Breaking Down Long-Term Goals into Short-Term Wins

We’re two months into the new year and some of us might have already crafted the ‘perfect’ plan of success…but guess what? It’s very likely that months will pass, life experiences will get the best of us, and we’ll forget the long-term goals that we’ve set for ourselves. Studies have shown that approximately 8 percent of individuals who set New Year’s goals actually achieve them.

That means that approximately 92 percent of us set goals and never reach them. Perhaps we never reach them because we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.

When we create and set long-term goals, it is important to remember that we must also include short-term action steps that represent small victories toward our ultimate goals. If you’re the type of person who is easily overwhelmed with long-term planning, here’s how you can break down your long-term goals into manageable, short-terms wins.


Identify Purpose and Set an Intention

An intention, at its core, is a vision statement that points to your end goal. In this case, you want to create an intention that allows you to see the purpose in your long-term goal. For example, if you’ve ordered delivery every night for the past two weeks and you want to make a shift and cook every day this week, then you may set an intention that says, “This week, I want to save money by cooking homemade meals for myself and my family.” The intention, now, creates purpose, saves money, gets you closer to family, and clears a path for the creation of action steps.

Now, this may seem like an unattainable goal, but with action steps––small achievables––anything is possible. Some reasonable action steps might include:


  • Making a categorized grocery list (i.e., Fruits, Vegetables, Meats, Grains, etc)
  • Cleaning the kitchen to prepare for meal preparation
  • Preparing/cooking the meals
  • Using portioned containers to store meals


Hold Yourself Accountable With Clear Action Steps

After setting our intentions, we should start thinking of how the intentions will be accomplished by planning our actions. Let’s be honest –– we can set intentions all day long, but if we don’t act on them, we’ll never accomplish them. Acting on our intentions keeps us accountable to our coworkers, supervisors, friends, and most importantly, our families. A successful action plan should include the following but can be revised, depending on the situation:


  • A clear definition of the goal
  • Required steps to complete the goal
  • All accountable parties
  • A timeline for completion
  • Tangible items needed for success
  • Metrics that validate the effectiveness of the action plan


Now, you also might be familiar with SMART goals. If you’ve never heard of SMART goals before, here’s a breakdown of how they work:


  • S – specific
  • M – measurable
  • A – attainable
  • R – relevant
  • T – timely


Celebrate Your Short-Term Wins

You owe it to yourself to celebrate even the smallest of wins. It not only keeps you motivated, but also shows that you find value in every accomplishment. Even if the short-term win was a fraction of the goal, you’re still one fraction closer to the end!


Connect with Alpha Kappa Psi for Goal Achievement Support 

Alpha Kappa Psi holds true to the values of Brotherhood, Knowledge, Integrity, Service, and Unity. As we share our education and experiences with you, please reach out for support or more information if you are having difficulties forming or achieving your goals.



Pursuing the Classics

“Don’t look at a job as being beneath you or something you can’t do.”
Networking and job hunting pre-internet; could you do it? Chris Mulvihill did, and worked for Fortune 5 companies throughout his entire career, all while developing his passion project at Classic Car Advisors. Chris tells us about his life motto, the importance of grit, and so much more. Connect with Chris at

Chris Mulvihill worked his way through the Indiana University School of Business and graduated in May 1983. He held sales and marketing positions with Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola, Cummins Engine, Visa, and is currently with American Express. For several years he was an IU School of Business guest lecturer on brand building and product pull-through strategies. In his spare time, he enjoys working on and showing his classic cars.   

External Links:

Connect with Chris Mulvihill

Classic Car Advisors website

Newspaper photo

Calculated Risk Assessment Checklist

Whether making an investment, changing careers, planning a residential move, entering a relationship, or starting a business, there are many times in life it’s best to look carefully before you leap. In other words, you want to ensure the risk you are taking is a calculated one. A calculated risk is taken after you consider all the hazards, potential impact, and possible rewards of your action or inaction.

Before taking major risks, we all wish for security and that rolling the dice will pay off. While nothing in life is guaranteed, following the steps of due diligence described in this checklist can help you feel more confident taking the next big step.

Qualitative Risk Analysis Checklist

Qualitative risk analysis means thinking through the specifics of your risk, including the probability of the outcome for which you are aiming. For instance, if you are planning a move to get new career opportunities, will your target city be home to what you want? In established business procedures, this evaluation involves putting your risk on a matrix to get a visual for just how, well, risky it really is.

Even without defined project management procedures at work, a qualitative risk analysis process helps you identify opportunities to minimize threats to your success while making the most of potential. These steps also will help you determine where to focus your time and effort.

  • Get Real About the Actual Risk: While you might not want to go so far as using a project management risk matrix, you can still assess your choice on a spectrum. If this risk doesn’t pay off, will it be a minor inconvenience, a moderate disappointment, or a major catastrophe? Putting the consequences in perspective is the essential first step.
  • Be Honest About Potential Harm: Next, consider who is likely to suffer harm in the case that the risk doesn’t pay off. You might begin by disregarding your own harm, but we encourage you to consider that carefully. Even if no one else will be implicated, causing yourself personal or professional ruin is still a mighty set of circumstances.

If your peers, family, friends, or colleagues are also drawn into the risk zone, be fully honest with yourself about how they will be harmed. This could be as minor as their shared sense of hurt at your setback, or as major as the loss of their investments or livelihoods.

  • Brainstorm Precautions and Responses: Once you have gotten a little doom-and-gloom about the consequences of the risk going bad, take a step back and look at everything that would have to happen to get you there. What can you do now, or in the future, to stop those harms from taking place? If one or more bad consequences were to manifest, how could you work around it to still succeed in the risk?
  • Document Your Analysis: Once you’ve plotted out the full spectrum of consequences, actions, and outcomes that could manifest from the risk, it’s a great idea to write it down. In cases like a business, this could be legally required. There are many free risk assessment templates you can use to document personal and professional risk analyses.
  • Revisit the Risk: Now, take a step back and consider the risk again. How do you feel about the decision now that you have thought all this through? You might find that you’ve talked yourself out of the decision, or that you want to approach it with a new strategy. This is the purpose of calculating a risk—so, great job!

Quantitative Risk Analysis Checklist

Quantitative risk analysis is a well-defined procedure in industries like manufacturing, chemistry, and engineering. In these fields, data is collected surrounding projects, making it easier to use that data in protecting against future pitfalls. But even when calculating a risk of a personal nature, bringing data and analytics into the process can help clarify the decision and clear a path through any heavy emotions. In fact, once you’ve completed the qualitative assessment above, moving right on to these objective elements will help truly define your approach to the future.

  • Ponder the Timeline: One piece of data you can estimate and plan for in early stages of a risk is the timeline. For a risk like a move or career change, when would you like to see your decision pay off? You can work backward from there to determine how quickly you’ll need to plan and take action. Other risks like starting a business might require setting an outside boundary around how long you try before taking a step back.
  • Consider and Tally Any Costs: Along with the timeline, take steps to research and document costs associated with your decision. Will you need to take continuing education courses, pay moving costs, or invest in something else? This step could send you back to brainstorming alternatives and workarounds if the cost alone is prohibitive.
  • Assess Other Due Diligence: Outside time and money, there is other research you can do to measure if the risk will be a worthy one. Explore your network to see if there is anyone you can call on for anecdotes and insights about a similar risk they took in the past. Look for research and data about your new target industry or city of residence. Even a simple search engine could lead you to stories of how risks like yours paid off in the past, and what those individuals did to make their goals a reality.
  • Track Your Own Behavior: There’s also the element of your own behavior that can be measured before taking a risk. In some cases, the success and payoff of a risk will be directly linked to our own habits and work ethic. If you aren’t sure whether you are equipped to carry the risk across the finish line, try smaller steps and see if you are able to sustain them. For instance, if you want to learn a new career, try taking a free online class before enrolling in school. If you want to start a business, see about starting a side hustle instead. If the minor changes in your day-to-day habits don’t stick, you might have an answer about whether the more serious risk will be worth it.
  • Revisit the Risk: Once you’ve done this fact-finding and gathered the numbers, you will have more objective insight into the risk you are calculating. With the timeline, costs, and data in front of you, does the risk still seem like it will be worth it?

In life, we all must take risks, and not every risk is going to pay off the way we imagine. But by measuring our expectations from the beginning, and planning carefully, we can make better choices about our risks—and do more to make sure the risks we choose are successful. We encourage you to revisit this checklist every time you feel uncertain about an opportunity and use these steps to orient your thoughts and feelings.

Tips for Writing a Resignation Letter

Quitting a job is never easy, but the most anxiety-inducing part can be the thought of facing your boss and telling them you are leaving. That is why formalizing your resignation through a letter has become a business standard. In fact, when you give just a verbal resignation, employers will often ask you to submit written notice anyway. So, writing a resignation letter is not only a smart way to approach a potentially awkward situation, but also it’s often expected by employers. Here’s a guide to writing a resignation letter that will keep you on good terms with the company and preserve the integrity of the all-important reference for your professional future.


What to Include in a Resignation Letter

Regardless of your reasons for leaving the job, it’s important to be graceful and professional as you convey that you are leaving. To that effect, here are some elements to include:

Address the letter: Write directly to your manager or supervisor, using their first name if that is what you usually call them.

Start with a statement of resignation: Don’t try to build up to the news or share it indirectly. Instead, a statement as simple as “I am writing to inform you that I am resigning my position,” is clear and informative.

Clarify the date of your last day: Let your employer know the last day you are available to work. Two weeks is considered a standard notice that will give your employer time to plan for a transition. However, you should prepare for the chance that the employer does not allow you to continue working until that day.

Offer to help with a transition: No matter the position, someone will need to be hired and trained to replace you. Offering to help with this through involvement in the recruitment and training process is a classy move that shows your respect for your boss and the company.

Share your gratitude: It’s also common for resignation letters to include thanks to your supervisor and the company, including specific examples and reflections on the learning opportunities and growth you have encountered during your time there.

Add contact information: At the end of the letter, make sure to include your mailing address, personal phone number, and personal email. Even if your employer already has this, this ensures you have provided the most up-to-date information so they can reach you with questions.


What Not to Include in a Resignation Letter

You might be really excited to be handing in this letter, whether you are leaving a bad environment or just on the way to a more engaging one. However, there are still several things that should not be included in the letter, even if you are tempted:

Complaints or critiques: You might see your exit as a chance to voice concerns about the company, its products and services, or even your supervisor and colleagues. While you might indeed be able to share these insights during an exit interview, putting them in writing can be compromising. Not only will this cause you to be negatively perceived, but also it could lead to other repercussions in your industry or with references. While your frustrations might be valid, the resignation letter is not the right place to share them.

                Overly-positive tone: On the flip side, saying too many nice things about your past employer is going to come across as ingenuine—remember, you are leaving. This also might make your resignation seem vague or casual, which could be confusing to your boss.

                Immediate departure: Unless there are personal reasons for which you are unable to give adequate notice, you should always give your employer time to plan a transition. Even if you know they have never accepted another employee’s two-weeks’ notice and will ask you to leave immediately, you should still provide that courtesy to the company.

Overt bragging: While your new position might be a vast improvement, you don’t need to go into detail about that when resigning. If you think your supervisor will push for justification, you can focus on how the change will advance your career or help you develop certain skills. However, it’s best not to mention the new job at all in the letter. If they really want to know, they can ask in person.

                New salary: Sometimes, if you mention a better salary in your resignation letter, your employer might take this as an opportunity to make a counter-offer in order to keep you as an employee. While you might ultimately just be leveraging the other job offer to get a raise in your current position, that discussion should always take place in person, initiated by you, not started by your manager as the result of a resignation.


If you’re struggling to start a resignation letter, there are many templates and guides available online to give you inspiration. Two last tips—remember to carefully check the document for errors, and ensure this is the correct decision for you before handing in the letter. Once you have done so, stay focused on your intention to make a graceful and professional exit to manage the situation and whatever comes next.

Coaches, Athletes, Donors…Oh My!

We’ve always heard from collegiate athletes, but what about the coaches? Mary Ellen Gillespie joins the show this morning to talk all things sports. Moving from an athlete, to athletic director, to deputy director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, she’s seen athletics from all sides. Now, she turns her focus to the coaches to best support their education and development as leaders. Connect with Mary Ellen at

Mary Ellen Gillespie was named the Deputy Director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in January 2020. She comes to the WBCA from the University of Hartford where she served as Director of Athletics. Prior to Hartford, Gillespie enjoyed a successful tenure as the Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Under her guidance, the department saw strong growth in both leadership and revenue generation. Academic success and student-athlete development flourished during her time at UWGB, while the department achieved outstanding accomplishments in the competitive arena. Gillespie, a native of Sayville, NY, holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a master’s in counseling-student affairs practice from SUNY Plattsburgh where she is also a Distinguished Alumna. She also has a certificate in fundraising management from the Indiana University Fund Raising School. 

External Links:

WBCA website