Fact: We live in a digital age where the pressure to DO more and BE more is everywhere – you can’t miss it, especially if you’re on social media. It’s a big instigator for overwhelm and anxiety. So how do you prevent this stress (as far as possible) while staying ambitious? How do you focus on your goals and prevent burnout?
Short answer? We simplify. We put our blinders on and get real with the heart stuff.
You see, this is where we tend to lose focus a lot. When we’re so busy sharing the highlight reel and seeking some sort of validation for what we’re doing. I know I’ve fallen into this trap plenty of times, too. It’s easy to get into a habit of showcasing ALL the great things going on in our lives… And very little, if anything, of the messy moments or behind-the-scenes (by the way, I’m not talking about oversharing or airing dirty laundry – that’s a big no-no!)
So where does this tie in with setting goals and sticking to them?
By focusing on what matters – We get real with what we want and not what we think other people want to see.
PERFECTIONISM AND PEOPLE-PLEASING
Last year, I was all over the place. I must have changed my brand and website five times or more. I wanted to be everything for everyone; I cared too much about what other people thought, as you do when you’re a bit of a perfectionist. And I lost the plot a bit – I lost focus on my goals and didn’t feel like myself for a while. Have you ever felt that way? After some much-needed self-reflection, I realized what the problem was:
I wasn’t being true to who I was.
It’s really as simple as that and yet, we complicate it so much by following what everyone else is doing.
Below, I’m sharing a few insights and tips that have helped me see things differently, that seem to be working. Of course, as always, I like to simplify with a few breakdowns.
Let’s get to it.
6 WAYS TO FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS AND FOLLOW THROUGH
1) FORGET HUSTLING, BE INTENTIONAL INSTEAD
I have to confess something quick: I’ve seen a lot of negative talk on social media lately about hustling and it makes me so happy! This notion that we’ve constantly got to be busy with something in order to be succeeding in life is completely ridiculous. And stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in working hard and going after what you want.
But, I believe in working with HEART, not for the ego.
In other words, being busy with purpose.
It’s not being busy for the sake of telling everyone that you worked till midnight or have no time for lunch. That’s poor time management and lack of boundaries. You can’t focus on your goals if you’re always tired or stressed. That’s when you lose motivation. So take care of your brain and body; rest and nourishment is part of success.
2) MAKE YOUR GOALS PERSONAL
What holds you back from reaching your goals? For me, it’s being too ambitious and overcomplicating things. I like to think I can accomplish everything if I just put my mind to it. But the reality is, life happens. Last-minute things creep in, we’re forced to deal with obstacles and challenges, and our priorities might even shift.
What keeps us committed though?
For example, my biggest goal for this year is to walk 10km. So, instead of writing down “Get fit” as a goal (which, let’s be honest, isn’t very inspiring), I write “Finish a 10km walk in under 2 hours by 31 December 2020 and ring in the new year with a celebratory cocktail.” It’s specific and it’s realistic. To keep me inspired to reach that goal, I’ve made a personal challenge of walking at least four days a week. So I’ve got this big goal to work towards, but I also have some daily habits I can check off and feel good about while I’m on the path to reaching my goal.
That’s the secret sauce right there – make it personal.
Make your goals emotional.
3) CHOOSE YOUR TOP 5
Maybe you’re ambitious like me and have 20 goals you want to reach this year.
That’s inspiring, but are you really going to reach them all? I watched a YouTube video the other day about goal-setting and how we should be focusing on 4-5 big ones – and then break them down into mini-goals. Sounds a lot less overwhelming than 20, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it works:
You choose a few (4 or 5) areas of your life you want to improve, for example, lifestyle, relationships, finances, business, health, spirituality, etc. And then, you pick ONE huge goal for each area. Maybe you want to get fitter this year – that goes under health. Now here’s where it gets interesting…
HOW do you get from where you are right now, to reach that ambitious goal?
4) BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS
I’m learning that the best way to focus on your goals and actually make them happen, is to simplify them and turn them into manageable daily habits. Work them into your lifestyle so they’re easier to stick to. So for your health and fitness goal, think about what you need. Time and energy most likely. That means blocking off time in your calendar every week to get in a few workouts, walks or runs. As for the energy? You need to fuel your body with the right food and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Now let’s switch that into a goal for your business or career.
Say you want to double your income from the previous year. Since you can’t split yourself in two, that probably means investing in someone to help you with time-consuming tasks (like admin or content creation). This will free up your time and energy so that you can focus on product implementation or adding new services. If you’re employed, you could look at ways to skill up so that you feel more confident about asking for that promotion.
5) TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
My favourite way to stick with goals is to use a habit tracker. I used one for my workouts and runs last year and it was incredible to see how much more motivated I was to do them. If you’re someone who likes to check things off, I promise, you’ll really enjoy the sense of achievement in marking those boxes off.
Seeing your progress build up over time is such a great way to keep at it. You could even use a digital tracker on a Google spreadsheet. Do what works best for you.
6) REFLECT, REWARD, REVISE
And now, let’s imagine working hard on your goals and only celebrating your success at the end of 12 months (or however long you need to reach them). Not very motivating, is it? I like to add up my workouts every month and challenge myself to beat that number I do in the upcoming month. My husband and I have a huge board in the lounge with a calendar for the month. We use different colours to mark off our individual workouts and this is such a great way to reflect on what we did each week.
It’s both fun and rewarding at the same time.
Speaking of rewards, you could come up with your own personal reward system for reaching your mini-goals while working towards the big one. Make it something you’ll look forward to and I promise, you’ll find it a lot easier to follow through on your goals.
Happy goal setting!