How to Stay On Top Of A Goal

There’s a lot of ways that setting goals actually sets us up for failure. We set them too high, lose motivation and lose focus on what matters. Read on for what we’re doing wrong, and how to set goals the right way.

We’re looking too far ahead.

 
Goals are commonly described as an idea of the future. A popular way to start setting goals is to ask yourself, where do you want to be in 5 years?

This usually gets you thinking about where you want to see yourself in the distant future and what you want it to look like. But what about one year from now? Next month? Next week? Tomorrow? Today? In an hour?

We set ourselves up for failure the minute we think too far ahead. You can’t decide to exercise and expect to be an olympian the next day.

I once worked with a client who had anxiety about going places. Her goal was to walk to the store.

She couldn’t do it. She’d get to the door and realize how far away the store is, then she’d go right back to the couch.

We broke her goal of going to the store down even further. Instead of going to the store, we made the goal to go outside. Then once she went outside for a week, we changed the goal to walking to the mailbox. So she started walking to the mailbox every day.

Once she got used to that, we worked on walking to the end of her block.

Next thing you know, she’s walking to the store. She did it.

Most would say those smaller steps are considered objectives, but looking at a goal so far ahead (the store) made her defeat herself before she even started.

So we made her one goal into 4 smaller goals. Once she was able to take those small first steps, she had accomplished her first goal. Instead of beating herself up for not going to the store that day, she was able to celebrate just going outside. So on and so forth.

Solution: We’ve got to start where we are right now, and make our goals achievable for ourselves.

We’re not looking far enough ahead.

Yep, you read that right.
Now that we’ve covered reaching too far, we’ll cover not reaching far enough. There’s nothing wrong with setting an easy goal as a first step. But you need to make sure your next step challenges you a little bit more. Doing something with a little challenge will boost your self esteem and make it easier for you to accomplish the next thing.

Solution: We’ve got to make sure we’re challenging ourselves to be and do better everyday.

We aren’t organized.

Part of reaching a goal is having the right tools and having them in place.

There is a saying in cooking called ,”mise en place.” This is a system that streamlines cooking meals. The first step is to get the ingredients together. You prep everything and set it out. Then you start cooking.

We can’t cook a meal if we don’t have the ingredients. Nor can we cook a good meal if we’re all over the place. We need to gather our things, prep for the meal, and carry out our task.

Sometimes we don’t have everything we need to reach our original goal. This means we need to break it down even further.

For example, one of my personal goals is to be running this blog. I need several different things to do it successfully: a computer, domain name, different kinds of software and programs, lots of post ideas and a writing schedule to name a few.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I don’t have a laptop. I’m blogging 99% off my phone and 1% off of computers I borrow from time to time.

So my goal of blogging is broken down into smaller goals: get a laptop. Upgrade my software. Write something every day. These will help me be a better blogger and send me further on my way to success.

Solution: We’ve got to make smaller goals to put everything in place.

We don’t have the proper motivation.

This video really spoke to me. Over the last couple years, I developed a habit of planning for things and never actually doing them. I think, “I’ll feel like it tomorrow,” or, “It will be easier tomorrow.” Tomorrow rolls around and nothing’s changed. Rinse and repeat.

As humans we tend to daydream. We sit down and think of a goal. Then we write it down, or resolve ourselves to “do it tomorrow,” and put the responsibility on the shoulders of our future selves.

Why? Because we want to be better. We want to get to that place. And we wait for our future selves to fix it. We expect them to be motivated for us. But we are our future selves, and we need to look for what motivates us right now.

We’ve got to find our motivation.

Stay focused on your goals

So far we’ve learned that we need

a) an achievable goal that

b) our current selves will accomplish with

c) the right tools in place.

Ask yourself 3 questions:

What do I want to accomplish?

What things do I need to accomplish it?

How will I use these things to carry out the task?

Once you have the answers to these, you can decide when you want to achieve your goal by.

Start with a goal you can accomplish in the next hour that will lead up to a goal for the day , then the week, then the month.

What is a goal you have for the new year? Can you break it down more? How much progress have you made?

spring-clean-declutter

3 Reasons to Declutter And Why You Should Start Today

Now that we’ve covered how to get over ourselves and start cleaning, it’s time to pick a place to start. But how do you pick one place when your whole house is on the verge of being featured on Hoarders? The biggest step to decluttering: one thing at a time. You can’t go from 0 to 100 on one day, week,month, or even year.

Take this article for example. I posted it the other day in a rush to “get it out on time” and ended up taking it down for a bit. Why? Because I need to take it one step at a time.

The blog’s not disappearing, and my hope is that you don’t either. So I want to make sure I’m writing the best I can to really help you improve your life.

Here are some major things that can get in the way of our efforts:

We have ATTENTION DEFICIT CLEANING DISORDER.

We start in one room but move stuff to another room… Then start in that room but find something for another room.. before you know it you have a bunch of half cleaned rooms with nothing accomplished.

Want to hear something funny? My boyfriend was proofreading this post for me, and pointed out that I actually trailed off from this section on my own(did I mention I have ADHD?).

I proved my own point, in my own post, without even realizing it. That leads me to my next point:

We get DISTRACTED.

Attention Cleaning Deficit Disorder focuses on internal things: our own thoughts and minds.  This section refers to getting distracted by external things, such as a pile of dishes or dirt on the floor.

As part of my mental health journey (more on that another day) I participated in a program called Dialectical Behavior Therapy. A big part of this program is to learn and use new skills to increase our ability to deal with life.

One of my favorite skills is rooted in staying focused. I’ve found it really helps me declutter my mind. It’s called , “One Mindfully”. This is where you make a conscious effort to focus on only one thing at a time. I do this by concentrating all my energy on that one thing I’m doing, and when my mind starts to wander I pull myself back.

Challenge: don’t think about a pink elephant.


What did you do? Exactly. This is how I pull myself back. I compare my distractions to a pink elephant. When my mind tells me to think about something else, I remember that elephant. That reminds me that I’m getting off track.

You will get to that pink elephant eventually. Just stay focused on the task you’re trying to achieve.

We feel like we’re fighting a losing battle.

The monotony of decluttering never goes away. There will always be dishes, laundry and random things to deal with. For us moms, it’s a fact of life and can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed. This triggers feelings of hopelessness and we get lost. We don’t know how to handle it.

According to Feng Shui, our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us. In order to clean house in our minds, we need to first declutter what’s around us.

Picking your poison

A messy house is a big contributor to the vicious cycle of depression and anxiety. We get stuck in our own thoughts and don’t know what to do.

There are many reasons behind picking ONE room (or area) to start with. Not only does it make things easier, it helps you feel more accomplished. You will actually see your progress. This will help break the cycle.

 

The Solution

List it. Sit down and make a list of all the rooms in your house. Rate how they make you feel from 1 to 10, with 1 being happy, 5 being indifferent, and 10 being stressed to the max.

Now narrow it down. Pick 3 rooms that stress you out the most and then rate them again. I suggest looking at the one you want declutter most. If you’re struggling to pick one, write out the pros and cons of each.

If there’s a particular room that overwhelms you, pick one area of that room. Still don’t know where to start? Here are a few examples to get your gears turning.

Common problem areas

I’m guessing one of the rooms you picked is either the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room or entrance way. That’s because these are the most common places clutter accumulates. They’re lived in. We spend a lot of time there.

But we don’t have to clean the whole room right now. Just part of it. This may seem counter-productive, but it’s about breaking our problems down to bite sized pieces.

Now that you have a room picked out, zero in on the area you want to tackle first. Is it the sink? The stove? How about the counters, closets or dressers?

I am personally picking our command center. This is something I found on Pinterest that keeps all your mail and papers in one spot. It’s supposed to be an organized system to prevent clutter. My favorite one is from Jenna Burger Design:

declutter-w-cmd-ctr

There’s a huge catch all bin full of papers and files for me to “get to later”. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m going to declutter it.

For me this means going through all the papers, taking the ones to file down into the basement(a lot of work in itself) and actually filing them.

I picked this area because I really don’t want to do it. Once I tackle it, I’ll feel better and more inclined to move on to the next spot.

Go through this list with your pros and cons and decide which spot you’re going to tackle. We’ll devise a plan to get to it tomorrow.

What area are you going to choose? Why did you pick it?