If you think about where you want to be in 5, 10 or 25 years, the size of the challenge ahead of you is sometimes so daunting that you don’t make the first step, or you find it difficult to know what the first step should be. Or you might have so many goals that you don’t know where to start, or feel like your days are too busy to cram anything further in.
Setting yourself a specific goal to achieve within a month is a perfect way to chip away at a big goal. If you think about August, you’ll know how busy you’re likely to be at work and home, and be able to come up with a challenge that is achievable but not too easy. Its also long enough to start to ingrain the right habits, so that even if you only do the challenge over a single month, you’re likely to think differently in future and not simply go back to how things were before the challenge.
One effective trick is to come up with a challenge that doesn’t require you to commit to do it on every single day. For example, if you decide that your challenge will be to do more exercise, set a goal for the month, rather than committing to exercise every day. That way, you don’t fail just because you skip a day. It also gives you an opportunity to get ahead of yourself, which can motivate you to meet and hopefully exceed your target for the month. And if you don’t meet your goal, for whatever reason, don’t beat yourself up. The important thing is that you achieved more than if you hadn’t started. The first day of the following week or month is the perfect time to try it again or do something different.
For me, buying and owning less will help me meet my goals; to be healthy, generous, consume less and experience more and to become financially independent. That’s why, for August, I’ve decided to get rid of the equivalent of one item per day. So that’s 31 items over the entire month.
Without setting this challenge, I might get rid of a few things but certainly not 31. Its a high enough number to have me scratching my head at what I might be able to get rid of, and to give me a sense of achievement. I can do a big de-clutter exercise one evening or at the weekend to get ahead of the one per day average, and that positive feeling of being ahead of target will motivate me to keep focussed.
As far as possible, I’ll try to avoid simply putting any of those things in the bin, but will offer to friends, donate to charity and possibly even try to sell some of them.
The purpose of the goal is to simplify my home and my life and create space, and to do positive things with what I no longer use.
How do you set about achieving your goals? I’d love to hear what makes you successful and what lessons you’ve learned along the way.