Goals to me have been significant. They can help keep me in check, they can give me drive to work towards my dream. They can be the one thing that helps me or breaks.
But I learned that setting goals can require a lot of thought into them. It can be as simple as writing them down and completing, but that doesn’t work most of the time, sometimes you need to go beyond that. You need more creative methods to make yourself accountable and ensure that it just doesn’t become something that you give up halfway for.
So you need to set your goals wisely, once I did, I found myself better at following through most of them.
#1 Be as specific as possible
For me, setting specific goals helps. But what did was further breaking it down to weekly and even daily goals. It helped to make me accountable, to get myself to really consider the logistics of almost everything.
Such as: how reasonable it is for me at this stage? Can I get it done by this time?
It has managed to help me even visualize what I’m chasing and break it down to smaller chunks and steps which should have been factored in from the very beginning. It also helps to make what seems like an absolutely daunting task become more manageable.
As we often set goals for things that we haven’t even touched right now, often being something incredibly difficult for us in our current position. Goals like that are the ones which often remain as wishes, and as dreams.
What matters more is the ability to break it down so that you can manage it. You can check yourself for your own progress. Because checking yourself is the only way you will ever know where you are. Checking yourself is the only way to see whether you’re moving forward or still stuck in the same rut.
Even for writing, I needed to really get specific and be organized and sure what my next move was. It required me to be precise, it also required me to look up and plan all the details. It also required me to spread things out when necessary. As there are a lot of things, you need to cover, to break down so that you are more productive.
So when you’re starting out, be willing to go deep and careful. Chop it all up so that it doesn’t make you choke, or realize that it’s overwhelming.
#2 It has to start from right now
The most important thing I learned about goals is that I needed to be doing something right now. That was the most important thing I needed to always remember as possible. Now is still the word I use when I set goals. The deadline would never be any further than a month away.
As once upon a time, I didn’t. I simply chose goals that seem like I would not do everything now. I would simply let it sit. Because my timeframe wasn’t right now, it wasn’t as though I was doing it. But once I did, I knew that I had to stop thinking about it in the future sense. I also chose to let it be some faraway date like a year or two, except I didn’t do anything to really bridge up the gap so that it seemed attainable.
Not just something that I’ll get to eventually, but something that I’ll start working for right now. It certainly didn’t help, and I often underestimated the amount of work or never did get to it. And then, when I do, I just end up being overwhelmed in every sense of the word.
Now, I let my goals be focused in the current days, weeks, or months. I never seemed to plan any further than a month after me now, or at most two months. Because it’s too long, it’s difficult for me to get myself to see it in terms of days. Setting shorter deadlines allowed me to do something now, all the while, it really got me to reassess my own goals.
It got me to start taking immediate action, even something as simple as adding it to your to-do list or also making a few notes as to begin.
It just needs to be something that makes you do something now.
#3 Know your limits
I can’t stress this enough. I eventually found that I was often overstating it, sometimes I needed to be more careful, I needed a longer time. And for me, I had to simplify my goals and stretch them out over the long-term. Knowing your limits allows you to plan around your limited time, it makes it worth it without being overwhelming.
Overwhelming is when everything you have done. You just feel that you’re exerting too much effort, or you are so tired that throwing in is necessary. I have done that before, I have stretched myself to the bone back. It’s not a pleasant feeling, it’s not even a good feeling.
Or when you feel unchallenged. Although that is often a lot easier, because sometimes when I end up having an easier I goal, I just go to another.
Because you have limits, and sometimes what you need is to know how to push them. Not too much, but enough that it makes you better but not to the degree that it will burn you out. Especially when once you’re done, what you’re more concerned with is to switch to the next goal as compared to say taking a break and then returning.
It also meant that you should review your progress and where you are often. I often do it from week to week, trying to see how can I perhaps do things better than before. It gets me to also assess myself and see if I’m comfortable, or I’m dreading it. It gets me to sometimes think and then make changes.
It helps to stop me from reaching that point where I give up, or I’m so burned out that I can’t continue.
When we set goals, we’re all seeking to achieve something that we aren’t doing right now. We’re trying to get somewhere. Often doing something that we are trying out and trying to get better at.
Goals are things that help us, motivate us, and chart out our course to our end goal. No matter how hard it is.
And thus, it is important to set reasonable goals that propel us forward. And not ones that hinder us from achieving it.