A Day in the Life of Stress: Achieving Goals
To achieve your goals you must first create time to put them into action, otherwise they will soon become little more than wishful thoughts that can never be fulfilled.
With the best intentions in the world your well laid out plans can fall by the wayside, a casualty of the hurried pace of everyday life. Setting goals takes time and planning; but achieving goals involves prioritising what you have to do and what you would like to do, then squeezing it all into your daily schedule. Inevitably, there are many responsibilities that push their way to the front of the line – preparing for work, commuting, picking up the children, preparing dinner, finishing a report, household chores and phoning your sister or best friend. When the day is done you are too exhausted to think about fitting in anything more.
Having too much to do is one reason for not achieving your goals and feeling ‘stuck in a rut’ is another. It is also true that there is comfort and familiarity in routine that is hard to conquer, which makes it tough to initiate change.
Clear the Way for Positive Thinking
With any goal that you want to achieve comes an element of risk. Will you be any good at what you want to do? Will you be successful? There will usually be someone that is already doing what you want to do and who is doing it well; it is only human nature to compare yourself to others, but try not to focus too much on this and stay positive.
Climbing the Ladder
Be prepared to start at the bottom if you are trying something new; enjoy the experience of learning and accomplishing as you work your way up. For example, your goal may be to learn a new language and at your first class is a student who is already half fluent. Don’t be discouraged – think positively and say to yourself that with practise you’ll soon catch up to the same level.
Get Ready, Set, Go
The first step towards achieving your goals is finding your motivation. This must be strong enough to drive you on – the rest is Childs play.
- Try to identify any obstacles that might stop you in your tracks. What are your immediate stumbling blocks? Often this is a lack of knowledge about what you want to do or in what direction you are heading. You may need to research more information about an organisation or speak to someone working in that field. Analyse your findings thoroughly and try to prepare for any problems you might encounter.
Mark the Calendar
- Set yourself a deadline for getting started, for finishing your goal, and for targets along the way. Look at where you are now in relation to where you want to be and make your timescale as realistic as possible, if you want to learn a new language for a holiday you are going on in a few weeks, you are likely to put too much pressure on yourself and will fail. Always factor in some extra time as a safety cushion so that your overall deadline won’t be put behind by unexpected delays. This also lessens the risk of disappointment when life demands attention.
- Can you break up your goal into smaller, more manageable parts? It might be that there are several smaller steps you need to make in order to reach your target. If, for example, your goal is to emigrate in a year’s time, then you might need to contact a travel agent about finding property, find out about local customs and organise transportation of the contents of your current home.
A Pat on the Back
- Developing a positive mindset is crucial to achieving your goals; keeping them in the forefront of your mind will help you remain focused. When you achieve a goal, acknowledge your success and move on to the next one. Notice how it improves your self-confidence and boosts your drive to achieve the next goal that you have set.
- Try not to make your goals too broad. Avoid making statements like: “I want to lose weight” or “I want a new job”. Statements like “I want to lose a stone by April” or “I want a job that gives me a better long term future” are more positive and concise.
- Enlisting the aid of friends to help make your goal a reality often helps. If you need to attend evening classes during the week, but don’t have anyone to look after your children, perhaps a friend can help. If your course is during the day, you might be able to organise an afternoon a week as unpaid leave. Your company may even pay for you to acquire new skills, if it will enhance your performance at work.