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Why you need to simplify your goals
We are nearing the end of February, which statistically means many of those new years resolutions are long gone. Here is why you need to simplify your goals if you want to achieve them.
Why you need to simplify your goals
At the beginning of the year, it’s common to set many goals at once as you consider every way you want to grow. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of setting goals, but often we overcomplicate it which is why we need to simplify.
1. Prevent overwhelm
When you sit down to write out your goals, do you feel completely overwhelmed by possibilities? There are so many areas of life that can be considered with goal setting.
There’s a temptation to make goals for finances, health, relationships, and work all at once. One reason I recommend making a good things list at the end of the year is because it helps reframe your perspective as you go into setting goals.
The idea here is not to set a bunch of impossible goals where after two months in you feel disappointed and let down with yourself. Now you feel even worse than before you set the goal because you feel like you failed.
What often happens with goals is things aren’t going the way you want, so you set up a handful of vague big goals and shortly after beat yourself up for failing to meet them. This is counterproductive and unhelpful.
Stop overwhelming yourself with goals. Learn to simplify your goals to have better outcomes.
“People are remarkably bad at remembering long lists of goals…the longer their lists of to-dos and goals, the more overwhelmed and off-track they got. Clarity comes with simplicity.” -Brendon Burchard
We all have a limited ability for how long we can focus. Frankly, most of us are bad at it and have become so used to constant distractions that it’s become more challenging to focus for extended periods of time or maybe even short period of time.
When you have too many goals, how do you decide what to focus on? When you’re trying to do them all simultaneously, it’s highly unlikely to make progress. You have to focus to accomplish anything.
Our minds want to keep us comfortable. Trying to make many changes at once is nearly impossible. You need to simplify your goals so that you can focus on one thing at a time.
When you focus you get a lot more accomplished and simplifying your goals will significantly increase your likelihood of making progress.
When you have too many goals, it becomes confusing. They all feel so important, but when everything is important nothing is important. It’s simply not possible to have everything be equally valuable at the same time.
When you simplify your goals, you’re prioritizing what is most important to you in your life right now. The more a goal matters to you, the more likely you are to take the steps to make it happen.
Simplifying your goals lets the most important goals stand out so that they can be prioritized.
How to simplify your goals
Now that you know why to simplify your goals, let’s look at how to simplify your goals.
1. Focus on one area or goal at a time
While it’s fine to set goals on more than one area of your life, focus on one of them at a time. That doesn’t make you can’t make progress toward more than one thing, but often we kid ourselves into believing we can do more than we can and instead up doing nothing.
It’s also ok to simply set fewer goals. Don’t feel the need to change everything in your life at once.
Focus on the goal that is most important to you right now. Make it a priority. By singling out and identifying what matters most, you’ll be simplifying your goals as you work toward them.
2. Set SMART goals
Part of simplifying is adding clarity. Vague goals are confusing. Choose instead to set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
When you take the time to set SMART goals that are meaningful to you you’ll be so much more likely to achieve the goal.
It doesn’t have to be the beginning of a year to set goals. The best time to set goals is always now. It is helpful to revisit them seasonally .
3. Break it down into steps
For each goal you set, break them down into actionable steps. Overwhelm sets in without a clear action plan.
When you think through the necessary steps towards your goal, you’ll know what you need to do to get there.
Every time you take action it takes you one step closer to your goal.
4. Focus on habits
I read a few blog posts this past January about how people are forgoing writing goals in favor of focusing on habits. In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear suggests the same.
While I still like setting goals, focusing on habits can be a way to simplify. When you focus on behavior change rather than the big goal, it feels less daunting and more doable.
5. Create goals for less
Have you ever considered setting goals for less of something in your life? One way to simplify your goals and simplify your life is to look at where you need less.
Work towards having less stuff in your home. Create margin in your schedule by saying no more often. Set boundaries and limits with technology. Shop less often.
These are simple changes to make that will have a big impact on your life.
We don’t know always need more. Sometimes less is what’s needed.
How does goal setting work with simplifying?
Simplifying is about freeing up space in your life so that you can be more intentional. Setting goals helps you to be more purposeful with how you live and spend your time.
In my journey to simplify, I started creating goals with how much I wanted to declutter.
I started with my closet and worked through the rooms of my house after that. Decluttering allowed me to have fewer distractions and more time and attention to spend on what matters most to me.
It was also important to make sure my schedule reflected my simplifying goals. I looked at how I was spending my time and only said yes to things that supported my goals and intentions.
As you work through decluttering and simplifying various aspects of your life, you gain a stronger understanding of what matters and what doesn’t. The process is clarifying and eye-opening.
Set goals that reflect your core values and purposes. Be sure of what you’re after and why, Your priorities will become increasingly clear as you simplify and are intentional with work towards your goals.
Want more help with setting goals?
Goal setting can feel like an overwhelming undertaking at times. To help guide you in setting goals, I created the Simply Focused workbook.Use the workbook to help you create specific and focused goals that you’ll be more likely to achieve.
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