What is a Realistic Goal?
Only you are the one who can realistically define where you truly want a goal to take you. You can then bring in a coach or colleague to help you to further develop a plan to help you get where you want to go. But what if you feel your goal is really unreachable and too big? Fear, resistance and procrastination set in, freezing you in a never-shedding comfortable cocoon. The smugness of complacency will keep you in the idleness of a rut going nowhere. The magic happens when people have specific goals and connect it with accountability to break out of that cocoon.
Resistance and Procrastination
I'm reading the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and he says, Procrastination is the most common manifestation of resistance because it's the easiest to rationalize. In other words, we keep putting it off until tomorrow because we're too busy or tired. (I hear Annie singing that song again!) If you find you keep procrastinating and putting off taking that class, starting that business on the side or saving for a special trip, it could be that your inner child is standing with both feet planted saying, No! I'm tired! (anyone who has children knows what this looks like!) A healthy mindset will then say, Yes, you're tired, but let's get started!
Layering and Chunks
How do you get started? I'm going to share my big secret with you. Layering and chunking is how I get things done! How does this work? Most have heard the phrase, Start with the end in mind, but if it's just a phrase, it does no good. Work backwards and put the steps in VERY small chunks. Easier said than done. Let's focus on the the word VERY. The steps have to be small enough that you experience success. A good plan with small, achievable steps will keep you encouraged as you move forward. Get expert advice and create your strategic plan.
Since our home is all wood (yes-not a bit of stucco!) we knew there was a good chance we had termites, and we were right! As a result, we are having our house tented for termites. (4 days from when I'm writing this) On one hand, I just want to get this done. On the other, I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed in approaching the monumental job of bagging all food items in 4 days. Some who know me know I make jam and freeze a lot of fresh juice from our fruit trees. All need double-bagged. So I am using my working backwards strategy to practice what I preach. This is my process:
- Focus on what is absolutely necessary first. Put this on your schedule. Do not put this off. This can be as simple as scheduling a time to call the doctor for a health issue. If you take time and focus first on the necessary, you will be moving in the right direction. Then do something right away! Don't put this off!
- Write down what can wait so those things be off your mind for the time being. By doing this, you stand a greater chance of eliminating distractions from the next new shiny object. You can schedule items on that list for a later time.
- Divide up the absolutely necessary items into very small projects (chunks) and do at least one of them right away. By doing so, you'll gain the immediate satisfaction of starting, thus creating momentum. I like using the illustration of a chocolate bar. You still gain great satisfaction by having a small chunk. You know you'll eventually eat the whole thing!
- Use a 10-minute timer. You can read about it in Stuck is Not a Four Letter Word. It's simple but really works and creates a form of self-competition to complete small tasks. Of course, your timer can be set for 5, 15, or even 20 minutes. However, 10 minutes works best for me. At times, I end up resetting my timer many times but it helps me stay focused.
- Regroup often to see where you are. This is very important. You want to evaluate and even change course from time to time. Relationships, work responsibilities and even ambitions change as life takes its course. By looking at where you've been, you'll be pleasantly surprised at your progress!
- FREE Goal Setting Worksheets here! Don't hestitate to download any of our free materials!