May 4, 2018 admin

How to deal with long-term goal setting overwhelm and frustration

I think it’s important to have a long term vision and plan for your life. But, if you’re not careful, it becomes overwhelming and crippling.

Nowadays, I deal with that much better than I used to. I’ve let go of specific long-term goals entirely. Instead, I have a motivating long-term vision (who do I want to be and why?), and a broad set of focuses for the short to mid-term (where do I want to spend my time?). The long-term vision rarely changes. The broad focuses for the short to mid-term changes now and again — but not too often.

Most of what I do in the short-term (weeks and days) is guided by that long to mid-term planning. Importantly, I don’t feel boxed into a set of specific long-term outcomes. And that means I have a huge amount of freedom and leeway with my days and weeks. It feels great.

Most goal setting frameworks are very rigid. They tend to lead to a lot of frustration and unhappiness. I’ve settled on what feels like a solid way to balance having some type of structure and framework in the long-term, and having a good deal of freedom and flexibility in the short-term.

That leads me to what the actual point of this post is 😉

When you start to feel overwhelmed and frustrated by long-term goals, there’s a pretty simple fix for feeling immediately better.

Just let go of it. Instead, just focus on the next 24 hours. Plan a very good day. And then, just do that.

I know that sounds simple, but the more you try and control the long-term, the more frustrated you’ll get.

In your heart, you always know what a good day looks like. It’s usually just full of a few things, that are most important to you. Get one of those behind you and everything looks different.

I’ve struggled to stick to some of my weekly and daily planning habits this week. As a result, I’ve been feeling unfocused. I also have let some of my eating habits slip. It came to a head yesterday evening. I started to get frustrated and slipped back into trying to control the long-term.

What fitness goals should I be trying to achieve? Where do I want to be career wise at the end of the year? etc. etc. I seem to have a habit of doing this when I get frustrated. It’s as if getting control of the long-term will make me feel better. But, you never can, and it never does.

Luckily, I caught myself doing it. I stopped myself and got a good night’s sleep.

When I woke, I planned out a simple day:

  • Eat well (for me, this means Paleo, not over-eating and taking my multivitamin and fish oil supps).
  • Cycle to my co-working space (5 miles)
  • Meeting at 9AM (an hour)
  • Spend the rest of the morning on two things – a personal project and some writing.
  • GMB Elements at lunch
  • Spend the afternoon on two courses I am working on (mindset and course creation).
  • Cycle home from my co-working space (5 miles)
  • Some double under practice
  • Spend some nice time with Fearne (tea and bed-time)
  • Have a nice evening with Ella.

That’s a great mix of health & fitness, personal development and some time with people I love. Regardless of how I feel about the long-term, today will be a good day. My health, relationships and I will be better for it.

I know after a nice bank holiday weekend, I’ll feel much better about my long-term vision and mid-term focuses. No tweaks are necessary, I just need to get back on track. I know I’ll be in the groove for next week and the balance will be restored.

So, if you find yourself getting frustrated and caught up with long term goal setting and planning, try and catch yourself in the moment. Pause, and simply let go. Instead, focus on nailing an awesome day. Then, nail another one. Things always start to look better from there.

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