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Last Updated on August 3, 2020

How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

“I’m living in a real-life groundhogs day?” is my first thought as I begin another bleary-eyed morning, puttering around trying to muster up the energy to do something. The ideas fly around in my head like busy cars through a spaghetti junction; it feels crowded and chaotic. My attempts to grab onto an idea and hold it long enough to do something are futile.

Before I knew what hit me, I’ve thrown on my Sweatpants, turned on the TV, become mentally exhausted, and have started battling the waves of remorse—all before noon. Sounds familiar?

Everyone gets stuck in a rut from time to time. While it looks different for each of us, it can manifest in our thoughts like this: “Man I have so much stuff to do right now….but I really don’t know where to start,” or “Gosh I really need to get to work on these projects, but I really don’t have the juice to get going.”

The combined self-doubt and guilt that results from knowing that you should be taking action but aren’t can be paralyzing. The only way to climb out of your rut is to start taking action towards your goals right now.

But how to take action towards your goals?

Here are 5 steps to help you climb out of that rut and take action on your goals right now.

1. Reconnect With Your Goal

What are you actually trying to accomplish? Be specific.

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Are you trying to get a raise, promotion, new job offer, create a new product, change your diet, expand your business, or establish a new habit?

It can be difficult to get focused enough to take action if you have forgotten exactly what it is that you are trying to do.

Take a moment and visualize your goal:

  • See yourself accomplishing it—what is the experience like, how do you feel as you are working towards it, what obstacles do you see coming up?
  • Think about how it will feel once you accomplish it—remind yourself what you have to gain from accomplishing this goal as well as what’s at stake if you don’t accomplish it.

Taking a moment to reflect on these important questions will help to reorient and ground you.

2. Identify Your Why

What is the reason you want to achieve this goal? You will often hear this referred to as your “Big Why.” Identifying your WHY is the key to getting out of the rut and unlocking your ability to take action towards your goals.[1]

You need a deep understanding of your WHY to do what it takes to reach the finish line. It is the reason that you are able to commit your time, effort, and resources to accomplish this goal even when things are not going as planned.

Not sure what your “WHY” is? Take some time to brainstorm all the reasons you want to accomplish the goal. You may come across some that are obvious but superficial reasons, like making money or buying that house you always wanted. Those reasons are not your “WHY”.

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Instead, think about why you want to make money or buy that house: Is it because you want to provide a strong future for your family? Are you someone who wants to give back to the community? Are you deeply connected to helping other people succeed? Do you want to effect change in the world? The deeper reason is your “WHY”.

Once you identify your “WHY”, it is easier to find the energy to get motivated and take necessary action.

3. Make It Real, Write It Down

When you write your goals down, you are 42% more likely to achieve them.[2] When you write things down, you’re forced to think about them. The visual representation of your goal serves as a reminder whenever you lose focus and a point of orientation when you feel lost.

Lastly from a learning perspective, your brain may respond better to the physical activity of writing the goal than the abstract activity of contemplating the goal.

Take the time to write down your goals. Here’s how:

  • Decide if you want to focus on quarterly or monthly goals.
  • Identify the projects and resources necessary to accomplish that goal.
  • Break those projects up into a chronology of tasks.
  • Allow those tasks to become your weekly goals. Write them down at the beginning of each week.
  • Use your weekly goals to inform your daily goals. Each morning, check in with your daily goals.

At first, it can take a while because you’re not used to putting them down on paper. Be patient and keep at it. Over time, these practices will become much easier, and you’ll eventually learn to take action toward your goals.

4. Tell a Friend

Sometimes the best thing you can do is tell on yourself. When you share your goals with others, it allows you to hold yourself accountable in a new way. You are more likely to take action toward your goal if you know that your friend will be following up with you about it.

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One way to do this is to recruit an accountability partner. Someone who you know is also working on achieving goals that might be similar to yours or facing similar challenges on their success journey. You can set up a time once a week or once every other week to check-in and share your progress.

You would be surprised how much insight, inspiration, and motivation comes from partnering up with someone else who is hard at work trying to accomplish their goals, too. Not only will you get the benefit of being held accountable, but you will also get the opportunity to exercise your active listening and problem-solving skills as you help to hold your friend accountable.

5. Anticipate the Internal Push Back

It’s not easy to leave your comfort zone. It’s cozy and safe. But nothing great ever came from playing it safe. Our species has evolved by taking risks.

So, what happens when you want to take new action but you’re already in the comfort zone of inaction? There is a total internal freakout.

Yet, if you know it’s going to happen, it’s less unsettling. It’s like when you get a tattoo or a piercing, you know it’s going to hurt so you mentally prepare yourself to push through it anyway.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to handle the internal push back you will experience.

Meditation, Yoga, Mantra, and Mindfulness practices are great ways to start to tune-in to yourself. YogaGlo, Insight Timer, Headspace, The Chopra Centers Website, and IanBoccio.com are great places to explore these concepts more.

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Ultimately, the more connected you are with yourself the better equipped you will be to bravely step beyond your comfort zone.

One Small Step Starts an Avalanche

Planning, writing, talking, and reflecting are important, but nothing beats action. After all, you are reading this article because you want to take steps to take action toward your goals right now. Now, it’s time to take one small intentional step towards your goal.

You have already broken your goals down into smaller projects and turn broken those into a chronology of tasks. Now, it’s time to get strategic and start planning your action.

Luckily, you’ve already identified what tasks need to happen first. Grab your calendar, scheduling app, and make an appointment with yourself to complete the first task.

The completion of that task is a small step that will start an avalanche momentum. Keep setting time aside each day to work on your goal-related tasks. Before you know it, you’ll be looking back reflecting on how far you’ve come.

Final Thoughts

Goals without action are just good ideas. It can be difficult to take action if you are in a rut, especially if it feels like the entire planet is in the rut too.

Luckily, there are things you can do to get out of your rut: remember to reconnect with your specific goal, identify your big “WHY”—the deep reason that motivates you to pursue the goal, write your goals down, share your goals with your friends, and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of an accountability partner.

Don’t be afraid of the internal resistance—it’s inevitable. Be brave and face it head-on. Lastly, get strategic and plan to take action. One small step can lead to an avalanche of progress.

More Tips About Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

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Awilda Rivera

Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

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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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