How to Zoom In and Zoom Out to Make Big Progress On Your Goals

Are you stalled out on your goal?

Do you keep spinning your wheels without gaining momentum?

Or maybe you have an endless list of tasks and you don’t know where to begin.

I’ve been there, too.

And I know how frustrating it feels when – no matter how hard you try – your brain can’t find the next step.

On episode 118 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast, I’m sharing two key strategies that I use regularly to help my clients (and me!) find clarity, create direction, and start moving forward.

Tune in above or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here: 

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.

In This Episode, You Will Discover How To… 

  • Figure out why you’re feeling stuck 
  • Create clarity on a plan to move forward
  • Take action and build momentum toward reaching your goal

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Episode #118: How to Zoom In and Zoom Out to Make Big Progress On Your Goals (Transcript)

Hello everybody! What’s happening? How are you? I am feeling inspired. This past week I had a group coaching call with all of my clients. We all got together on Zoom and set our individual fourth-quarter goals. I loved learning about what everyone wants to focus on over the next three months. It was so fun bringing everyone together and having the opportunity to learn from one another’s questions. This week it’s been so awesome to dig further into these goals with some of my clients individually.

Now, by the time this episode airs it will be about three to four weeks later. If you’re anything like me, that’s juuuust enough time to start running into early stumbling blocks. It’s just enough time to hit the obstacles that usually pop up somewhere between 2-4 weeks in.

Can you relate? You start a new goal, and you are super stoked. You are all in and you’re riding the wave of excitement. But then after a little while that initial momentum starts waning. You’ve made some progress, but then you may start hitting some of the first obstacles along the way. And your brain starts thinking things like, maybe we should try something else. Or, I know this wouldn’t work. Or I’m confused about what to do next.

First of all, as I talked about in episode 91 all about the messy middle, this is totally normal. There is zero problem and nothing to be worried about. It’s okay if you hit snags along the way to your goal and/or if you find yourself losing that initial steam. If you didn’t have any challenges on the way toward your goal, the goal would just be super boring. What would be the point of even working toward it?

Plus, getting frustrated or confused or overwhelmed is part of the process, too. It is part human experience. And it’s totally normal to have those emotions when you come up against a challenge. In other words, it’s not a problem when you feel stuck or confused or anxious about the goal. This means you’re human doing something new or challenging. The only time it presents a problem is when you get stuck spinning in those emotions for a long time. The only time it becomes a problem is when you let those emotions be a reason to stop.

And this is why we always want to create awareness around where we’re at. This is why we need to know what we’re thinking and feeling NOW, so we don’t unintentionally go off course from our plan.  Think of it like using a GPS. We can’t get to where you want to go – that end goal and the new thoughts and feelings that will get you there if we don’t have the address of where you’re at now, which is your current situation with the goal.

So today I want to talk about how to do that. Today I want to explore how we can create some clarity on our long-term goals. Because doing so helps us figure out where we are at, clear any fog that has us lost in confusion, and make a plan to get us moving forward on those goals with the commitment and determination and drive that we want.

And I want to do this through two different lenses today. We are going to explore two different approaches that you can use whenever you’re working on a project or working toward a goal. And you can use one or both of them depending on where you are at.

And these concepts that we’re going to talk about today are zooming in and zooming out on the goal. Again, if we use the analogy of the GPS. It’s kind of like when you have your overview of the route, so you know the general direction in which you’re headed. But then you also have the turn-by-turn instructions when you zoom in. Both are powerful in helping you know where you’re headed and how to get there.

So today we are going to use both of these strategies – zooming in and zooming out – in order to create clarity for ourselves as we move forward on our goals. And I’m also going to talk about which strategies tend to work better depending on the obstacles you’re up against.

Zooming In

So let’s start with zooming in. Now, I love to use the strategy of zooming in whenever you find yourself spinning. Maybe you are thinking about your goal, and you’ve reached a new step and you’re not sure where to start. So, you spin in indecision.

Maybe you’ve come up against a big obstacle and you feel completely overwhelmed when you think about how to navigate it. Or maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “I’m not moving forward fast enough” so you’re feeling super discouraged. All of these are great situations to practice the zooming-in method.

So, how do we do this? What does zooming in look like? Let’s go through some specific examples so you can see how this strategy works.

So on the call that I had with my clients last week, several people shared their specific goals, and then we walked through the process of breaking down those goals into steps and mapping them out throughout the next three months.

Habit Goals

And one of my clients shared that has a goal of going back to the basics, which refers to the concepts I talked about back in episode 110. In other words, she wants to round out the fourth quarter of the year by ensuring that she is really caring for all of the core areas in her life so that she’s feeling good and recharged and ready to take on the next year ahead.

More specifically, she wants to ensure that she’s getting enough sleep, and saying yes to the things that fulfill her priorities right now. And generally, she wants to prioritize both her physical and mental health. She’s prioritizing self-care in a deep way.

Now, when you think about this goal, it may be a little bit overwhelming at first. One could feel a little bit confusing when you look at it from a distance. How do you even know if you’re making progress on something like this? How do you know whether you are reaching the goal or not? When you have such a long period of time in front of you and so many little areas to consider, what can you do to measure and that progress?

And it is in situations like this. It’s in situations where you know your bigger mission, but you’re not sure how to recognize the progress, where zooming in can be really powerful. Because with each one of those smaller areas, whether it’s exercise, sleep, meditation, connecting with friends, etc. there’s the opportunity to zoom in on that specific activity.

You can almost make them like mini goals or habit goals where you go all in on one area for a week or two and really measure the progress. And once you lock it in and make it a habit, then you can add on the next piece of the puzzle.

So maybe you start by ensuring that you get to bed by a certain time every night. And you do that for a week or two until you have that streak going. Then maybe you move your lens a little bit to the right and you look at the component of the goal, which might be journaling. And maybe you journal a certain number of times each week. And once you are getting to bed by a certain time and you are cleaning up the mind chatter with journaling regularly, then you add on yoga in the park a certain number of days each week.

So we zoom into each of the individual areas to get rid of the distraction, get rid of the noise, get rid of the overwhelm. That way you can focus on the growth in each unique area. And each week you can reflect. You can ask yourself, am I sticking to this habit goal? Am I meeting the weekly objective that I set? If not, what’s getting in the way? What am I thinking about or feeling when it’s time to do this habit? How can I support myself here?

So again, rather than looking at the overarching goal of getting back to the basics and feeling overwhelmed when you think, I have no idea how to measure this let alone stick to it. YThe strategy of zooming in allows you to create mini habit goals that help you measure your progress in each area along the way.

Streamline Systems

Another client shared that she wants to streamline the systems within two separate businesses over the next three months. Now in situations like this, it’s easy to get stuck in confusion and overwhelm. When there are so many different things to consider, it’s easy to spin in analysis paralysis and decision fatigue. Everything seems important, nothing can wait, so we spin in spin and spin trying to decide what to do first. Meanwhile, the time keeps passing by without any action taken. Can you relate to this? I know I can.

So again, in situations like this it’s helpful to use this strategy of zooming in. Can we zoom in on each of the different systems to understand not only their roles, but to also understand which system needs to get locked in first to get the ball rolling? Or which system would make the biggest difference in the success of the business if it were up and running first?

By zooming in on each of these systems and really questioning their role, the order in which you need to approach them, and considering the resources you have available, this will help you start making decisions. It will help you put into place the step-by-step process that will move you forward most efficiently.

Now if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to feel that urge to jump from the big picture idea to completion immediately. We think to ourselves, I see where I’m going, and I want to be able to jump from A-Z right now. But the reality is that we need to zoom in and go through the entire alphabet letter by letter. We need to know how we get from letters A to B and B to C. We can’t jump all the way from A-Z without breaking down each of those tiny steps. And by zooming in you’re able to do that. By zooming in you’re able to create your road map that takes you step by step without the spinning in indecision.

Program Development

This strategy of zooming in is one that I’m also using for my fourth quarter goals this year. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on the podcast yet, but I’m launching a 6-month small group coaching program in January, which I am super excited about.

And because I know my brain well, I know it’s easy for me to get lost in the big picture. I want to have every step complete all at once because I’m so excited about it. I’ve seen the vision, I know what it’s going to look like. I know how amazing it will be. Aaaaaannnndd I want everything ready now. Of course, this thought is not useful. Because trying to do everything at once leads to doing nothing at once. So again, this is where the zooming in strategy is especially powerful.

I can’t just tell myself, “I’m going to market the program.” Instead, I need to think individually about creating a landing page. Deciding how and when I will talk about the program. They need to decide how I will handle the application process since it’s going to be a small group. And by zooming in I help prevent myself from getting lost in the big picture. Instead, I give myself specific directions that help me make measurable growth.

Group Program

And since I am mentioning the group program. If you are interested in learning more about it, you can head to I’m busy being awesome.com/group. You can read a little about it and also add your name to the interest list. Then you’ll be the first to hear more about program details, when the applications open, when I have free trainings or information sessions on the program, etc.  So again, had to I’m busy being awesome.com/group. Add your name to the interest list. And you’ll be the first to know when new information drops.

So zooming in is strategy one. By zooming in on your goal whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost or confused, you help clear the fog by identifying specific steps and making small decisions that get the ball rolling and that propel you forward.

Zooming Out

So now let’s talk about zooming out. One of my favorite quotes from Gretchen Rubin is, “the opposite of a great truth is also true.” And this is absolutely the case with zooming out. So just as getting clear on the tiny details and the step by step when we zoom in it can help calm the mind and inspire progress. In other situations, it can be more powerful to zoom out and focus on the big picture to calm the mind and create clarity.

There are times in the goal creation process where we might get stuck in the weeds. We’re too focused on the tiny minutiae, and we can’t see the forest for the trees. We tend to forget about the end goal and we hyperfocus on the detail. It’s in times like this that we need to zoom out.

Similarly, I also find it helpful to zoom out when you’re trying to prioritize what’s most important when everything seems like a fire. OR when you’re navigating with perfectionism. By zooming out, it helps you realize where you want to put your attention and keeps you focused on the end game with what’s most important and what you can let go.

Prioritization

So, for example, another client set a goal of submitting a handful of different applications to various positions. And these applications can be quite involved. In addition, she has a pretty full schedule, so it will be an obstacle in itself to actually make time to work on that goal. In situations like this, it’s very easy to get lost in the weeds. It’s easy to let perfectionism take over and struggle to prioritize what’s truly important.

When this comes up, it’s really powerful to practice zooming out every day, or every week as you set your schedule. Take a bit of time to self-coach your brain and set an intention for the day. What is most important today? What is the end goal? Where is it that I want to be at the end of this quarter, and what needs to get done to make that happen? Additionally, what can wait?

I’m not going to lie. Prioritizing like this is can be uncomfortable to do. In fact, it can seem quite difficult to prioritize when everything seems urgent. But by zooming out and really focusing on that end goal. By really focusing on why you’ve chosen that end goal – in this situation to get a new job – we remind ourselves what is truly top priority.  And by zooming out and remembering that priority, it will help you create that space and intentionally focus your mind on what’s most important.

Moving and Organization

Another client shared that she is moving and wants to go through her stuff in storage, declutter it, and get herself organized. And by taking some time to zoom out and create that overarching plan, it can make this process so much easier. I don’t know about you, but sometimes if I don’t have a clear plan when I sit down to organize or declutter, I get stuck in a pattern of putting things in one pile and then moving it to the next pile and kind of going back and forth -essentially wandering aimlessly – without making any progress. But when I can step back and create that road map for myself, it makes things so much easier.

So perhaps in this situation of going through stuff in storage, we zoom out and ask things like, what needs to get done first? Second? Third? Or what categories am I dealing with here? Perhaps there are boxes of clothing, and paperwork, and kitchen supplies. What are the different categories, and what order do you want to approach them? Or maybe it’s thinking about the overarching timeline? If you have X amount of days to go through this stuff, how far along do you want to be one week in? Two weeks in? One month in? By having that big picture, you’re creating clarity for yourself, and then you can breakdown those larger benchmarks into the smaller step by step when it’s time to zoom in.

Alright, this last example we’re going to explore today, I have a feeling that many of you will be able to relate. So another one of my clients had a pretty fun meta goal that she presented last week. And that goal is to actually stick with a plan that she created for herself earlier this summer. So, he has several goals, but her overarching goal is to stick with the plan that would allow her to make them all happen. Now, that plan is quite involved. She is teaching at 6 or maybe more than six different schools. She is recording audio books. She’s designing courses and publishing things. And on top of that, she also has all the life stuff. She’s a mom, a wife, she’s involved with her community, etc.

And one of the big challenges she’ll likely face with this goal is maintaining focus on whatever task is scheduled for that particular time. The obstacle will be sticking with it without jumping to the next idea, and saying yes to an additional request. Without accepting the offer of another project that’s happening a little bit further down the road and then diving down that rabbit hole planning for it.

So once again, this is where it can be really powerful to zoom out regularly to focus on your end goal. And anytime something new comes up. Or anytime a new idea pops in your mind, this is an opportunity to ask yourself, does this additional thing contribute to one of my main priorities? Does this additional idea move me forward on completing these goals that I’ve already set for myself? If not, then it can wait. By creating this birdseye view, it helps us put up blinders. It helps us have a shield to any of the new shiny ideas that are always so appealing to our brain.

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t capture them. You can put them in your brilliant ideas list. You can absolutely write them down. But remind your brain that you’re putting your energy and focus on your current goals. You’re sticking with the current plan. And then once you’ve reached those goals, that’s when you can add the next one to the list.

So, my busy awesome humans. If you are feeling stuck or confused or overwhelmed when it comes to working toward YOUR goals or following through on a plan or sticking with your schedule and priorities. If you are spinning in indecision or struggling to move forward. I encourage you to use either one of these strategies. In fact, you can use both.

Zoom in to create clarity and take action on the very next step. And zoom out to help you remember the big picture, stay on track, and keep building momentum toward that end goal.

Again just like a GPS, we want to have both the big picture map of where we are going, and the turn by turn instructions to get us there. Both are necessary. And by using them throughout the goal creation process, that’s what’s going to get you there as quickly and efficiently as possible

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about my group coaching program that’s launching in January, be sure to add your name to the information list. There will be spots for around 5-10 people, so if you want t to learn more about the program, when the doors open, and how to apply, head to imbisybeingawesome.com/group and add your name to the list.

 

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