Without goals we would remain stagnant and uninspired. Goal setting gives us purpose and ambition, and leads us to execute on those goals.
However, like all those unfulfilled New Year Resolutions of the past (dry January anyone?), an unreached goal is demotivating and demoralizing.
Rather than daydreaming about the future when you’ve reached your set goal and life seems amazing, focus on the present and what you can achieve today in order to take a step closer to that prize.
Bite-sized, easily achieved ‘mini goals’ are what you need to avoid procrastination and overwhelm. If you’re focussing solely on the final goal you will soon be staring into space like a stunned fish.
Basking in the glory of completing the smaller tasks keeps you feeling productive and confident. Create as many small goals as you need, checking often that they are still leading you in the right direction. Ticking boxes is a very satisfying process, so have a checklist on the go and even give yourself a cheeky gold star if you can steal one from the kids.
Timing is key
When scheduling the mini goals, consider what time of day you feel most incentivized and when you’re least likely to get diverted. If you’re trying to complete a task with one hand and change a diaper with the other, it’s not going to work.
Keep it realistic and be kind to yourself; life is messy and unpredictable so there will be times when your plan doesn’t quite work out. The important thing is to not see this as a setback but to accept it as unavoidable or even consider tweaking your schedule a little.
Outsourcing some aspects of your work may help, if you feel it is appropriate or find yourself wishing there were a hundred hours in a day. Websites such as Fiverr are full of talented people ready to help with anything from copywriting, graphic design, scheduling and more, at great rates starting from $5.
Sounds a bit primitive but brain dumping works like a charm. Keep a pen and notepad handy at all times and scribble down everything linked to your goal that pops into your head.
It doesn’t have to be neat or thorough, just clear enough that you will understand it when you return to the notes. This is a great way to make progress if you have missed some scheduled time or find yourself with five minutes spare.
It’s tempting to do hours of online “research” but this is a common avoidance technique so you need to be real with yourself. Research is a classic ruse to avoid action. It can become another rabbit hole and even distract yourself mentally.
Don’t compare yourself to others; it will trigger negative self-talk. If you can, remove all distractions for the time that you have allocated to the task. Reward yourself with some internet time and a coffee once you have completed what you set out to do.
If you do find your inner critic getting shouty, put that voice to rest.
The most important part is to enjoy the process and keep your life balanced. Ensure you eat well, sleep well, exercise and have fun. It is key to keep perspective and not allow the need for change, or the achievement of that goal to become everything.
If you find you’re not enjoying the work or not achieving your goals, it’s time to look back to the start and redefine your WHY. It’s entirely possible that your goal has shifted and you need to adapt your journey to accommodate this.
As Steve Jobs once said, “The journey is the reward” and he knew a thing or two.