What does goal-setting really mean? For so many of us, we’re often inundated with information telling us the ‘best’ and the ‘greatest’ way to do something. While that information can be helpful… sometimes it’s a bit distracting. You don’t need to stress yourself out trying to achieve everything on your list (and the person next to you’s). Stop seeing your to-dos as goals and focus on what has a lasting impact. Move towards meaningful goals in order to align more with your purpose.
1. Simplify your task list.
Take a deep breath and evaluate what you need to accomplish. What does your to-do list consist of? Are you adding unnecessary items to feel ‘busier,’ all the while unconsciously stressing yourself out? Are you considering daily ideas/goals that are unneeded when it comes to larger, long-term tasks? Are the items you ‘must do’ even mandatory, or are you just pressured to feel that way?
Take a moment and go through your task list. Eliminate anything that isn’t essential, isn’t moving you forward, or isn’t on track with the other items. If needed, create multiple lists for different activities/projects/jobs etc., or based upon time, for example, a list for your weekly vs. monthly goals.
When you can simplify your list, it helps to keep you productive, yet considerably less stressed.
2. Prioritize your task list.
Go through each item and rank it by importance. Then recreate a new list that’s prioritized, in an order that makes sense, and is organized to help you work at a more efficient, effective pace.
3. Create sub-goals.
The biggest downfall we make in goal-setting is trying to either master too much in too short of a time, or looking at the huge picture instead of the smaller, more manageable steps to get there. When you think about your meaningful goals, don’t stress yourself out by focusing on the final product; instead, consider the path you must take to make that dream a reality.
What comes first? Create smaller sub-goals for each overarching goal. Consider where you want to be but remember that place is eventual, not right away.
In creating sub-goals you are breaking down and continuing the momentum instead of feeling defeated or stagnant. With each item, you are getting closer, but in a way that is manageable and measurable, rather than overwhelming.
4. Create a rewards system.
We are human, and sometimes we need incentives to keep going. If applicable, create a rewards system based on your meaningful goals. Give yourself a celebration or little ‘gift’ (extrinsic or intrinsic) for when you reach a certain point. (Remember: The focus here is to take pride, not necessarily to ‘gift yourself.’)
5. Celebrate milestones.
Be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t get so wrapped up in the goal making that you forget to celebrate the goal achieving. Take moment each day to cross items off your list, to get excited about what you’ve done, to realize how much closer you are (instead of what you have left). Shift your perspective to one of gratitude and excitement, rather than frustration, guilt, or anxiousness—this will dramatically change your progress!
Featured Image Credit: Gabi Nehring