Almost everyone knows the value of setting goals. Setting them, writing them down, and then marching toward their completion is the best and surest way to make progress. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, as long as they’re important to you, and let’s face it, if they weren’t important to you, you wouldn’t have made them goals in the first place, right?
Problems arise, however, when you feel as though you’re not making any progress. Sometimes it feels as though every force in the universe is acting against you, trying to keep you from achieving whatever goal you have set for yourself. It can be discouraging. It can make you want to just throw you hands up in despair and give up.
Before you do that though, take a step back. Take a deep breath and assess what’s really going on here. In almost every case, there’s something you could do just a bit differently that will turn the tide back in your favor and make you feel as though you’re making genuine progress again. Here are five simple tricks for doing just that, and overcoming seeming impossible odds:
1- Don’t Do Too Much
Most people think they’re good multitaskers, but science has shown that less than two percent of the population can actually pull it off effectively.
Even if you’re convinced you’re one of those 2%, don’t do it. You will overwhelm yourself and add to the frustration if you set too many goals and try to pursue them all at once.
Instead, pick a single goal. Your most pressing and important one, and focus exclusively on that. Knock it down, and then proceed to your next goal.
The focus will help ensure that you see more progress, more quickly toward your main goal, and that will build momentum and the confidence you need to keep fighting the good fight until all your goals have been achieved (at which point, it’s time to set some new goals!)
2- Take Time Management To The Next Level
Have you ever performed a time study on yourself? You should! It’s shocking how much slack time there is in most people’s day. You might find that you spend two or three hours a day checking email, or browsing Facebook, or watching YouTube videos.
It’s different for every person of course, but everyone has time sinks in their day. Identify yours and cut them out. This gives you more time to focus on your goals.
3- The Importance of Down Time
You’ll get burnt out if you spend all your time chasing your goals without a break, so be sure to give yourself one. Every day, take a minimum of thirty minutes a day, just for yourself. Meditate, listen to music, go for a walk…do anything except think about your goals.
Of course, while you’re doing this, your subconscious mind is still hard at work thinking about them, and this is what often leads people to sudden flashes of insight or inspiration.
That’s why the downtime is so important. Not only does it help you preserve your sanity, but it gives your mind the space and time it needs to look at whatever problems you’re encountering from a different angle.
4- Don’t Obsess Over Perfection
A lot of people get the idea stuck in their head that their first try at a given thing has to be sheer perfection. They obsess over it.
They spend way more time than they need to, trying to make sure that this one little piece of the puzzle is absolutely perfect before moving onto the next task in pursuit of their goal.
Don’t do that. It doesn’t have to be perfect at first, it just has to exist.
Once it exists, you can spend some additional time each day tweaking it and making it better, but don’t feel as though you must make everything absolutely perfect before you can move on. You don’t, and if you get locked into that kind of thinking, you’ll never actually get anywhere.
Get the basics up and running and move on. As you make progress toward your goal, you can circle back to improve what you’ve already got, but don’t spend too much time obsessing over the small stuff.
5- Go Granular
One of the leading causes of frustration when you’re chasing a particular goal is the feeling of a lack of progress toward your goal. It’s just too big, and there are always things cropping up that seem to get between you and what you really want.
Focusing on a single goal, as mentioned above, will help you steer around a number of roadblocks that seem to throw themselves in your way, but that won’t matter if you never feel like you’re actually making forward progress. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for that.
Yes, your main goal is important, but equally important are all the sub-tasks involved in ultimately achieving that goal. Break it down into small, manageable chunks.
Specific tasks you can start and complete on the same day that aren’t your goal, in and of themselves, but move you steadily closer to it.
Doing that will give you a feeling of momentum. Each day, you’ll be able to chart the course of your progress, and you’ll see yourself moving closer and closer to the goal you’re ultimately hoping to achieve.
Call it what you like: List making, going granular, or eating the elephant one bite at a time, it all comes down to the same thing. If you try to tackle a huge goal all at once, you’re almost doomed to fail. It’s just too big to handle. It’s just too big to get your arms around all at once.
On the other hand, if you break it down into tiny steps and individual components, you’ll find yourself racing ahead, making steady progress, and before you know it, your goal has been achieved! That’s how you manage all of the obstacles and road blocks that might arise to try and keep you from your goal.