When You Have Trouble Setting Goals, Try This Instead

Some people are adverse to setting goals, no matter how hard they try. There is something inside them that makes it overwhelming or difficult or just downright annoying. Maybe it’s the structure and discipline of it or maybe it’s the time it takes to sit and write them down. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, don’t worry. You can set yourself up for success without the need to go through the hard labor of setting goals.

One thing about goals is once we write them down, we now have a visual thrust in our face to remind us that we’ve succeeded or failed. It’s the “failed” part that pushes some folks away. In order to steer clear of the stigma and effort of setting goals, try setting up systems instead. What is a system, you ask? It is nothing more than supplies and conveniences that you will need to accomplish what you set out to accomplish.

A System I Use:

When drinking coffee made my stomach upset and gave me horrible heartburn, I resolved to drink tea in the mornings instead. I wrote down a goal; drink less coffee. So I went out and bought boxes of green tea and rooibos tea and placed them in my pantry. And every morning I woke up, headed to the kitchen…and poured myself a steaming hot mug of coffee. Thirty minutes later, I was trying to extinguish the red hot fire in my throat and battling the disgusting taste of nausea. This went on for weeks until one day, my wife (genius that she is) purchased a Breville Tea Maker for me and several boxes of various organic teas. These were stacked high on the counter in plain sight, right next to the tea maker. Guess what happened after this simple system was set up? Yep, I started drinking more tea and yes, less coffee. Goal achieved!

What went wrong?

A number of things. First, I didn’t realize how strong a hold the clutches of coffee had me in. It is not about the caffeine with me because I can stop and not feel the side effects that some people do. It is more about the experience; something strong and aromatic, the touch of a warm mug between my hands, the morning ritual I was doing for years. That was a hard habit to break. Also, I put my tea in the pantry, which was out of sight and out of mind. Walk in my kitchen and quickly you are greeted by the coffee maker. In sight, in mind. And in sight, in mind wins just about every time.

The brilliance of my wife’s idea, and trust me she put much thought into this, was that the tea maker was very similar to the coffee maker. It sits on the countertop. It brews tea much like the coffee maker brews coffee, so I still get something strong and aromatic. Still get the touch of a warm mug between my hands. And still get the same morning ritual that I had for years. I do still drink coffee, just not nearly as much as I used to and I feel much better because of it.

What you can do:

Think of something you want to accomplish. Write down the tools/supplies you’ll need to achieve it. Then go out and get those supplies and put them in a spot that ensures you’ll see them, have easy access to them and most importantly, use them. Break it down into small bites so that it isn’t overwhelming. If you want to spiralize vegetables to cut carbs and eat more veggies then:

-Go and buy a spiralizer.

-Wash the spiralizer so it is ready to go

-Put the spiralizer on your counter / cooking area in plain view

-Purchase the veggies you want to spiralize

-Spiralize a veggie for your next meal (or multiple veggies). Put some in the refrigerator so you have for a meal the following day

-Repeat as often as you’d like (daily, weekly?)

-Mission accomplished!

Summing it up:

Even though I wrote down the goal to drink less coffee, it was not until I implemented a system that I actually achieved my goal. When that simple system was put into place, the problem was solved. So if setting goals is unpleasant and if success is eluding you, try setting up a system instead. It can be used for just about anything and is an easy and guaranteed effective way to achieve success!