I have known for a long time that I am one of those people who truly requires a purpose in order to be satisfied. I need to be needed. If I don’t have at least one goal that I’m working toward, I tend to coast my way through my days, getting very little done. Even if it’s not a monumental task or project, having something specific to accomplish keeps me moving.
It doesn’t have to be a detailed plan or even be written down, although some people prefer to work it like that (I am one of those). Even if you don’t write your “to-do list” down, thinking through the things that you want to accomplish and then mentally checking them off as they are completed can provide a sense of accomplishment. And it’s a positive feedback loop. Feeling like you’re accomplishing something makes you want to accomplish more.
But one of my favorite parts of the article was the admonition to not get stuck in the planning stage. Some of us have a tendency to try to get the “perfect” game plan, or choose the “perfect” goal, and wind up accomplishing nothing. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t plan at all, or that we shouldn’t be prioritizing our goals, but we can’t allow the planning or the worry about which goal should take priority paralyze us. Just choose something and work at it.
And the best advice ever? Set SMALL, attainable goals. This doesn’t mean you don’t set big goals, it means you dice your goals into tiny chewable pieces. If you have Mount Washmore to tackle, shoot for finishing two loads today. If you have things still in boxes from your last move, set a mini-goal of a certain number of boxes or a certain amount of time spent sorting and putting away. If you want to lose 50 lbs, have that ultimate goal in your mind, but set a micro-goal of losing two pounds this week. Get the idea?
If you break a large goal into smaller pieces, it’s much easier to stay motivated because you’re always getting that feeling of accomplishment for moving forward. Otherwise, the ultimate goal can seem quite daunting. So that overwhelming task you’ve been putting off? Take a tiny bite of it today. And make sure you have a “purpose” that you’re working towards. It’s good for your health!