Time management tips empower you to meet your goals. But what if your current goals are holding you back?
You may discover that new goals, like new shoes, require some breaking in!
Let’s say you have set a goal, only to find that you feel trapped by it later. Feeling saddled with a goal that doesn’t work for you wastes your time and saps your morale.
Yet, you’ve probably experienced first-hand how productive goals energize you in countless rewarding ways!
What distinguishes workable goals from burdensome ones?
And how can you keep your goals healthy?
Here are three common ways that goals become traps, along with specific strategies to handle each one:
Trap Number One: The Impulsive Goal.
Do you have goals you set hastily? Perhaps you set yourself a challenge to overcome a feeling of paralysis. Or maybe you haven’t considered creating a coordinated strategy. If so, your new goal may face some stiff competition from prior commitments! You need to create a goal with an end point and action steps; otherwise, it’s not really a goal.
- Think clearly about the implications before you set a goal.
- How exactly will it serve you or move you ahead?
- How passionate are you about it?
If you care enough about this new goal to coordinate it with the rest of your plans, you are much less likely to feel trapped by it.
Trap Number Two: The Overambitious Goal.
Perhaps you wish to jump-start your productivity, so you create a benchmark for success and a timeline. Then, when you are part of the way through, you find yourself floundering. The more frustrated you become, the more you try to put the whole project out of your mind. Before long, it’s become an unworkable burden.
What went wrong?
There are several ways that overambitious goals can put the squeeze on you. Your timeline might be overly tight, especially if you venture into new territory. Who knows what challenges you’ll encounter along the way?
Or your understanding of how to reach this goal might be incomplete. It’s often helpful to write down every step you anticipate taking. Make it as detailed as possible, breaking it down into single work sessions. Estimate the time you think each step will take, and then double it.
This allows you to reap one of the most important benefits of a new project – learning along the way.
Trap Number Three: The Hand-Me-Down Goal.
What do your goals say about you? What do they say about your past? If you feel trapped by a goal that bristles with “shoulds”, explore whether you have taken on someone else’s agenda for your own.
Hand-me-down goals are doomed for failure because they are weighed down with impossible expectations. In fact, the higher the imagined stakes, the more you might feel tempted to avoid the project altogether, especially if you allow your fear to drive you.
Any time a goal is burdened with symbolism, lighten the load with realism. Ask yourself questions like:
- “Whose goal is this, really?”
- “What am I trying to prove, or make up for?”
- “What will this give me?” or,
- “What might the realistic outcome be?”
By removing the symbolic trappings from a goal, you may find it easier to move forward. Write down a grounded revision of the goal, and refer to it as often as possible to remain mobilized.
As you work to keep your time commitments manageable, remember that each new goal requires that you give something up in its place.
Taking the time to consciously prioritize and harmonize your goals will reward you on a daily basis!© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.