HOW TO SET GOALS AND ACHIEVE THEM

Do you ever get to certain points in your life where you don’t know what to do because you want to do EVERYTHING? You enter analysis paralysis and you can’t decide what you should do first because you want to do it all.

It seems impossible, right? There’s only 24 hours in a day and 6-8 of those should be devoted to sleep, another chunk of time for work, more for food, etc. So, where does that leave you? It doesn’t seem like you have a lot of time left in the day to do everything that you want to do.

Now that I’ve just crushed you with that thought that you’ve likely already played in your head a thousand times, let me help you back up. This is absolutely manageable, but you need the right tools and habits.

I’m going to set something straight right now. It is absolutely possible to work towards multiple goals at once. But the hard truth is that there are only 24 hours in a day, and the more that you add on, the less time you get to work on each individual thing. If you feel anxious or scatter-brained because you’re trying to do too much at once, then you lack the proper prioritization of your goals.

To manage multiple goals, it’s important to first work through a goal setting exercise. Walk through the following steps with me. I promise that by the end of this, you will have a clearer picture of how to set goals and achieve them.

Step 1: Get creative

First, write down a list of all of the goals you have in your life, big and small, short-term and long-term. I’ve done so many goal setting exercises and I found that 50 is a great number of goals to write down. The first 25 or so will be easy, but then you’re going to have to start thinking. You’re going to start getting really creative and that’s when the limits of your mind will expand and you’ll start writing down things that you might have only dreamed of.

The importance of this first step cannot be overstated. You must get clear on your life goals because only then will you discover the proper steps towards achieving them.

Step 2: Establish the timeline

Next, put a number next to each goal corresponding to the number of years in which you could reasonably attain that goal if you really tried. I like to do 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years. With too many options, I find that I become overwhelmed. It’s harder to determine whether I could accomplish something in 13 or 14 years, but it’s easier to differentiate between a goal for 5 years and a goal for 10 years.

When doing this step, don’t set yourself up for failure; set yourself up for success. If you are only earning minimum wage right now, it’s probably not reasonable to say that you can be a millionaire in a year. Not that it’s impossible, but it’s not likely. You could, however, put down 5 years or 10 years. Be honest with yourself and what you’re willing to do, but also push yourself to do and be better.

Step 3: Identify the needle-movers

Now, look at your 1-5 year goals. These are your big focus points, especially your 1 year goals. Decide which of these are the MOST important to you. That is, what will change your life the most; what are the biggest needle-movers?

Keep in mind that it’s not the case that you are ignoring your other goals or that you won’t accomplish those, but that you are going to put your focus on certain goals for a designated amount of time for maximum efficiency.

Remember, you only have 24 hours in a day, so at some point something’s going to have to give. This exercise is intended for you to fully maximize your potential without leading to overwhelm.

Step 4: Narrow your focus

I just did this step the other day with one of my goals for the next six months. I am coming out of a lean bulking phase and now I want to cut down enough body fat so that my abs are visible. That’s the larger goal for the end of 2019, but I need a specific plan for how to achieve this. Without a specific plan, we become lost. I talked about SMART goal setting in my a prior post. Knowing that I want my abs to be visible by the end of 2019, I now have a time frame for achieving that goal. That’s the easy part, and you’ve already done that by picking out your one-year goals. You have a larger time-frame for your goals, so now you need to narrow your focus.

You must determine the specifics for how you are going to achieve that goal. Going back to my example, I broke my goal down into monthly, weekly, and daily things that I can do to achieve it. I first determined what body fat percentage I would probably have to be at to see my abs, then what weight that would be for my proportions, how many pounds I would have to lose over the course of the next couple months, how many calories I would have to cut per week, and finally how many calories I would have to cut per day. My goal just became a whole lot more manageable and attainable because now I know exactly what I have to do to achieve it. Take your LARGE life goal and break it down into manageable chunks: years, months, weeks, days, specific activities.

You might be thinking, “That’s great, but I already know how to achieve one goal. I need to know how to achieve multiple goals at the same time.” If so, I hear you, and I’ve got you covered. Let’s get into that.

What about multiple goals at the same time?

Break down all of your most important, needle-moving one-year goals into monthly and weekly goals. Now, determine how much spare time you have to work on all of these goals in a typical week. What spare time looks like is completely up to you. I’ve talked about the importance of taking time for yourself in a previous post, so I don’t want to rehash that here, but again, set yourself up to succeed. Don’t put yourself into a situation that you can’t keep up long-term. This should be sustainable.

Now that you know how much spare time you have and what you specifically need to do to achieve your one-year goals, start allocating time. For example, I have long-term goals for Rooted Awareness and I have specific tasks that will help me achieve those goals such as writing one blog post, posting one video per week, and making social media posts at least 5 times per week. This is manageable for me and sets me up to achieve my long-term goals. It might (and probably will) look completely different for you depending on your unique situation.

Note: Some goals don’t need to be worked on every single day, whereas others do. If you’re trying to learn a new language, it’s a good idea to practice daily. If you’re trying to reach a certain level of fitness, then it’s a good idea to take days off to recover.

Determine the specific tasks you need to do every week then determine what days of the week you will do those. If you really want to get specific, you can even determine the time of day you will do those. I’m not going to suggest this for everyone. For highly-organized people, this is for you. If you’re someone that gets paralyzed, anxious, or demotivated by a set schedule, then don’t do this, just have certain things that you will accomplish by the end of the week and stick with that.

Did you do it?

By breaking your goals down into chunks, they become a lot more manageable. You can see that you don’t need to just stick with one thing and work on that one thing every second of your spare time. You can work on a few things, as long as you get specific on what needs to be accomplished and the proper time frame for it. The amount that you can take on is completely individual; you need to figure out where your limit is. I hit my limit recently and had to put a few things on hold, and that’s completely okay. Remember, you’re not neglecting or giving up on your other goals; you’re taking the goals that will change your life the most right now and working on those first.

Don’t use this as an excuse to not pursue your dreams. Go for what you want. Don’t let your mind tempt you into thinking that some of your goals aren’t realistic or aren’t for you. Push yourself and go for what you want. The only way that you can fail is if you stop trying.

Author's Bio: 

Founder of Rooted Awareness, a company dedicated to providing others with the mental resources and strategies to succeed.