Friday, May 9, 2014

Overwhelmed with Goals?

There are so things to works on in this world, do you ever feel overwhelmed? I do. I could make lists and lists of the different things I want to learn, the skills I want to use, the people I want to meet and places to visit.
People have advised me before to just pick ONE THING. How can I pick just one thing?

One issue is that everything is so related. Look at losing weight. If anything is out of balance, exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress, spiritual angst etc., it throws off your efforts. Look at finances. If you cut out expenses with disregard to your well-being, you could end up with poor health and worse productivity at work, both of which are counter-productive for your one goal.

Another issue is that it can be so hard to say no to something that has positive benefits. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get organized, floss every day, grow deeper relationships, learn a new language, get stronger and eat nutritious clean food? How can I say I’m going to just focus on doing 10 push-ups a day because I just can’t deal with focusing on calling my mom more often at the same time? Maybe the reverse would be better, but either way, if I’m solely focused on deepening my family relationships, are those fitness goals ever going to surface? I don’t want to give up on those goals.

The point of this post is not to get you overwhelmed. I want to explore the concept of being overwhelmed with goals, share some things that have helped me find balance and hopefully hear what you are working on and what helps you find balance. My tips are:

1 - Know, listen to & trust yourself: My tendency is to get overly ambitious with a wide range of goals. Consequently, if I feel a sense that I need to relax or focus, I should take that seriously. I’m learning to trust in my intuition. I am not naturally lazy; I will know at what point in the day it is time to call it quits and either relax or move on to a different project.

2 - Learn from others and adapt it to your personal needs: My intuition tells me that my personality can never set out on one single goal while disregarding my other passions. Nevertheless, the advice to focus is still helpful. I just have to adapt it to fit me. I can learn to say no to those things that really aren’t as important to me. I can hone in on the next step of my variety of goals rather than the whole path.

3 - Recognize what does NOT help you: Sometimes you may feel like what you need is tough love. Perhaps that is what you need. I do not react well to that. Harshness leaves me defeated and inadequate; all I want to do is sit there and cry. Therefore, if harsh dialogue fills my head or I stumble across an article that focuses on being “tough”, I should just move on. Some people really get pumped up by that, just not me. Condemnation defeats me; grace liberates me.

4 – Drop the Time Frame: If you were taught to use S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals, you may disagree. However, time frames are counterproductive for my personality type. For me, if I have a desire, I want to write it down and consider it a goal. And I have a lot of ideas. Consequently, I really don’t want to schedule out when I am going to pursue what.

My real purpose in life is not to read 10 books this summer, it is fulfill whatever purpose God has for me. I’m not sure specifically what that is, but I know if I seek to deepen my relationship with God and others and grow in love and faith, I’ll get there. Every day that I open my heart to those things, I am doing everything God asked, and that is what matters. That may lead me to pick up a book, but maybe it will lead me to call a friend. Have you ever played a game on xbox for a while and started getting a bunch of achievements? I think life is like that. If you just spend some time enjoying it, you’ll get some cool stuff done. 

5 - Embrace Unfulfilled Goals: If you also have dozens of directions you are interested in, it can really help to just accept that you won’t achieve all your goals. Would you really be thinking big and broad enough if you did reach everything? How in our finite minds are we supposed to know everything that we are supposed to do in a lifetime? When we first set off to do something, how do we know we were meant to achieve that end goal? How often have you gone down one path only to later switch directions? It doesn’t make you a failure for not reaching the end of the path; it makes you wise to have accepted the change of tide.

Share your experiences, whether that be what you let go of, what you are achieving, how you balance, a time when you changed directions, if you agree with what I’m saying or maybe you have some tweaks, whatever.

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