One thing you need to know about me: I love setting goals.
Seriously, it might be one of my favorite things.
I love having something to work towards. And when I can cross a bunch of items off a checklist? Oh man, that is the best feeling, I absolutely love it.
Unfortunately, I also love setting big goals. And most of the time, they are completely unrealistic ones.
So, as much as I love setting goals, it always takes a good bit extra work to actually achieve them.
Most of my life goals started out as things that I wanted to do "eventually" or "one day." After a lot of years of vague and unaccomplished goals, I realized that I was going about this goal setting thing the wrong way.
If you really want to get closer to seeing your goals become reality, you need a plan.
But not just any plan. You need specific action steps to make it happen. So, I have 4 tricks I use to actually make progress towards achieving goals. And it all starts with making things a little smaller and, surprise (not), a little simpler.
Break it down
The big secret to achieving your big, giant dreams for your life is to break them down.
The smaller you break things down, the better off you'll be. So, whatever your big goal is, you want to think about all the tiny baby steps you'll need to take to make it happen. When you shift your focus to the smaller actionable steps, it makes your goal feel more attainable.
Which will leave you feeling confident and inspired to make it happen.
Break your goals down into three-year goals, one-year goals, six-month goals, and one-month goals. Make sure you're really super clear about what things need to happen for you to meet your goals.
Even the tiniest things are important.
Don't go overboard
Ok, so by this I don't mean you shouldn't set big goals. Go ahead, dream big! I encourage it!
But what this means is don't get stuck in the trap of thinking that multitasking works... because it doesn't. Focus on just one goal at a time.
We've all been there. We sit down and brainstorm all the things we want to accomplish. And at the end of it, we're left staring at a list of a dozen different life goals, completely overwhelmed by the thought of trying to get it all done.
So probably don't do that.
Instead of trying to do everything at once, choose just one thing from your list and focus on that.
You'll get to the other things on your list, too, don't worry about that. You're just going to save them for later.
When your focus is on a dozen different things at the same time, you won't actually get any closer to any of those goals. Just like with multi-tasking, it will just take you longer to get anything done.
And chances are, nothing will get done well.
When you choose to focus and work on one goal at a time, you're going to make progress faster.
You'll see more improvement because you'll be able to devote more time and energy to accomplishing that one goal. Which means you'll probably get to scratch that goal off your list sooner than you expected.
And then you can move on to the next one.
So how about an example? Maybe you want to be self-employed, be a famous artist, foster a dozen cats, and write 7 novels within your 5 year plan.
Sure, it's possible for you to do all those things, but not if you're trying to do them all at once.
(Have you eve tried to have a dozen cats? They are a handful!)
If you try to do everything at once, you won't meet any of your goals. Focus on one thing at a time. That way, you'll meet your goals faster and then can move on to other things.
Remember, keep it simple. Focus on just one thing at a time.
Deadlines. Gross, right?
If you're anything like me, just the thought of deadlines fills you with anxiety.
Deadlines can be stressful sometimes, but they are incredibly important for achieving your goals. If you have a goal that you want to accomplish "someday" or "eventually," then you're not really giving yourself a good incentive to get it done.
Having a deadline will motivate you to work towards your goals continuously.
For each of your smaller tasks (from breaking down your goals), set a deadline for getting it done. Create weekly check-points for yourself. Or maybe do one task each day that will move you closer to your life goals.
I have weekly and monthly deadlines.
Each deadline is meant to move me closer to my life goals. And those weekly and monthly deadlines are broken down even further into daily action steps that I need to take.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it really does help. And goals weren't meant to be easy, right?!
Be kind to yourself
This is so super important!
It's easy to think we're not making progress and get really bummed out. I've been there tons of times. I didn't meet my deadlines, felt like my whole life was falling apart as a result, and drowned my sorrows in a pint of ice-cream and binge watching Netflix.
Not really the most productive way to deal with my feelings.
But you know what? Life happens.
Sometimes we set a deadline and then other things come up. You might not meet every deadline. But that's ok.
As long as you don't give up, then you haven't failed.
It's important to be kind to yourself. Didn't make the progress you wanted to this week? That's ok. You'll do better next week.
Even little progress is better than no progress at all.