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Last Updated on July 21, 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 September 22, 2020

How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

You have probably heard the success stories about people who wake up early. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, and Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle all talk about the positive impact of waking up early on their lives.

Even though many assign a portion of their success to waking up early, many find it difficult to make the switch. While most people know what needs to happen to change their life, they find then difficult to implement consistently. To understand how to wake up early, you need to tap into the wisdom of those already doing it.

Here are the 6 things early risers do:

1. Stop Procrastinating

The first thing you need to do when you want to learn how to wake up early is to go to sleep earlier. Stop procrastinating. You will find it much easier to wake up when you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Set a bedtime that allows you to get 8-hours of sleep and hold yourself accountable.

The problem most of you will have at first is how tired you will feel. If you are someone who goes to sleep after midnight, waking up by 6 a.m. will not be easy. The reason you need to push through that initial difficulty is that you are going to be very tired at the end of the day. Realistically, you probably would fall asleep at your desk or doze off on your lunch break. Either way, waking up early no matter how you feel will motivate you to go sleep at the proper time that night.

Think of it as someone who procrastinated until the night before their project was due. Having done this myself, you do what you need to do to complete the project, whether that means working all night or cutting some corners because you don’t have time to triple-check your work.

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After you turn in your project, you feel both exhaustion and jubilation. After you make it through the workday and crash at home, you promise yourself you’ll never wait until the last minute again. This same feeling will happen when you force yourself to wake up early no matter what time you went to sleep. You are going to promise yourself you will go to bed at the right time.

Most people don’t go to bed when they should because they know they will ultimately make it up in the morning.

2. Pace Yourself

If you want to start waking up a couple of hours earlier each day, you may not be able to make that change all at once. It stands to reason the more drastic the shift, the more difficult it will be.

So, instead of trying to adjust your sleep pattern by several hours, start in 15-minute or 30-minute intervals.[1] If you wake up 30 minutes earlier each week, you will be a morning person by the end of the month. This may feel like you are drawing out your goal but in reality, you are accomplishing it much quicker than most. Most people who are naturally night owls find it difficult to completely change their sleep habits overnight.

Think of it as someone who is trying to quit drinking coffee. Outside of the fact you may enjoy the taste of coffee, your body is used to operating with a certain amount of caffeine and sugar. Some will be able to quit overnight and their body will adjust accordingly. And if you are one of those people, then do what works for you.

However, if you were to take an incremental approach, then you may first start drinking your coffee black. Then, you could switch to decaf before slowly lowering the amount of coffee you drink each day. As you can see, this approach will help minimize the feeling of withdrawal while getting the results you want.

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3. Watch Your Lighting

Light reduces your body’s production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. In practical terms, your body naturally wants to be awake when the sun is up and go to sleep when the sun is down. This is called your circadian rhythm.

In the technology-driven world we currently live in, you likely look at a screen or two before bed. Studies show television and phone screens trick your body into thinking the sun is up. As a result, your body starts producing less melatonin. To help you fall asleep, you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed.

This can also mean that if you want to wake up before the sun, looking at your screen when you wake up can help you to stay awake.

Peter Balyta, the President of Education Technology for Texas Instruments says he wakes up at 5:20 a.m. and scans his emails before starting his day. This is also true for M.I.T. president L. Rafael Rief. He wakes up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. and checks his phone for anything urgent.[2]

4. Make It Worth Your Time

Have you ever woken up early but went back to sleep because you didn’t have a reason to stay up? To put it another way, have you ever fallen asleep because you didn’t have anything better to do?

If you want to be excited about going to sleep and waking up early, then you need to give yourself a reason to be excited. You can accomplish this by listing the three things you want to accomplish the next morning. Notice I said “want” and not “need” to accomplish. You don’t want to be dragging yourself into the next morning kicking and screaming.

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Your list should not only include what you want to accomplish but also why you want to accomplish it. If you want to take it a step further, list the consequences of not waking up early.

People who have figured out how to wake up early are shown to be more successful, persistent, and proactive in their life. They tend to be happier and handle stress better. It is also shown that people who wake up early procrastinate less.[3] If you find any of these benefits something you want to add in your life, then waking up early is shown to help.

5. Avoid Binging

There is a difference between sleeping and getting a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can drink alcohol and fall asleep, but you will not be getting quality rest. You will wake up feeling as though you slept for only a couple hours.

It is best to stop drinking at least 4 hours before bedtime. Binge drinking is known to impact your sleep-inducing melatonin hormone levels for up to a week. The same holds true with eating a large meal right before bed. It is not that your body can’t process food and sleep at the same time. The main concern has more to do with the possibility of indigestion or heartburn than anything else.

If you find yourself dealing with either of these symptoms, then you may want to stop eating at least two hours before bed.

6. Get the Blood Flowing

Those who have mastered the technique of how to wake up early tend to start each morning with movement.

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Your first movement is to get out of bed. To help you get out of bed, have your alarm far enough away that you need to get up and turn it off. Before you allow yourself to contemplate going back to sleep, take a moment, and do 10 push-ups or 10 jumping jacks. Think of each exercise as you taking one step further from being able to go back to sleep.

Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning. She starts each day by exercising. Her exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and cycling.

You decide for yourself how you want to get your blood flowing. Whether you want to go on a walk, workout at the gym, or do something at home, make sure you are scheduling time to exercise.

Final Thoughts

The key to understanding how to wake up early is to recognize that it is heavily driven by the actions you take the night before. You will wake up early if you go to bed at a good time and get the proper amount of sleep.

By taking the time to prepare yourself both mentally and physically each night, you can ensure you are positioned for success the next morning. Once you have taken the proper actions the night before, make sure you use that momentum to start your day, on time.

The goal is to make the actions you want to take as easy as possible. The key to changing your life is to discover a way to have the wind at your back, going in the direction you want.

More Tips on How to Wake up Early

Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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