Setting goals is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you're constantly improving and moving forward in life. While it's awesome to be happy in the present moment, and content with the way things are, it's easy to grow stagnate if you have nothing to strive for. Unfortunately goal setting can be overwhelming. There are so many different areas to focus on….career, family, health, finances, your physical and spiritual goals….it's always easier to work on setting goals tomorrow. Ahhh…tomorrow, the magical day when everything will get done.
If sitting down and writing out your 1-5 year plan makes your head want to explode, start small with a daily mini-goal sheet. This is basically a to-do list, but by writing out your daily goals (yes, you have to write them out instead of making a list in your head) you'll be training your brain for success. When you write things down on paper it makes them real and concrete. If you feel the need to save a tree and do this digitally, it will still work but I find good old fashioned paper and ink work best.
1.Get yourself a nice, new notebook and a snazzy pen used specifically for your daily goal list. They don't have to be expensive. You can find a small blank journal at the dollar store with a decorative cover, and a decent pen there as well. I have a hard cover spiral bound note book with pretty flowers on the cover and a black gel writer pen. I love the colours and pattern on the book, and the pen feels good in my hand and writes beautifully. Don't cheap out and buy the 20pack of pens for $1 and a boring ol' journal. You want to send a message to your subconscious that this is something special and worthwhile.
2.Choose a specific time to write out your list. You can do this first thing in the morning, or at night but set aside a certain time that you're going to write out your goals. Once again, you're sending a signal to yourself that this is important. Creating a daily routine will ensure you get in the habit of regular goal setting, and make it less likely that you'll skip a day.
3. Time to make your list! You don't have to write out every single thing you need to do in a day, but pick 7-10 things you'd like to get done. The key to this exercise is to choose things you can easily accomplish. These can be small steps towards a larger goal, or regular day to day activities. You want to choose things that you know you can get finished and cross off your list.
Here's an example:
1. walk dog
2. make a green smoothie
3. stretch for 10min
4. pack lunch for work
5. scoop kitty litter
7. take dog to dog park
8. run for 30 minutes
9. do laundry
Pretty exciting stuff I know. When you've completed a task on your list, cross it off , put a check mark beside it, or highlight it. You can do this as you complete things, or at the end of the day. The important thing is to do this consistently and finish everything on your list. If you're having a hard time getting things finished, pick easier goals or cut back on the amount of things on your list.
Yes this seems mind-numbingly boring, but there's a purpose. By setting small, attainable mini-goals (and accomplishing them) you're programming yourself to achieve things you set out to do. Every time you cross off an item on your list there's a little voice inside you that's telling your brain "yay! look at me go! I set out to do something and I did it! woo-hoo! go me!!". You're prepping yourself to achieve bigger and better goals. It's like training for the big game, or running a marathon. Athletes don't jump into a playoff game without plenty of practice sessions and regular games leading up to the finals. A marathon runner doesn't start off at 26 miles, they start with running one mile. The same is true with goal setting. Sure you may want to lose 50lbs, start your own business, and end world hunger, but it all begins with one small step.
Once you get in the habit of setting mini-goals for a week or two, you'll automatically want to raise the bar a little higher and challenge yourself. Then it's time to plan some larger goals and start breaking them down into smaller chunks that you can add to your daily list. When you start taking baby steps in the right direction and continually move forward, you'll be a lean, mean, goal setting machine in no time.