Many people these days drift more or less aimlessly from day to day and year to year, without focusing on any long-term direction.
Even fewer people set detailed goals and stick strictly to daily color-coded, to-do lists.
Most people settle somewhere between these two extremes with hopes and dreams for the future, and either definite goals or a more vague plan.
Usually people think hard about big decisions, but smaller ones tend to be driven more by moods and intuition.
I personally find that being more organized and planning my days down to the hour work best for me.
If you feel like you would benefit from a more organized approach, aim to take the time each day to determine what you want to achieve and set specific goals.
The following are a few tips to increase your chances for success:
1. Choose the Right Goals.
Try to find the middle ground between aiming too high and not high enough.
Aiming high is a good motivator, but if your goal isn’t realistic, sooner or later, you’ll stop even trying. Keep in mind both your enthusiasm and your ability.
Think hard about why you want to achieve the goal.
Is the result going to be worth the investment?
Is the goal you’ve set challenging, valuable, specific, measurable, and with a specific deadline?
Some goals are continuous and they won’t meet all those guideline for example, increasing the distance you walk each day.
But, usually, a good goal is one that is worthy of your time and effort, and that is strictly a personal decision.
2. Make it Formal.
Writing down your goal will make it official and will increase your sense of commitment.
If you want to take this a step further, share your idea with friends, family or on Social Media.
Get them to ask questions to help you fill in any gaps or spot any flaws. Keep it creative and fun.
Imagine yourself having achieved the goal, how good will it feel?
3. Devise a Plan.
This part is critical in making your goal a reality. Without a plan, your goal has very little chance of success.
Write an all-inclusive summary of the goal, including details such as timing, cost and location to make it authentic and measurable.
Decide where to begin, and then make a step-by-step plan covering all the major tasks needed to achieve the goal.
If you aren’t comfortable or proficient in laying out a plan this way, a good way to learn, is to try to work backwards in stages from the final result.
You can make deadlines if you like, but keep them realistic to avoid disappointment.
4. Stick to It, but Stay Flexible.
This is the biggest challenge on this list and one that I struggle with on a daily basis.
Finding a good time to start often holds the process back. There will never be a perfect time; you have to make your goals fit into your lifestyle.
Unexpected events can distract you and lead to procrastination, but do your best to stay motivated and honor your commitment.
If you’re having trouble, report your progress to the people you told, this will keep you honest about your progress, or lack thereof.
Your plan should also be flexible so you can adjust as you progress. Try not to let small setbacks or disappointments derail the effort and progress you’ve already made.
5. Reassess Regularly.
Re-examine your goal as often as you need to, to ensure it’s still what you really want.
Recognize and celebrate small successes along the way.
Adapt your plan if necessary, but keep site of your main objective. Work hard and stay focused on the result.
6. Set and Commit to your Priorities.
If you are good at setting priorities, you will be better prepared to decide on goals, and in so doing, manage your stress levels more effectively.
As stress increases, we are often forced to prioritize our commitments and decide which things can be put to one side and which can’t.
This means that some aspects of life inevitably receive less attention than others. But, be sure not to ignore any one area entirely. This could be the area which keeps you sane!
Let your priorities evolve as the need arises and if you need help determining which priorities are most important, think about your personal values.
What is your dream?
What is your mission statement?
What is realistic for you?
These questions will help you spend more time focused on the things that will make a real difference.
Try to organize your daily schedule according to the importance of each activity, and devise systems to keep your priorities up front.
It may be tempting to leave the most painful tasks for last, but think how pleased and relieved you’ll be when they’re complete. Also know that the less painful tasks are much easier to accomplish.
Learn to say no to people who try to make you change your agenda against your wishes, but allow some flexibility to compensate for unpredictable interruptions and delays.
Planning will allow you to maximize your accomplishments while making time for celebration and relaxation too.
Congratulate yourself for what you achieve every day and try to add more to accomplish as you become more comfortable with your planning and priorities!
It’s my hope that this process will help in your situation.
If you have any comments or questions about priorities or planning, please feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you would like an easy plan, that’s already set up, to help you feel happier and more fulfilled from day to day, sign up to receive our Personal Happiness Checklist or participate in the 30-Day Positivity Challenge.
Both of these are absolutely free and will help you feel better and more fulfilled daily.
Thank you and have a wonderful day.