It’s one of the most common and basic pieces of personal development advice. Set your goals, write them down, and review them each day to refocus your efforts and motivate you to take action. Yet for many of us (myself included), reviewing our goals can leave us feeling frustrated and defeated.
Instead of firing up our sense of excitement and driving us forward, sometimes reviewing our goals simply reminds us how far we still have to go. Instead of motivating us it drags us down, leaving us frustrated at our lack of progress. It’s worse on those busy days when work, family, and other commitments pile up. You may as well just give up – you’re not going to fit in talking any action towards your goals with all that lot to do anyway.
Super motivating eh?
Reframe your goals as commitments
Reviewing your goals when you are already feeling overwhelmed isn’t always the best idea. It won’t motivate you if it feels like more work on top of your ever-growing To Do list. An alternative approach I’ve found helpful is to reframe your goals as more general commitments. This takes away the ‘to do’ list feeling of our goals and reaffirms the underlying motivation and desire instead.
For example, instead of reviewing your workout goals try affirming a commitment to being fit and healthy.
Replace “I work out three times a week” with “I am 100% committed to being fit and healthy”
Can you feel the difference? The first goal feels like a To Do list item that you have to find time to squeeze into your already jam-packed schedule (ugh). In contrast, affirming a commitment to being fit and healthy feels much lighter. Eating a healthy lunch could count towards this, as could taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It feels easier to achieve and links positive qualities to your self-image, helping you to feel better (and more positive) rather than overwhelmed.
You can use this technique for any goal. For example:
Replace “I will achieve a promotion/complete a project/meet my sales targets” with “I am 100% committed to giving my best every day at work”.
Replace “I will read a personal growth book/attend a course/meet with my coach each month” with “I am 100% committed to learning and growing”
Setting and reviewing your goals is an important part of your growth and development, however there will be times when reviewing them leaves you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Reframing them as more general, positive commitments is a great technique to encourage you during those tough times and help you to stay on track and moving forward (even if only slowly) towards your goals.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with this technique (or any others you have found useful) or any questions you may have. Please comment below!