How to Achieve your Goals
If things were as easy done than they are said, our new year's resolutions would probably be way more interesting and less repetitive than they actually are. I've had the same thing on my list for the past 10 years and the reason it's been so difficult to achieve is that I've put so much pressure on the end goal rather than goals that build up to the result.
Tasks can become so intimidating when they feel too big to do right away and impossible to achieve within a day or two. You get your typical new years resolutions like “getting healthy”, “going vegan”, “quitting smoking” and then halfway through the year realise you’re still at the same place because it just seems too difficult to achieve - especially when results are only visible over months or even years.
In order to achieve those big things, we need to figure out a way to do the small things.
Breaking big goals up into tiny tasks might make you feel like you’re actually achieving lots of things rather than achieving a little bit of a big thing... if that makes sense. Take “getting healthy” as an example; it’s super vague, but it’s so common. Here's an example of dissecting it into lots of doable chunks:
- Find three nice healthy recipes to try
- Drink eight glasses of water today (and tomorrow..)
- Try to have 5 portions of fruit and veg more than one day this week
- Go outside for at least 5 minutes twice this week.
Once you’ve got into the rhythm of doing these things regularly, you can start looking into more challenging tasks:
- Look for a supportive fitness group near me (e.g. running club)
- Meditate for 5 minutes at some point this week
- Try to do some yoga 3 times this month
- Do some light-moderate exercise 3 times this week
Obviously, everyone’s lists will be different, but adapting it to your lifestyle will hopefully enable you to feel like you can actually accomplish these things.
Another example could be completing an assignment; a lot less vague, but also common. The tiny tasks could be:
- Plan out the structure of the assignment e.g. 200 words for the intro, 500 words for theme 1, 500 words for theme 2, 200 words for the conclusion
- Write out some key info you want to cover in each section
- Note down some quotes or sourced info that may be relevant to each section
- Expand on each bullet point and include quotes
- Start tying in each sentence to create paragraphs
- Type up the intro, and conclusion
- Complete the bibliography
Even adding things like “printing” and "submit” are good ways to make you feel productive as it’s a task in itself. You get the jist, it’s just about doing lots of little things that eventually equate to one big thing.
Check in with yourself:
It might be an idea to reflect on your to-do lists at the beginning of every week or day depending on how often you need to re-evaluate - you can then determine whether or not you can increase the difficulty of your goals or take a step back (which is also totally fine).
If doing things is difficult, give yourself a gift at the end of it. Even if things aren’t that hard, still give yourself a gift because you deserve it. A reward could be your favourite kind of cookies, a new app on your phone, a book, a movie night in, a pamper session, anything you can think of.
If your goal demands a lot of your time and motivation, it might be worth surrounding yourself with people in the same boat. A study group, a fitness club, vegan groups on Facebook, blogs, events.. anything you can think of. Having people you can relate to quickly and easily will make a massive difference to you.
Be kind to yourself:
The world would look a lot different if people did exactly what they set out to do. Nobody is perfect, people have bad days, bad weeks, bad years even. It’s okay if you’re getting things done quickly - just keep on doing it and eventually it will become easier and more of a habit. Don’t worry.