Whenever people generally think about big or even small goals, overwhelm sets in almost immediately. This sense of feeling overpowered by what can be daunting prevents some people from ever taking the steps necessary to achieve their goals.
You can change your perspective by doing a few simple things. The first step is to quit looking at the whole goal at once. Second, create a vision in your mind of the goal- achieving process. Next, don’t look at the big picture but rather break it down into several smaller, manageable steps and actions that will lead to success on your journey.
I highly disagree with traditional thought around the goal-setting and achievement process where experts suggest what I call the “micromanagement nightmare” that includes endless list making. Never-ending lists do nothing but compile and create that sense of overwhelm, which defeats the purpose. Just know there will be way more to-dos on the list than you can ever possibly keep up with. The hamster wheel just keeps spinning since additional lists automatically generate after completion of the first list. You will face more tasks after you finish your original plan and so on.
Toss out the micro-management strategy and shift your focus on the smaller parts of the whole. You go from trying to climb straight up to the top of a mountain to instead slowly traversing across and up the mountain, and which do you think is harder? Make your target list and try to achieve a few items every day as micro steps toward your goal(s). Just do one thing if that is all you can manage, but it will effectively do two things: engrain your goal into your subconscious, and this act will put you that much closer to your goal.
Remember Earl Nightingale’s quote: “you become what you think about all day long.”
In many cases, you will accomplish items from your to-do lists earlier than expected, but don’t let this fool you. Keep it manageable even if you get something done sooner than expected. You have to keep a reasonable feeling like you can do it, and if you start ratcheting up the demands you’ll set yourself up for failure (you’re back to feeling overwhelmed again). So don’t start out with the intention to accomplish massive lists – it can just become overwhelming, and disappointment can set in over the short term. Disappointment is a morale-killer. Remember these three words: keep it fun.
Other ways to kill the fun involve your inability to skillfully manage your reactions and attitude on this journey. As you work your way toward your big-picture goal by completing smaller steps, always celebrate and acknowledge the wins. Feel the satisfaction of having completed the small steps just as much as you would in completing the big step. Don’t get sidetracked or demoralized that you haven’t achieved the overall goal along the way.
Your ability to recognize that you are on a progression (your process) toward the big goal, and each step moves you that much closer, will allow you to find deeper fulfillment in those feelings of small accomplishments. It’s when you allow yourself to get frustrated because it’s taking time (I know this is so hard for many in this instant-gratification culture we live in) that you can become trapped by feelings of disappointment that can cause you to give up. Get your mind away from the thoughts like so many big companies where they keep analysts happy by reporting results quarter by quarter vs. annually. Also, recognize that not all of your goals should be just long-term goals. Balance short-term with long-term goals so you gain some rewards or “wins”. I personally use a simple process of to-do lists that you might consider www.chiefgoalsofficer.com.
Remember – Step by Step!
By Wayne Kurtz
Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report, he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’