Goals are fun to make. They open a world of possibilities as to what your life could be because we tend to dream big. And that’s great.
But what happens when those dreams, our goals, are smothered by time, financial or other constraints?
Or when those goals seem just too big to ever accomplish?
How do we keep moving in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds?
Approach it like any other project…chunk it.
As a middle school English teacher, I help students break papers and projects into steps, chunks, so that the final product is less daunting and more achievable. Often times, students see final projects as too difficult. Their “affective filter” is high and their belief in their inability to succeed results in exactly that. As their teacher and coach, I help them chunk the assignment out and make each task an attainable step in the process.
Stephen Krashen, in his theory of second language acquisition, hypothesizes that students have a number of “affective variables” that contribute to their ability to learn a second language. Variables, such as anxiety, motivation and self confidence can help or hinder one’s probability of success.
The same can be said for other goals. When we get overwhelmed by the task of whatever goal we set for ourselves, it becomes easier to dismiss it as impossible, rather than push through. Our affective filter becomes a wall that blocks our road to success.
The benefit we have, as adults, is that we can recognize when our filter are in place and, with work, visualize the hand holds in the wall that allow us to scale it and put ourselves back on track.
The first step is recognizing those variables. Do you see the goal as too big? Chunk it. Break the goal into smaller, manageable, measurable steps. As you achieve each step, reward yourself. Your confidence builds and you continue on your way.
Do you doubt your ability to achieve your goal? Why? What is it about the goal that makes it unreachable? If it’s unreachable, why is it a goal? If it’s truly unreachable, then aren’t you setting yourself up for failure? I may never run a marathon, but maybe I can run a half. And if a half isn’t realistic right now, a 10k certainly is. Everyone starts somewhere. Find the beginning point of your own goal and build from there.
Are financial constraints standing in your way? A round-the-world trip may not be realistic for you at this point in your life but, you can start small. Getting away for a week, even a long weekend, can do wonders for the psyche. Start somewhere. Anywhere.
For nearly every goal you want to achieve, there are others who have paved the way. Do your research. There are mentors everywhere, online and in real life. And most of them are happy to share their stories and offer their own tips for success. Sift through the advice. See what works for you and discard the rest.
Want to travel? Check out travel blogs that offer tips on everything from debt reduction to packing lists. Create a vision board on Pinterest and start the ball rolling.
Want to lose weight? Check out weight loss and fitness blogs for inspiration and healthy or clean eating blogs for go-to recipes to add to your repertoire. The information is there for you…go get it.
A no-excuses approach is a tough line to draw, but in many cases, it is what it is. No excuses.
You have one life and it’s always too short.
Find those handholds in your wall and haul your ass over it. Your life depends on it.