Goal setting can be kind of a stressful endeavour.
There’s this pressure to renew yourself, to better yourself and to achieve (or at least set out to achieve) some pretty ginormous things.
And you know what all that pressure adds up to? Anxiety baby!
But there are better ways ways to chase your dreams! Goals don’t have to feel like stressful undertakings. And perfectionism can suck it!
You can rework your approach to goals and make it a much less stressful, far more enjoyable experience! Let’s talk about it…
When Goals Hurt
It’s good to dream big! Big dreams are wonderful. Unrealistic, monumental goals aren’t so much. Vowing to make huge, unrealistic changes can not only set you up for failure, but cause a ton of stress. Oof, no thanks! When you set the stakes too high you may set yourself up for a ton of pain.
So Are Big Goals a Bad Idea?
Heck no! Dreaming and working to achieve the things that excite you are wonderful. But there are a few key factors that can make all the difference, set you up for success and reduce the stress.
Here are 5 tips that can help:
5 Goal Setting Tips
1. Know The Difference Between Inner And Outer Goals
The distinction between these two babies is pretty freaking important. So what are they?
Achievements that appear successful to the outside world. They might fit into a cultural ideal, please your family or simply be perceived as good by those around you.
Focus on how you want to feel and what you want to achieve, regardless of outer perceptions.
Sometimes outer and inner goals align, and that’s fantastic.
But inner goals should be your main focus. This is your life after all, you should be building something you’re excited about.
If you aren’t sure where your goals stand on the inner/outer goal spectrum, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you hoping to achieve this for you or those around you?
- Does this goal align with the life that you want to create for yourself?
- Do you feel pressured to achieve this goal?
- When you close your eyes and imagine achieving this goal, do you feel fulfilled?
2. Embrace A ‘Less Is More’ Mentality
You might be tempted to have a list of goals ten pages long and start achieving the big things stat! But a long, strenuous, life changing to-do list will only lead to panic and potentially inaction. Because it’s just too dang much!
When you set out like this you may be biting off way more than you can chew, and that only leads to a burn out. So narrow it down and focus on a couple of things that are essential and/or excite you.
You can even take big goals and break them down into achievable steps, building up towards the major accomplishment.
3. Go With The Flow
You know that feeling when you’re completely in the zone? Fully immersed in your work, creating pure genius and feeling super excited about it? That’s the flow state! And that kind of goodness can’t be planned, it’s often caused by improvisation and focus.
When you’re in a state of flow, uninhibited by your own inner critic, you become more creative and expressive. And some pretty darn cool accomplishments can come out of that.
Sound too good to be true?
According to a study by John Hopkins Researchers, the spontaneity and creativity of the flow state allows observing jazz musicians to improvise amazing music! (source)
So set a few inner goals, but don’t over goal yourself and lose the opportunity to create a flow that allows you to create something authentic, unexpected and completely yours.
4. Realize It’s About Progress, Not Perfection
Oh perfection. That mean little word holds so many of us back. And I get it. It affects everyone from time to time. Goodness, the perfection bug bites me sometimes too in my work here. It an really hold you back! But perfection isn’t only impossible, it’s unauthentic and down right harmful.
Perfection undermines you in so many ways.
- Sometimes it stops you from even getting started in the first place, because the idea of perfecting something is so daunting and panic inducing that you feel like you shouldn’t even bother trying.
- The pressures of perfection might burn you out while you try to reach it’s impossible heights.
- It may cause you toss in the cards and give up.
And while it’s definitely ok to give up sometimes (we’ll talk more about that in a sec), I bet we wouldn’t do it as often if the pressure of being perfect weren’t there.
So let’s take a deep breath together and let the idea of perfection go. Let’s focus on progress instead, shall we?
When your goal setting is all about progress and not about perfection, you add a ton of joy and discovery to your ventures. Progress cheers you on. It stems from an open minded place and sometimes even leads you in directions you never could have discovered under the pressures of perfection.
5. Give Yourself Ample Time
You know what else can cause a ton of pressure and anxiety? Time constraints.
If you’re anything like me, the crushing feeling of too much to do and too little time to do it is outright painful. And you know how we often deal with that kind of blunder? We steal time from other areas, like sleep or self-care. That’s never good for our well-being.
It’s important to be realistic in your goal setting and give yourself the time and space you need to feel safe and secure enough to achieve them. And it really doesn’t hurt to add extra time to the plan too, just in case.
Life is full of surprises and sometimes things take longer to build than you anticipated. A little leeway can do a long way.
6. It’s Ok To Change Your Mind
You may find yourself halfway through your goal and feeling unfulfilled. Don’t panic.
Pause for a moment, reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you had set out to do in the first place. If the goal no longer aligns with your path, don’t be afraid to let it go. (If you need a little help reflecting, meditation is a huge help).
You are not bound to these dreams. Sometimes you’ll outgrow things and that’s ok. Don’t be afraid to walk away from something that no longer serves you, even if it’s your own dreams. You are allowed to outgrow goals before they are achieved.
I promise you, there are new adventures waiting just around the corner.
Be gentle with yourself as you achieve those dreams. You’re doing great! And it’s ok if things take time. Little by little we go so far. Even the baby steps matter.
Now it’s your turn – what goal setting tips would you add to the list? How do you pursue your goals in a healthy way? Share with us in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I will pursue my dreams in a way that is loving and respectful towards myself.
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