More than halfway through another year and it seems everyone feels harried and overworked. Life and time is absolutely racing. Nobody seems to have any time to stop and chill, nobody has any time to even recognize their needs let alone address and fulfill them.
As we become more and more switched on to the world outside ourselves it is no surprise that we feel overwhelmed, drowning in never ending obligation. The world and our lives seem to be an insurmountable task that we can’t ever see a way to scale.
When goal-setting, if the task or goal seems just too big for you to succeed, even too big to know where to begin, it often becomes more easily achieveable when it is broken down and tackled in small chunks. As you succeed with each step you feel reassured that you can actually reach your goal, and you feel increased motivation to achieve results.
It seems to me that if we can apply this same principle to our life we could create some level of control and the satisfaction of achievement. By breaking the year up into smaller segments and setting ourself goals for just a part of the year rather than the year as a whole would achieve a similar result to breaking down big goals. It would give us a sense of success and stop the feeling that we were skeetering along in life, barely in control.
Recently, a client told me that last January she made a list of the 100 things she wanted to achieve this year. Her list included things like ‘see this friend 6 times for lunch’, ‘go to 4 movies’, ‘read a particular series of books’. She also had big things on her list like ‘change my job’.
She proudly showed me just how many things she had already crossed off. Her list reminded her that although she may feel on the edge of control she was actually doing quite a lot that she wanted to achieve in her life this year. And not only did the things on her list did not remain in that “gunna-do” (‘going-to-do’ for non Aussies) vault, she was doing them all and enjoying herself along the way.
How many of us spend January 1st making plans and setting intentions for the year ahead? How many of these are kind of vague – lose weight, stop smoking, or get a new job? How many fail because we have not a) been specific about what exactly we want, b) broken it down into manageable and achievable goals, c) followed through and d) actually remembered that we had set the plans and goals after April, until January 1st of the following year when we set the very same goals all over again?
But my client did remember, she did follow through, she did feel like she had achieved, and most importantly, she felt as though her life was under her control, in spite of the fact that it was still just as crazy-busy as the lives of all the rest of us.
BREAK IT DOWN
My client set me to thinking that just as we break down own goals and projects into smaller chunks, it might also make us relax a little if we break our life down into smaller chunks of 6 months, or even 3 months. It might not seem to be going quite so fast and we may feel we have some sort of control..
So I propose that in the interests of us all sanely getting through the rest of this year, so that we present smiles instead of frowns to those around us, so we all begin to address a few of our real needs in life, needs that don’t start with the words “I have to…” or “I should…”, and so we all start to feel a little more in control, we follow my client’s example and set ourselves achievable goals that honour ourselves.
But to make it just that bit easier to achive rather than making a year long commitment I am going to break the exercise down into smaller chunks.
I have just made a list of the 25 things I want to achieve (and can reasonably manage) in this quarter of the year (being 1/4 what my client did for the whole year), that’s from right now, the start of August to the end of October.
It includes some socializing, some creative projects, some home decorating, lots of gardening (rarely a chore), some outings, some work projects and some self-development. It also includes launching a new arm of my biz. I think it’s a pretty well-rounded collection of goals.
My list is manageable and not only will I feel in life-control mode as I cross things off the list, I will enjoy doing most of these. (I included some things I really will not enjoy but will be very happy to finish off). And probably most importantly, I will be aware of what I have achieved rather than worrying about what I have not managed to do.
Why not join me? Make your list of 25, write it out, pin it to the fridge, and congratulate yourself as you cross another thing off your list.
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