How To Set Your Goals If It Makes You Anxious
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For an anxious soul, there’s always something about goal setting… So if you are one, you may find yourself surprisingly anxious when you’re sitting with your goal planner, sipping tea, and trying to decide what’s next.
Why does that happen? Why do we get so nervous thinking about our next move?
It’s because whenever you set your goals, your mind visualizes it as if you’ve already achieved them. But the minute you imagine yourself fail, it can make you feel horrible because your mind thinks you’ve lost something you already had. Some people tend to get anxious during this visualization.
The fact that your brain identifies the goal as already achieved only works to increase the anxiety – the miserable fear of failure is heightened, and it’s even more prominent if you had trouble with your goals in the past.
This can discourage you from setting goals altogether!
But there is good news – goal setting (and achieving!) is not impossible.
Just as skipping goal setting anxiety is possible too.
You see, everything comes down to your thoughts and how you view the things and situations in your life.
Fortunately, you can control both your mindset and your thoughts – and make them work for you, not against you.
The secret to setting your goals and avoiding anxiety at the same time hides in the process. To be confident and brave with your goals, it’s important to be smart through the whole process.
Here’s how to set your goals if you’re anxious
1. Be Realistic
Goal setting often stimulates the production and release of dopamine – a happy hormone that can lift our moods.
This excitement can cause us to be more ambitious and set our goals… a little too high. This can limit your ability to achieve the goal.
So, while setting a goal, keep it realistic – something that can be completed with a reasonable amount of effort, in a normal amount of time.
Not too long, not too fast, not too much, not too little, not too easy, not too hard…
Try to look for that optimal balance.
Also, start with small goals that are attainable, before building up to much higher ones.
Read more: 4 reasons why you are failing at your goals
2. Ensure That They Are Specific
When setting your goals, be very specific on what they are.
“Okay, but what’s a specific goal?”
A specific goal is something that can be measured.
For example, my goal is to go through 3 online courses in a month. I can measure this goal easily.
This goal is also realistic because the number of courses is not too small and not too high for me.
Having a specific goal makes it easier to identify the steps necessary for achieving it.
It will also be easier to track your progress as time goes by.
The progress made will keep you motivated and lower your anxiety levels. It’s a win-win situation!
3. Break Them Down
How to set your goals if they are huge (and scary)?
The secret is to break down your goals into smaller ones, especially if they are long term.
Smaller goals are faster and easier to achieve and the more small goals you checkmark in your planner, the more likely you will stay motivated.
The smaller goals should ultimately lead up to a larger one (gotta challenge yourself, right?).
A great way to plan and create specific goals is by using a goal planner, like this:
4. Identify Possible Obstacles
Goals often come with some avoidable or unavoidable obstacles that are discouraging.
Try to understand that these can make or break your goal achievement process but don’t panic about it.
Planning and working around them can help avoid this from happening.
When you set your goals, identify all the possible obstacles and then – highlight possible solutions.
Do this before starting to work on your goal and whenever you encounter new obstacles in the process (it’s okay, they happen very often, but you can find a solution all the time!).
Make sure that solutions are realistic and specific as well.
5. Carry Them Out
Goal setting can be nerve-racking at best, I know.
However, you should never let anxiety get in the way of achieving our goals. Otherwise, our life is just a never-ending run from fear.
Sure, the chances of failing are there.
But even if you fail – does that mean you should stop trying?
If that was true, you wouldn’t be reading this blog because I would still be lying on my bed and thinking about my miserable life.
Set your goals, work on those plans, be courageous and even if you’re scared – do it scared!
- Always remember to keep your goals realistic and specific – this will then make it easier for you to break them down into smaller steps.
- The smaller the goal, the easier it is, the less anxiety you have.
- Stay positive. You may fail in accomplishing a simple goal today, but tomorrow is another opportunity to try again.
Last, but certainly not the least – never let failure, fear or anxiety stop you from achieving your goals.