The 7 Biggest Mistakes In Goal-setting (and how to avoid them): #6

#6: “Taking too much on” and getting discouraged

It can be very easy to set a big, compelling goal – and then feel overwhelmed by the perceived slog of getting there. The goal is so big, and so different from how things are now, that getting there by the deadline you have set will surely demand too much of you. And the more you think about the legwork it will take, the more discouraged you feel.

There are two things you have to do to regain your motivation.

    1. When you think about your goal, picture how great it will be when you have achieved it – not what you will have to do to get there.  This will instantly feel more motivating. When you book a vacation or a weekend away, you are thinking about what you will do when you get there – not about traffic jams or delays at the airport.
  1. Break the goal down into smaller sub-tasks that feel easier to achieve. Make each of these tasks a goal in itself. This means that you can feel good when you achieve each one – maybe even give yourself a reward.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to see what you should be doing first. The smart way to decide on the sub-tasks that will form your route to the goal is to start from imagining the position of having achieved the goal already. From that perspective, ask yourself:

“What conditions had to be in place in order for this goal to be able to happen?”

Ask the same question for each of these conditions – and so on, working backwards through time until you arrive at the very first step you have to take.  This gives you your route to the goal (or routes as there may be more than one way to get there).

If the first task still seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller tasks until the first step is one that you can definitely, no question, accomplish.

Remember what management guru Peter Drucker said:

“We overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in five”.

The key is to get started.

Read this next: How to avoid goal-setting mistake #7

© 2006 – 2022, Andy Smith. All rights reserved.

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