When to Jump, an independent media partner of The Huffington Post, is a curated community featuring the ideas and stories of people who have made the decision to leave something comfortable and chase a passion.
Taking a big goal and breaking it down into something that you can feel like you’re working towards consistently is hard. There is a delicate balance between the micro and macro visions needed to survive a jump. Knowing when to zoom in and when to zoom out is very important. As we approach another New Year and, inevitably, short-lived resolutions, consider trying on one of these five things as we close out 2016 so that you can make strides towards your jump in 2017.
- Create a mental picture of what your life will need to look like in order to Jump - Whether it involves acquiring new skills, establishing strategic relationships or increasing one's savings account, identify how you as a person need to evolve in order to be better prepared for your Jump. Once you’ve done that, take an honest look at where you are now , where you feel you need to be, and then work backwards to create milestones for you to track along the way.
- Brainstorm healthy habits - Consciously focusing on creating healthy habits is something that will benefit you during the hard times of your Jump. Anything from waking up earlier, to making a point to read daily, to sacrificing that lunch time Starbucks run in order to put $5 more in savings, habits that aren't moving towards the goal are a hindrance to it so reflect on your habits and seek to improve them. For each trait of the person you need to be in order to jump, come up with a healthy habit that if followed will help you become that person.
- Once you have milestones, add deadlines to them - The only difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline; if you wait for "one day" to arrive, it never will but if you change "one day" into an actual date, you're more likely to achieve it. Set deadlines for the habits that you look to build. For example, I want to be able to run 20 miles a week by the end of 2017. Not just, I hope to run a marathon one day.
- Take job interviews - Even if you know you don't want the job, take job interviews for positions similar to the one you want. If nothing else, let it serve as a barometer for where you rank in the market. If you get offers then you know that you're off to a good start. If you don't, then you know to seek feedback on what areas could use improvement. It's best to get this sometimes tough-to-swallow feedback out of the way with the safety net of your current job. Receiving critical feedback with all chips on the table can become discouraging and detrimental. This will also help give you a realistic picture of where you are now in contrast to where you want to be.
- Put yourself in an uncomfortable situation at least weekly - one of the best skills you can develop is the ability to problem solve under pressure in unfamiliar situations. Jumping involves handling pressure and making sound decisions, so the more you can grow accustomed to operating in uncomfortable environments, the more likely you are to not panic when times get hard. This is accomplished a plethora of ways, it’s different for each person, but examples could be: Choose a different style of cuisine and dedicate yourself to mastering it; find someone sitting alone at lunch and politely ask to join them; start brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
Sometimes the hardest part of jumping is making the first step. With a goal that seems so daunting, it’s hard to see the benefit of small, daily tasks. However, with a healthy understanding of zooming in and out, it’s easier to see these small daily tasks as incremental building blocks to your future.
When to Jump, an independent media partner of The Huffington Post, is a curated community featuring the ideas and stories of people who have made the decision to leave something comfortable and chase a passion. You can follow When to Jump on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For more stories like this one, sign up for the When to Jump newsletter here. (Note: The When to Jump newsletter is not managed by The Huffington Post.)