Happy New Year to you all.
Thank you for sticking by me, and reading this post today. I drifted off towards the end of last year, found myself spread too thinly, and achieving very little. So this year I need to be better – I owe it to you. And I want you to hold me accountable if you see me not giving you what you deserve – if you come here to read my posts, they should be more regular, right? So feel free to give me a kick up the backside!
Of course, that means setting goals. But as I stated last year, I’m not a big fan of setting New Year’s Resolutions – we should not expect that just because the bell chimes midnight and the year ticks over, we can suddenly put to right all the things that we don’t like in our lives. That is just a ludicrous way of thinking.
But we can set goals at any time. We don’t need to be told when to set them – we just have to put our mind to it, take massive action, and keep on the path to how we want to live.
So, are you like me, have you re-assessed what state your life is, and decided now (not because it is January, but because you want to) is the time to set about an improvement? And if you are reading this in March, June, or November – now is also a great time to start too!
The first thing you probably did was make a list of all of the things you wanted to change, no matter how many there were. You also probably planned to work on them all at once. This approach seems to be the most natural because you have looked at the whole of your life and seen several (or more) things you want to improve, but it’s not the most effective.
It’s hard to sustain motivation for many goals at once, but continual motivation is the most important factor in achieving your goals. Because of this, having fewer goals to work on at the time will make it easier to stay motivated long enough to reach your goals. Your success depends on your ability to prioritize your goals and manage your motivation while working toward them.
Having fewer goals makes it easier to stay motivated because you can only focus on so many things at once. It’s easy to over estimate what you can achieve, but it’s important to learn how to hold back and prioritize your most important goals over others. The more focused you are on a goal, the greater your chance of success. Also, the fewer goals you have, the more you can focus your energy, time, and other resources toward achieving that goal. It’s not easy to choose your most important goals, but it’s worth the effort.
We are all given the same amount of time in each day, and we have to plan our lives based on the same 24 hours that everyone else has. We all have to allow time for each task we plan to do each day. Basic needs are similar for everyone, but after that, we choose how our time is spent. The only problem with that is you have to decide what is important and then make sure you spend your time doing the things that matter to you.
If you set too many goals at once, you won’t have time to achieve all of them and you’ll probably feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not achieving anything. I know I have been guilty of this in the past (and more recently, I am ashamed to say). Working toward fewer goals at any one time will allow you to spend more time on each one, and you’ll be more likely to be successful.
Even if you have time to put toward many goals at once, you might not have the mental and physical energy it takes to achieve them. Working on your goals can be exhausting, and we can do only so much before our minds and bodies need to rest and refuel. Spreading yourself too thinly can wreak havoc on your energy levels, and can cause you to fail at reaching one or more of your goals.
Be honest with yourself about what you have the energy for. Think about all of your obligations and the limits you have with your time and energy already, and then choose what goals to pursue first. What do you really have the energy for? That is also why it is best to prioritise any health goals – if you feel healthier, you will have more energy to tackle other goals.
It’s easy to over commit when it comes to setting goals for ourselves because it’s easy to over estimate what we’re capable of doing. And of course, we always under estimate the time it takes to do something. We don’t want to think of our own limitations, but if you’re going to be successful you have to learn to do just that. It’s a lot easier to maintain our motivation for fewer goals at the time because we have limited focus, time, energy, and other resources. The fewer things you try to do at once, the better you can do each one, and the greater your chance of success.
I have taken a look at my life and split it into the following areas – health, money, work and education, my home, and finally things that I enjoy doing to relax. I won’t list out my goals in each area, but as I said health must be a priority. So I am going to drink more water, exercise a little more, eat a little healthier. All these should combine towards my long term goal of losing a couple of inches from my belly by the summer!
For the money area I have almost paid off all my credit cards over the past 2 months, and hope to complete this by the end of February. Then I need to start saving the money that I would have been paying towards them.
Work and education – I have some new work coming up in my day job which should give me a renewed vigour, and a list of things that I want to learn too. But I am going to actively remind myself to learn and implement before heading off to learn something else before understanding the initial thing. That was a big issue for me last year…
I am also going to keep on top of jobs in my home better. Starting with a massive tidy up in my bedroom – or dumping ground for all things, as it seems to have become. A bit more organisation will go a long way, I hope. A big throw out session is on the cards, I feel.
With regards to relaxation, a lot of these cross over to other areas – walking (health), reading (some fiction but some educational), sport (health).
So there you go. These are a few of my goals. I will stick to one from each area at a time, and try to make them become habits and a natural part of everyday life before moving on to the next goal in that area.
And so what about you? What goals do you have for the next few months, or even years. There’s nothing to say that goals have to be reached quickly – in fact a large goal is great – but don’t forget to break them down into steps so you can keep that motivation going.
Don’t set yourself up to fail – set just a few goals at any one time, and keep that motivation going – you know you will have a much better chance of success. Let me know in the comments below one or more of your goals and how you will stay on track without being knocked off your path by a new goal that takes you time away from completing the first.