Setting goals generates excitement. But goals can also generate a lot of anxiety. Although most goal setting programs teach that you should put an end date on your goal – that is when you think you will achieve that goal – we really have no control of this outcome. The date is there to motivate you to action. You are working towards a specific date. However what you do in between is more important…AND you should celebrate the tiny wins along the way to reaching your goal. This is the way you manage your anxiety.
What are some smaller goals that you can create along the way?
What are the steps you need to take daily in order to make that long-term goal a reality? Taking action on these steps gives you a sense of satisfaction daily. You are no longer waiting until you achieve your goal some time in the future to celebrate. You are celebrating daily. Every day you will work with purpose and filled with hope that having taken action on that small step, you can take action on another step tomorrow.
This is also a great way to manage your emotional energy. You are less likely to get discouraged and throw in the towel because you can literally see your progress. This way you are adding energy to your journey, not taking away from it.
This doesn’t mean that you forget your long term vision.
You need to remind yourself (for me it’s daily and usually in the morning) to avoid losing track or forgetting why you’re doing what you’re doing. Imagine the satisfaction your will feel once you accomplish your goal. Don’t gloss over this part. Really feel it as if it has happened for you. This will provide not just clarity, but inspiration.
But remember to remain flexible
Because you are working daily towards your long-term goal and assessing your progress weekly, you will be able to see in time whether you are moving closer to the finish line or if what you’re doing is keeping you either stuck or taking you away from your target.
Treat goal setting as an experiment. You will learn from your experiences along the way and based on feedback, adapt and improve upon your initial objective.
An unrealized dream is painful especially if you keep resetting the goal year in year out and now 3 years have passed, in some cases more time, and you’re wondering if what you set out to do is at all possible.
It is possible.
If you haven’t reached your goal perhaps what’s needed is a different approach. Try this one on for size. You will get the feedback you need to make informed choices along the way. Remember, what you’re after is a series of practical results and accomplishments not a list of unrealized dreams and aborted projects.