance would keep you lying in bed all day.
  3. Keep track. Every time you achieve each step or part of a step, mark it down on your map. Put a big red tick next to it, put a line through that step in big, thick pen and be proud of yourself and savor the moment.

    Next day when you look at your map again, you'll see the big red tick and it will remind you how great you are and that if you can do that step, you can do the next and the next and the next.
  4. Reward yourself. This is important, too. After three or four steps, why not give yourself a little gift? Something you've wanted for a while but have denied yourself. When I was giving up smoking, I'd maybe go to the movies after each week of progress, or buy myself a piece of exercise equipment, to say well done and keep going.

In Part 3, I'll tell you a little about deadlines and what to do when you finally get to your goal

  • About

    headshot: David Beroff in St. ThomasDavid Beroff started writing software at the age of 11, and was teaching Computer Science at Rutgers University by the time he was 18. After designing software for two decades, he started his own Internet marketing firm in '95; one of his company's earliest successes was, a free feedback-form service that was later sold to Wondermill.

    Beroff had bought and sold four million voluntary, opt-in email leads generated with properties like LeadFactory and SuperTAF before the business failed in '07. He is the author of the book, Turn Funny Email into CASH!, and is currently developing a new social media site,

    He has two grown children, and now lives outside of Scranton with his girlfriend and five cats.

  • Contact

    If you have any questions or concerns about our website and/or our advertising, please feel free to email me directly: David (at) Beroff (dot) com.