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Last Updated on April 14, 2020

How To Set Your Goals And Achieve Them Without Stress

How To Set Your Goals And Achieve Them Without Stress

Setting and achieving goals do come with a lot of responsibilities, but this does not mean that they have to be unnecessarily stressful. Too much stress can impact your physical and mental health. It can reduce your productivity and stop your growth. If you want to avoid stress while you strive to achieve your goals, then the way you set your goals matters a lot.

From setting your goals to achieving them, the following are some proven steps that will help you achieve unprecedented success and still minimize stress.

1. Leverage the Power of Imagination

Leveraging the power of your imagination in this context means using mind pictures to think about areas of your life, where you want to be, and what goals you should set to get there. Being confused about which goals to set can lead to setting the wrong goals, and pursuing the wrong goals can lead to wasted time and frustration.

However, when you take quality time out to set your goals using the power of thoughtfulness and imagination, you will be able to identify the things that are important for you to accomplish. Therefore, when you decide you want to set your goals, find an environment that can inspire you and boost your creative and imaginative power.

2. Align Your Goals With Your Purpose

Several studies have pointed out that people tend to get to achieve their goals when those goals have roots in their life purpose.[1] A life purpose is something that your entire life is designed to achieve. It is the thing that drives and motivates you to get out of bed every day and hit the ground running.

If you have not yet identified the purpose of your life, then your first priority is to discover that purpose.

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When you have discovered your purpose, then align your goals with the purpose. Your personal, career, financial, and family goals, etc. should actually stem out of your purpose. Everything should fit into the ultimate agenda for your life.

It’s just like building a house. Every unit is placed together to bring out the beauty of a masterpiece called a building.

3. Prioritize Your Goals and Focus on One Goal

Because of natural human limitations, no one can effectively achieve multiple goals at a time. This is why it is important to prioritize your goals.

Start with writing a list of goals that you want to accomplish. Write out everything that you think is important to you. Then, rank each goal based on how important they are to the next stage of your life purpose and plan. Arrange them in order of rank and importance and focus on one goal at a time. When you have achieved one, you can move on to the next goal on your list.

4. Make Your Goal SMART

After picking a goal you want to work on, the next thing is to make it SMART. This means that the goal should be stated in Specific terms, with clear objectives that are Measurable and within Attainable range. It must also be Realistic, not just something premised only on hope. All these should be within a Timeframe that will align with your life’s progress.

Knowing how to set SMART Goals will help you get the job done as you get a clear-cut direction on your goals.

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5. Break Down Your Goal Into Milestones

Achieving your goal will be significantly easier if you learn to focus on smaller units of the goal rather than the whole goal itself. This means that you can break down your goals into smaller units that you can complete in the short-term.

For example, if you have the goal to self publish a book in a year, you can break your goal into milestones to make it achievable. This includes activities like creating and researching your book idea, creating the outlines, researching the potential content, writing the manuscript, getting someone to edit it, peer review and endorsements, graphics design, publishing and marketing, etc.[2].

Each of your milestones should have a timeframe within which they should be completed.

6. Develop an Action Plan

Your action plan has to do with the strategy and tactics you put in place, and the series of tasks you will have to execute to achieve your goal. You will need all these if you don’t want to get stuck while striving to achieve your goal.

You can develop more than one action plan or have alternative plans apart from your main plan. You can concentrate on implementing the main plan and only use the alternative plans when the need arises.

Your plans can fail while pursuing your goal, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change it. You can be flexible with your methods and strategies instead of changing or giving up on your goal. Always be creative in finding new ways to mitigate the challenges you may encounter along the way.

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7. Keep Yourself on Track

Among other things that are required to achieve your goals, maintaining focus and keeping yourself on track is very important. Make use of all the available resources around you to ensure that you are constantly on the path of achieving your goal. Below are some useful ideas:

Create the Right Environment

Being in the right state of mind and in the right physical environment are essential to achieving your goals. You need to be in a place and around people that will inspire you and support your dreams. This also includes making time for your goals, a time free from other distractions.

Make Use of Motivational Techniques for Optimum Performance

Whatever you set out to achieve, you will need to get motivated for optimum performance. There are different motivational techniques that you can adopt for this. An example is having a vision board, a collection of images and text that points in the direction of your goal and motivates you to take action every day. You can also have a collection of texts and quotes written by you or someone else and use them as affirmative words to speak positively about achieving your goals.

Ask Someone to Help You Be Accountable

Another way to keep yourself on track to achieve your goals is to have someone to be accountable for you. This person is someone who believes in your dream and is happy to see you achieve your goals.

To start, share your goals, plans, and your timeline with the person. Then, have a regular schedule of discussing your progress with the person.

Celebrate Small Wins

Success, they say, begets success. If you win small, you have the tendency to win big. One of the ways to keep focused and stay motivated is by celebrating small wins and rewards.

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First, you have to learn to identify the small wins. This can be the completion of a task or a milestone. Do not wait until you win big to applaud yourself. Celebrate the small wins and it will inspire you to do something greater and better.

Final Thoughts

The goal of this article is to show you that you can set and achieve your goals without going through the stress that most people go through. By carefully choosing your goals and aligning them with your life purpose, focusing on one goal at a time, and making it SMART, you will be on the right track towards achieving your goals.

In addition, working on milestones that create short term rewards will keep you on track and motivated to achieve your bigger goal. Lastly, when you encounter difficulties while working to achieve your goal, try changing your action plans instead of up giving up on your goal.

More Tips on Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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