When individuals move from having created their compelling vision of what success means to them of a life well-lived to designing a plan that will see them moving in that direction, I caution them to start slowly. One of the biggest reasons I have seen people abandoning their dreams is that they dive in headfirst without having built the infrastructure that will support them in making progress over the long-term.

They take their already busy schedule and overlay a whole new plan atop of it. This recipe sets you up for frustration and feeling like you’re failing because don’t see yourself making the strides you’d hoped for. It becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy of “see, I knew it wasn’t possible.”

What I will tell you is that, while it takes courage to commit to your vision, it takes endurance to bring it to life. There is an expression, “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” that most would share when thinking of building a life you love. I tend to think of it a bit differently. I see it as a series of sprints.

Using the running analogy (though, trust me, I am no runner), a sprinter takes into account all of the current conditions (the terrain, the weather, their physical and emotional state, etc) to help them determine what is achievable in this short race. They then run the race, taking in new information and adapting as they proceed. At the end of the race, they reflect on what they’ve learned and integrate that as they prepare for their next race.

Think about the exercise apps on the market that prepare a person to run a race. They don’t begin by running any distance. In fact, they typically begin with walking at a slow pace. Over time they increase the walking speed and intersperse short bursts of jogging, eventually building to a running pace.

I believe that we should approach our plan toward our vision in much the same way. This is why I encourage those I work with to create 90-day OKRs (objectives and key results). 90 days is near enough that we have a reasonable understanding of what else is on our plate or, said differently, how much time and energy we will be able to dedicate to our plan. Armed with this current reality, we can craft a sprint that is achievable, that will allow us to build momentum, and give us information and insights to carry into the next 90-day sprint. In this way, you are able to set yourself up to feel accomplished — a feeling that encourages you to adapt, integrate, and try again — versus one that has you feeling frustrated and giving up.