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Published on July 6, 2020

How to Develop a Strong Goal Setting Mindset

How to Develop a Strong Goal Setting Mindset

When you are feeling stuck with your goals, many solutions come to mind. Perhaps you need to read some books or consider other strategies to complete your goals. But another avenue to consider is to develop your goal setting mindset.

Like with everything in the self-improvement world and beyond, mindset matters. How you view your problems and your overall belief and thinking process can dictate many things. Some are more direct while others we won’t see further down the line.

With this in mind, here are some things you can consider when you are developing or growing a goal setting mindset.

Why Does Mindset Matter?

Knowing your mindset is one thing, but it’s another to know why it’s worth the effort. Why is it worth investing your time and effort into it?

The biggest reason is what was mentioned above: your overall path is dictated by your mindset, which is influenced by how you see the world. It is your overall mindset that is going to dictate your success or failure, how you cope with challenges, and more.[1]

It’s not to say all you need is a mindset to achieve success, but your mindset will affect every aspect of your life and will guide you forward.

If your mindset states that your job is terrible or that you won’t get very far, you’ll act accordingly. You won’t be working as hard or have little energy because you spend so much time dwelling on the fact your job is tiring or unfulfilling.

On the reverse, if you believe your work is purposeful, energizing, and fulfilling, you’ll wake up with potentially more energy and be generally happy to do work. There is always going to be some action – or inaction – based on your mindset.

How this translates to a goal setting mindset is that how you set, work, and achieve those goals is based on your view of the world. The actions and the specific details of those actions are all dictated by your view of your goals.

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It’s why some people who achieve a big goal feel stuck after they achieve it. Some people were only focused on one goal and didn’t diversify or have other things to aspire for.

All the same, some people will struggle because somewhere along the line, how you view yourself, your process, your goal, or any other aspect may not be ideal for you.

How Can I Develop A Goal-Setting Mindset?

As mentioned before, chances are likely that part of your goal setting mindset is flawed or it’s not serving you well. It’s used as a mental roadblock, and you use excuses to either ignore it and try to move on or feel paralyzed. You want to complete it but end up getting frustrated or come up with some excuse to not do it.

Like with most things, this is something that you can fix, and part of it is to develop your mindset further or differently. The series of actions you can do for this are numerous so there’s no superior method. Select one – or more – from the suggestions below and see what they can do for you.

1. Rethink Your Purpose

This can be broken into two sections: the goal itself and the reason to pursue this goal.

It’s these two particular aspects that shape your goal and can dictate your overall attitude.

Are you setting this goal because it makes you feel good? Or are you setting this goal because you want or need to achieve this?

Once you set goals that mean a lot to you and that you want to work towards, you’ll be able to tell the difference between these two aspects better. But the most notable difference between feel-good goals and actual goals is the desire to complete them.

This is where the second aspect kicks in – your reason, your why for starting. You’ll find feel-good goals don’t have a strong reason. It’s something that you can delay and you don’t consider the consequences. It’s something you can do later.

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But if your reason is deep enough, you’ll consider the goal and the tasks associated with it critical to your life. It’s the difference between you feeling satisfied with yourself at the end of the day or down. It’s something you always have to do no matter what.

Goals, in the end, are your purposes in life. They shouldn’t be dictated by outside forces. Make sure that the goals that you have are things that you really want to achieve.

2. Don’t Try, Make It Happen

Even the way you word things in your head or your speech can dictate your actions as well. Many people will say for their resolutions that they will “try” to do something. They never use “I will.” What happens after that is predictable. Three months later, they’re nowhere near their goal.

The problem in this case is the level of commitment one has to their goals in the first place. Like the previous point, if you’re lacking commitment, you’re not going to dig deep for a personal reason to do something. You’ll say things but not mean any of it.

My suggestion is to shift your mindset where you are more focused on making things happen. If you are committed to something, take the action and trust that you’ll get somewhere with this.

3. Look for Progression in Many Places

Naturally, progression towards a goal is great, and people want to see themselves moving the needle. But checking progress all the time can be bad as well.

What if you’re not progressing as quickly as you want or your expectations are too high for the results you received?

These things can cause people to lose motivation or feel like they’re wasting time going nowhere and give up. It’s during this time where I suggest that you look for progress in other areas.

For example, people can often get demoralized when their goal is to lose weight and notice that the weight scale isn’t changing much or at all despite their efforts. While most people give up or get discouraged, consider looking at other areas of your life. Do you find certain movements to be easier? Have you made any lifestyle changes? Are specific tasks easier to do?

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The point is by exercising, you may not be losing weight right now, but you are developing your muscles further and making them better than before.

Another way to look at this is to remind yourself that you are making more progress than someone who is still thinking of doing something rather than doing it – even if it doesn’t seem like it.

4. Upgrade Yourself

Sometimes you set ambitious goals – goals that are seemingly impossible to achieve right at this moment. That’s okay. The key to set larger goals is to understand that some goals demand a certain level of quality from you.

Recognize that to achieve some goals, perhaps you need to refine your skills in certain areas or to acquire new skills altogether. Whatever the case is, look at the various aspects needed to achieve what you want. Don’t be afraid to do some research and see what other people are talking about on the matter.

5. Tell Yourself It’s Okay to Fail

Another key aspect of a goal setting mindset is to understand that failure is okay. As much as you want to achieve a goal in one try, chances are you won’t. You’re going to fail or stall out or something.

The key is to not see these moments as something really bad. They’re setbacks sure, but it’s not the end of the road. All that’s needed from you at this point is to make some changes to your existing structure – how you are planning goals, setting goals, and taking action on them.

Remind yourself that failure is an opportunity for you to make things better than they were before. It’s a chance to regroup and make things better for you and that much easier to achieve your goals in the future. The only real downside is that failure can be a harsh blow to you at first.

6. Have Healthy Habits

While your goals are definitely important, it’s also worth looking at the other habits that you are developing.

For example, if your goal is to run a successful social media business or anything that demands you to be in front of a screen, chances are you’re exposing yourself to a lot of screen time.

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It’s easy for people to overindulge in those aspects and develop habits that cause them to be unproductive or distracted by other things. Furthermore, committing to time on a screen can translate to other aspects of their life declining as well.

The idea with this strategy is to look at what healthy habits do you have in your life and how much are they addressing your other aspects of life. This doesn’t just apply to things like eating healthy or exercising. Look at how much time you spend time with your partner, other people, and yourself.

7. Believe in Yourself

The last suggestion to develop a stronger goal setting mindset is to believe in yourself. As cheesy as it is, there is weight placed on your belief of yourself. It all comes back to your mindset.

If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re not going to be as committed to something. You might even look at your failures as reasons to never try something like that again because it ended horribly due to your supposed lack of skill.

It’s easy to think that way and lead to a downward spiral of negativity, but deep down, you know that negativity isn’t true. All that you have to do is find a way to believe in yourself more and to keep working at it.

It’s surprising what sheer persistence and adaptability can do for you in accomplishing a goal. And it all starts with believing in yourself.

Final Thoughts

The ways of developing a goal setting mindset are endless, but each one is powerful in their own way. They can bring all kinds of revelations and understanding of how you are setting goals and how you can do them better to serve you.

From these methods alone, it’s easy to see how a mindset can change your entire attitude towards goals, so do consider trying these out. It could very well lead you to new heights and achievements.

More Tips for Building a Success Mindset

Featured photo credit: Franciele da Silva via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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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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