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How to Free Yourself from Unfinished Goals in 2018

How to Free Yourself from Unfinished Goals in 2018

“Ugh! I can’t believe that I gained 30 pounds in one month! That is it. I am going to finally hit the gym this month and take care of myself. No more sitting around the house and eating junk food. No more making excuses and continuing bad habits!”

*Purchases $100 worth of new gym clothes, a fancy gym membership, then proceeds to never use either*

Then 2 weeks later…

“HOW THE HECK DID I MANAGE TO EAT TWO SLEEVES OF OREOS IN 5 MINUTES?!”

Falling short of our own expectations is arguably one of the worst parts of being a human being. One week, we’re telling ourselves that we are going to make the type of money we deserve and meet our soulmate. The next, we’re working a job that we despise and swearing off love until we kick the bucket.

It seems to you like that’s the natural cycle of life. That’s perfect, if you enjoy missing out on the type of life that you could be living. But if you want to get out of this cycle, I will let you in on a little secret. You don’t have to engage in this type of self-sabotage at all.

Will it be difficult? Yes.

Will you wake up some days, wishing that you had absolutely no expectations for yourself? Definitely.

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Will it be worth it? Hell yes!

Meeting your own goals is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

Step 1: What Do You Want?

Goals are the least complicated part of this process. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish! That being said, all you have to do to begin moving towards your ideal life is to figure out what you want.

Are you not getting paid enough at work? Do you spend more time talking to the walls than you do your friends? Is there anything that you wish you could be doing in the world?

Great! Look at these issues and find a solution for them. Whatever it is that you feel you need to do to improve your life, write it down. In fact, let’s tackle it together right now. Grab a piece of paper and a writing utensil.

Do you have them? Perfect! Put a fun name at the top of the paper such as “Reaching my dreams” and add a couple of bullet points below the title. Now, I want you to clear your mind.

Imagine that, one day, you woke up without any time, monetary, or distance restrictions. Where are you going? Who are you seeing? What are you doing? More importantly, does every action in your vision feel absolutely exhilarating?

Come back to reality and think over everything that you just envisioned. What did you see? For example, my ideal day would consist of wandering every street throughout the world, spending my time with my loved ones, and performing in front of millions of people.

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What can I add to my bullet list that may reflect my vision? Here is a short example:

  • I want to be able to travel throughout the world with ease.
  • I want to become a musician.
  • I want to spend more time with the people who are important to me.

Of course, your own goals don’t have to be as extravagant as the ones listed above. It could be as simple as raising your annual salary from $30,000 to $40,000. Whatever goal you have, just make sure that it aligns with your desires. This is vital to the goal-setting and planning process.

Step 2: Analyze!

It’s great that you want to start making $40,000 a year. However, there is a big difference between dreaming about a $10,000 increase and actually working for it.

Motivation is the first thing you need to identify in your goals. If you know that you are going to give up on your goals a couple of months in, scrap your goal now. It is a waste of time to work towards something you are not going to complete.

The second thing that you need to make sure your goal has is specificity. How are you going to manifest that extra $10,000?

You’ve heard of SMART goals right? Specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timebound. Find out more about SMART goal here.

  • Is there anything that you could do around your place of employment to get a pay raise?
  • Do you have a side hustle that might be lucrative if you put more time and effort in?
  • How much will you have to earn per month to reach this goal?

It certainly seems like a lot of questions at first but you will thank yourself later. A good example of a specific goal related to the above might be, I want to earn an extra $10,000 this year by making $834/month through my t-shirt business. It’s specific, it’s actionable, and it is hopefully something that you are truly motivated to accomplish.

While it certainly seems easy because of the way I’ve mapped it out, it may be hard to create an actionable, specific goal when it finally comes time to do so. That’s why I’ve created my own Plan Your Ideal Freedom Year workshop that will help you do exactly that!

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In it, I discuss how to set a “theme” for upcoming year, manifesting daily success, and being intentional about where you truly want to be. For now though, let’s go through the third and final step of successful goal-setting and planning.

Step 3: Map It Out

In order to reach your goals, you have to have a plan.  But you don’t need to have it all figured out straight away. Let’s continue with the goal that I wrote in the previous section.

You want to make an extra $10,000 by earning $834 each month through your t-shirt business. This is a start but this is definitely not a plan.

There are plenty of variables that you need to look into if you plan on making this happen. For example, what is the monthly amount that you are currently earning with your t-shirt business?

  • How can you increase that amount?
  • How many t-shirts do you need to sell per month in order to reach $834?
  • How can you better market your business so that you are successful in selling that amount of t-shirts each month?

Let’s imagine that you are selling t-shirts for $20 each. Let’s also imagine that you are currently making around $60 each month with your business.

To reach your goal, you will have to sell around 39 shirts each month in addition to the three shirts that you are currently selling.

To sell that many shirts, you can start selling to people around your workplace, in your community, and start a Facebook Ads campaign to target your exact audience.

This may not apply to you specifically but you can see how well you need to develop your plan in order to reach your goals.

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Evaluate each step that needs to be taken, figure out what you have at your disposal to make it happen, and figure out what it is that you need in order to be successful.

Once you’ve reached that success using this method, you will never go back to your old habits. After all, losing that extra 30 pounds or hustling for that extra $10,000 will make you feel as though you’ve transcended your previous self, why would you want to return to the way that you were feeling before? Exactly. Success and accomplishment are the two biggest motivators that will drive you into this new stage of your life.

The most important part of this process, however, is to remember that everything is negotiable.

Goals are as ever-changing as we humans are. If you change your mind on what it is that you truly want, go back to the first step and work your way through them again.

In fact, this is highly recommended. The worst thing that you could possibly do to yourself is follow through on a goal that no longer speaks to you. It’ll put you farther away from your life path and create more work to do in the future.

For those of you who would like some assistance in this process, you can join me this month on my workshop. In this LIVE ‘doing’ workshop, I will help you create actionable goals for 2018 and plan out your entire year in 2 hours! There is even some bonus content that visitors will receive in order to get the most out of this coming year.

Thinking about your resolutions for 2018? Check out this article: If You Want to Get Bigger Things Done in 2018, Read This

Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

More by this author

Natalie Sisson

Best Selling Author of The Suitcase Entrepreneur, CEO, Speaker, Global Adventurer

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Therefore, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s time to do something about it.

Here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm, leaving you calmer, in control, and a lot less stressed at work.

1. Write Everything Down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when work feels overwhelming is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s occupying your thoughts[1].

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind, write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind.”

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have emptied your head, go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. You can learn how to create a more meaningful to-do list here.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago to help when work feels overwhelming. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and we humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take[2]:

When feeling overwhelmed at work, use Parkinson's Law.

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad. It’s more wishful thinking than bad judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage when we’re feeling overwhelmed at work. If you have estimated that to write five important emails will take ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is that you put yourself under a little time pressure, and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time, so it plays tricks on us, and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our team members to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening, and we get more focused and more work done. This will help when work feels overwhelming.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos to avoid getting overwhelmed at work. Schedule time for each task, especially high priority tasks, while also grouping together similar tasks. This will help relieve stress and anxiety in your daily work life.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done, and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer, and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one[3]. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend, or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss or a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and will only make you feel more overwhelmed at work. You need to make a decision to deal with it, and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved.

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed, and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend about the problem.

    He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem, and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I pay a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first was: don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second: there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we are feeling overwhelmed at work (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

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    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

    It also means that, rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible, and you can make decisions about what to do about them.

    Often, it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be that you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    When work feels overwhelming, it’s not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work. It can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    It’s easy to feel like you have too much on your plate, but there are things you do to make it more manageable. 

    Make a decision, even if it’s just talking to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution.

    When you follow these strategies, you can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

    Reference

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