Traditionally, January first is known as the day when we tell ourselves that we are going to change our lives completely. We will start a new exercise regime, diet, change our views, budget better, stress less, travel more, and finally achieve that goal that we’ve been dreaming of for years. This new year is our year.
The problem is, we decide to take life-changing steps during the holiday euphoria, without realizing that we still have normal lives to live, jobs to hold, and families to take care of. The pressure of self-inflicted goals becomes overwhelming and we end up giving up on the goals altogether, becoming disappointed and blaming ourselves for failing this year – yet again.
Take a better approach this year
The good news is, this does not have to be the case. Instead of creating the “big picture goals,” it is healthier, and more productive, to focus on one sphere of life at the time, and engage in steps towards achieving only one goal. Although the process might seem significantly slower, the likelihood of accomplishment of the final goal is a lot higher. In fact, you will be more likely to achieve more goals throughout the year and be less overwhelmed in the process that way.
One of the most common misconceptions is that productivity equals non-stop work, long hours, overtime, working on a goal until completion. Think about how depleted you feel in such a process, and how (un)productive you really are? If you are tired, overworked and if your brain is operating on an autopilot, your quality of work suffers and tasks take you a much longer time than usual. However, if you are rested, if your goal is broken down into small, doable steps, if you check-in with yourself about your energy levels, realistically outline your day and block out the time to work on one of the goal steps, if you allow yourself time to rest when you need to do so, you will be more productive, your work will be of a much better quality, you will enjoy it more, and with that, likely be able to complete even more tasks than anticipated as you will feel motivated and energetic due to your accomplishment.
The bottom line is, quality over quantity, and be kind to yourself. Create a list of goals, break them down into smaller steps, assess their priorities and dive in. Don’t set your expectations too high; set them just a little lower so that every day feels like you’ve exceeded them. And if on some days, you really feel like you would rather do something else, do so without feeling guilty. The last thing you want is to resent the goal you’ve been so passionate about. Remember, we leave our mobile phones to charge when their batteries are running low, why wouldn’t you allow yourself that time?
Suzana Sjenicic is the author of Anxiety Free (English Edition) which provides tips for dealing with stress in our daily lives. Make sure you don’t miss this fantastic book.