By Sonsie Zamora
Guide to setting and achieving goals:
Being accomplished is a sense of self. Having the ability to set goals, and achieve them makes you feel good. You get things done, you have a clearer mind, less stress and you feel better about life because you’re moving forward and on to the next goal as you accomplish others. If there are so many upsides to getting things done, then why are there so many of us that procrastinate? It’s easy to get distracted, there are so many things that can deter us from our course and throw us off track. I’ll give you a step-by-step guide how I set and accomplish goals and maybe it can help you to avoid the distractions and get those things that you’ve been meaning to get done, once and for all.
The first thing I do is make a list of any and all things that I need/want to get done, whether they are major things or just little day-to-day things. Such as; cleaning out that one junk drawer closet in the house, sorting through all of the loose paperwork that has accumulated, finding recipes for dinners, finishing school, applying to scholarships, finally finishing that make-over you started, etc… All of those things that keep me up at night and rattle around in my mind. I find that once I jot them down, I feel much less stressed already. Next I break that major list into three smaller lists; things that must get done this week, things that can be done in a few months, and long-term goals to be accomplished within the year or even more. Depending on the items on your list, you may require even more ‘smaller’ lists. I like to focus on what can be achieved within the year at the most however, because I feel it helps your momentum when you can keep checking short term goals off of your list. It also allows for procrastination when you set your goals too far into the future, because you might think ‘I still have time,’ then before you know it time is up and you missed your opportunity or you’re still stuck with the same to-do list and nothing has been checked off it.
Things that ‘must’ get done of course take priority and I like to focus on the harder things at the beginning of the week so you can get them out of the way. I usually sit down Sunday night before bedtime and write out my weekly schedule, allotting realistic time frames for each thing that needs to get done during the week. If I have a paper for a class due by the end of the week, for example, I’ll allow myself an hour on Monday to write out a quick draft and outline with my ideas. On Wednesday I’ll clean up the draft and add any research and by Friday I’ll finalize the paper. This way I’m not stressing come Friday to try to finish the entire paper all in one sitting. I find by breaking things into tiny weekly to-do’s, that I am more successful and less stressed.
One can apply the same concept of breaking goals up into little tasks, to long-term goals. Let’s say your long-term goal is to lose weight. You wouldn’t start by simply saying ‘tomorrow I will begin losing weight’. First you’d want to establish how many pounds you want to lose and what would be reasonable to lose each week and each month therefore figuring out how much time it would take to reach your final goal. Then you want to write down all of the things involved with losing weight and break those into weekly and monthly goals as well. Such as; cut sugar and fried foods, increase water intake, start a workout regimen, get fun new workout clothes for motivation, join a gym or find a local area to workout, buy a bike, etc. Make sure to keep the goals realistic and break them up into small, un-daunting tasks so you can keep moving toward your final goal and not get stuck along the way.
Distractions can be a huge problem in not reaching your goals. Especially today with all of the cell phone alerts, news feeds, Facebook updates, etc. Try to either turn off your phone and TV when focusing on your tasks, especially if you’re allotting just an hour or so at a time each day for your goals, you can feel less anxiety about allowing yourself that short and uninterrupted time. There’s nothing that can’t wait an hour, especially when the focus is yourself, which is a lot more important that so-and-so’s latest relationship drama or whatever it is. Also allowing your mind to be clear not only sharpens your focus but can also generate new thoughts and ideas and make for a more creative, alert and less stressed mind. Make sure you plan out your ‘fun times’ too. If you’ve been grinding all week, don’t let yourself skip Friday girls’ night, you deserve it. Tomorrow is always another day and you can get right back to the grind again then.
Once you start successfully scratching things off of your list of goals, you will feel your confidence growing and you may start reaching even higher for your next set of goal. Go ahead and start dreaming big! Travel to different countries, do a marathon, write a book, invent something, finish college, get into your best physical shape or whatever else you dream about. You now have a formula to get you there. I hope this helps and don’t stop setting and achieving goals. When you look back on your life 80 years from now, you will feel so fulfilled having accomplished as much as you possibly could and getting the most you desired out of life.