We are now headfirst into the official season of goal setting. Sure, we have a few days of over-indulgence and chilling out over the holidays. But once the eggnog is all gone and the festive movies have long-since become boring, we start to feel a familiar nagging in the pit of our stomach.
There is nothing like sitting on the sofa for long periods of time to let your worries about the passing of time catch up with you. In our normal, day-to-day existence I think we generally keep too busy for this nagging feeling to catch us up. But when we rest, there it is, and we start listing our New Year’s resolutions 2020.
So once you have spent some holiday downtime alone with your thoughts, and have a list of things to achieve in the near future, how do you set a goal that actually sticks? I commonly see three types of goals being set, and the first one is a bit of a red herring.
The ones that dwindle and die
These goals are things we launch in January, perhaps a new juicing habit for example. But then, by March, we have put the juicer in the back of the cupboard and we are completely over it.
This can come with a large side order of guilt. But I do not think we should beat ourselves up. Often with this type of goal, the truth is that we were never really motivated to do it in the first place. Perhaps we set an arbitrary resolution out of peer pressure, or just because we are not in touch with what we genuinely do want.
Goals that dwindle so quickly and leave you feeling guilty, but not sorry you stopped pursuing them, were just not the right goal for you in the first place. It is okay to acknowledge that and change direction. The other two types of goals that I see are the ones that we really do want, but are challenging. We just need to understand them and have a strategy.
The ones that we do not even start
So if we really want to achieve something, but we do not even start on our path to doing so, what is the problem? Most commonly it is a lack of self-belief.
If we do not believe we can have something that we really want, it might be too painful to try but miss out. So we hang around the starting blocks, dragging our feet because if we do not start then we can’t let ourselves down. We can’t be disappointed.
We have to find a way that is safe for us to start. I would recommend taking this sort of issue to a life coach or counselor to work through where your lack of self-belief comes from. If you can identify your issue, then you will be free to start working towards hitting that big goal.
The ones that frustrate us
- So you have a big goal – check.
- You believe in yourself – check.
- You are frustrated and do not know how to start – check.
Welcome to overwhelm! Some of us really do love to bite off more than we can chew. Often fueled by the dread of time passing, some of us are terrified that we won’t ‘live enough’ while we are alive. The result is that we multitask and push ourselves too hard. In the end, this affects our whole performance across the board.
If you have ever experienced burn out then you will probably know the feeling. You went too hard at something until you had no focus left, and then the task at hand engulfed you. For the biggest, most challenging goals, we really need to be strategic. Break your big goal down into small sub-goals, and then break them down again into micro-goals.
I know, I know, you want it all right now. But you will not get it if you overwhelm yourself. So spare yourself the burnout and frustration, and please be sensible. Plan your sub and micro goals out on a calendar over a reasonable time-scale. And remember to celebrate each one as you check it off the list. As a culture, we really underestimate the importance of rewarding ourselves for our hard work.
Goals do not have to be enormous to be worth celebrating. They just need to be meaningful. And anything that gets you a step closer to hitting that big goal you’ve been dreaming of is meaningful in my opinion. Do you have any big goals for 2020? Please do let me know in the comments.