There are a few reasons why my goals seem to carry forward from year to year, maybe you can relate to some of my behaviours:
- I make the goal too big - I tend to focus on the end result which can seem immense and too long term and even though I break it down, it all seems pretty remote from daily life and far too over-complicated.
- I'm impatient - I want it all now (and who doesn't). So, it doesn't take me long to decide that my approach isn't working and I just give up. Now many goal-setting gurus will tell you to focus on the end result, but all that does for me is bring to my attention how far I have to go and how much I have to do - not very motivating.
- I get easily distracted - once I decide what I want to achieve, I'm constantly on the look-out for faster, easier ways to achieve the result. Google is not my friend! I find myself jumping from one system or technique to another in an effort to get there quicker or easier (or, if I'm being perfectly honest, avoiding doing anything altogether).
- I have too many goals - more of the "want everything now" mentality! But the consequence is that I have too much to do and end up doing nothing or getting confused and demotivated, because big goals with lots of tasks mean big lists with lots of work!
- I get fed up tracking my progress - one of the consequences of being great at planning and less interested implementation is that I end up with a huge list of goals and tasks to track. And it's bad enough doing the work, but tracking it is just tedious - I know it should be motivational, but again it just leaves me seeing how much there is still to do.
- I lose my focus - too many goals, too long a list and I end up feeling I'm chasing my tail. I jump from one thing to another without really making much of a dent in any of my goals.
- Life starts to feel complicated and very hard work - that can happen when your daily "to do" list contains a week's worth of work.
So, I've been thinking about it a lot recently. I've had a huge spring clean this year, trying to make life simpler and create more me time and I've been successful. I've had many more days out (although the clear out still has a long way to go). And I've decided that my approach to goal setting is going to change:
- I've decided that I'll just do one small thing each day which moves me towards my goal(s). And the rule is that IT HAS TO BE A SMALL THING. Pressure off then!
- And I'm going to have less goals, or at least stagger them, so that I don't start them all at the same time. That way I get a bit of momentum going for one goal before I start working towards another goal, because starting from 0 on lots of goals at the same time is demotivating and exhausting.
- I've decided that I'll actively look for ways to make life simpler and easier: I read recently about a woman who had a keypad installed at her front door, that way she could get into the house with her two small children with the press of a button rather than trying to find and juggle with a key. It may be a small thing, but it made her life easier and I'm now looking for things like that to improve my life.