What are the best ways to deal with being overwhelmed with life?
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So – you have a goal. But when you finally have some free time, that goal can start to feel like the last thing you want to work on.
You’d rather hang out with your friends, or watch Netflix and relax than do the actions necessary to make your goal come true.
But then your goal just sits there, untouched and still an unrealized dream… and that doesn’t feel so hot either.
Ask Yourself, “Why Do I Want This Goal?”
Usually, people want to achieve things related to actions that they enjoy doing. If you love to play music, you might want to be a musician – makes sense right?
And enjoying what you are doing is going to help you stick with your goals longer.
So ask yourself, “Why do I want this?”
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Go even a step further and recognize WHY you prefer other activities over the actions that will support your goal. List the reasons why your “guilty activity” steals your attention every night.
For me, watching Netflix is a way to veg out and stop thinking for a little while, and I enjoy spending time watching TV with my husband.
Think of ways that you can transfer those same feelings to your goal activity instead.
Silent Motivation Killers: Denial & Overwhelm
Maybe it’s not that it’s too much work… or maybe it’s actually something else that’s keeping you from pursuing your dream.
Maybe you are just feeling overwhelmed or scared you might fail?
To tell you the truth, you would be doing it wrong if these feelings didn’t pop up from time to time!
Overwhelming feelings like to hide by masking their identity in the form of excuses.
How do they do this?
Comfortable activities start to sound super appealing. That new season of your favorite show seems to call out your name, drawing you in and away from the actions that are going to make your dreams come true.
So how can you battle overwhelm?
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 8 Motivation Killers You Need to Know About
Overcome Overwhelm with Lazy Actions
Break your goal down into basic actions. Break it down until the action is something you’ve done many times before. An action that is just as easy as watching your favorite show on Netflix.
I like to call them Lazy Actions! Because you know you are doing it right if the actions are something you would do even if you were feeling lazy!
Plus, think about it – isn’t feeling lazy just doing what you want to do, despite feeling like you should be doing something more productive or “better” instead? Who said so!? It’s your life! So let’s transform and embrace the lazy mindset!
For example, say that your goal is to find your purpose (a goal that we all want, right?) It’s also a goal that might feel overwhelming when viewed all at once. Break it down until you reach your Lazy Actions. What do you need to do to find your purpose?
- You can’t find something without looking for it, so maybe you start by creating a list of all the things you love to do. [Lazy Action = Create a list]
- Or you could talk to people who have found their purpose and learn from their stories, so you can brainstorm ways it can apply to your own life. [Lazy Action = Write an email, text someone, or make a phone call]
- You could create an atmosphere of wellbeing right now so that you are open and willing for future inspiration to strike. [Lazy Action = Relax! That’s pretty lazy, right!?
These are all examples, there could be a million more, and only you will know what is right for you.
Achieve Any Overwhelming Goal with Lazy Goals
But how do we make these actions and this goal feel even less overwhelming? We break down each of these things even further. You’ve created a list before, right? You’ve written an email before and you’ve made a phone call? These are actions you’ve done before, actions that you are good at doing.
Here are some more potential examples:
Goal: To be more productive
- Think of someone who is productive that you admire, and ask them for advice (make a phone call, text, email, etc…)
- Schedule meetings with yourself to get things done
- Read articles about productivity for pointers
Goal: Clean out my closet
- Create a list of the items you want to donate
- Do a Google or Pinterest search on strategies for cleaning out your closet
- Buy hangers or other organizational tools (Can you say, Container Store trip!)
Or here is a goal that I had recently…
Goal: Double my email subscribers for the Soultiply blog
- Signed up for a free course
- Make an online quiz that converts to wow my readers
- Played on Canva for 15 minutes to create the opt-in
The ideas are endless!
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Reach Your Goals by Taking Action – Even Lazy Ones
Remember – achieving a goal is just a string of actions that add up over time. But just like you can add up episodes during a TV binge, you are going to add up actions over time anyways – whether they are productive actions or not. Why not have those actions add up to something that you want long-term?
Focus on those small, Lazy Actions rather than the full, big picture of your goal or the emotions associated with it. Those thoughts, THEY are the silent killer. When you think about how extra money will change your life, or how your dream will change the way that people think about you… That’s when the goal starts to feel scary – when you start to focus your emotional energy on what it could mean for your future.
If you feel disorganized, there are plenty of project management software and apps that can help you track these actions. Some of my favorites are Asana, DaPulse, Wunderlist, Todoist – the list goes on and on.
Add up those actions, one by one, and you will be on your way to achieving whatever goal you set your sights on. Netflix is great, but it can’t do that for you!
Do You Really Want to Achieve This Goal?
Do you know what dreams/goals/passion/purpose all have in common?
Undeniable feelings of power and desire. And these feelings are almost impossible to describe unless you’ve felt them before.
You can’t make them up and you can’t force yourself to want to achieve a goal just because someone else told you to do so.
When you find something that fuels the feelings of power and desire in you – you will JUST KNOW. It’s like when my mother told me that “I would just know” when I met the man I should marry. I dated a decent amount of semi-decent guys. And I thought, “Could this be him? How will I know?!” But she assured me that when I met “the one” – it would be undeniable.
And she was right!
I knew my (now husband) was “the one” long before we started dating. His code name was “Husband” with me and my friends! (Good thing it worked out, or else that might be a little creepy…)
This is the same way it should feel with your goals. You have to KNOW, in the deepest part of your heart, that this is what you want to do with your life.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Take Action When You Can't Get Started
Be Honest About How You Feel About Your Goal
If you don’t feel this way, could someone else be trying to influence your goals? (like a parent or significant other?) Or maybe you’ve tried to convince yourself that you want this goal, even if that isn’t the deepest truth? You might think you can only make money by living a responsible life and you are afraid that your goal will not give you that stability.
Dreams can call BS.
Just know that anything can happen with the right amount of action. But there’s something more that must fuel action – and that’s motivation.
And motivation feeds our desire. Don’t have the desire? You won’t have the motivation, which means you most likely will not have action. And without action, you will not have your dream.
No One is Forcing You To Do Anything
And maybe right now isn’t the right time for your dream.
You have to be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up for taking a night off from work to catch up with your girlfriends might actually help you in the long run.
It’s all about finding the balance between present pleasures and future joys.
Imagine each day of your life (assuming you live well into your old age) as a dollar. Do you want to spend your dollars on little treats that you mildly enjoy, or do you want to save them up for something more expensive that you will love in the future?
Most likely, it will be a balance of both.
And if you do choose a present pleasure over a future joy – make sure that it was worth your time and energy!
Get Your Slay Your Goals Guide
Whenever I get stuck on a project or goal, I know the only way to get back on track is if I take some time off. I go and watch TV, or I give some attention to another project. But then, I always come back to it, refreshed and with a new perspective.
So take this time now, with your friends, doing the activities you want to do, but keep your goal simmering in the back of your mind.
And go back to it when it’s time. That’s how you beat overwhelm?
How do you quickly beat overwhelm when it’s too much?
More About Guest Contributor
Brittany Hoopes is the founder of Soultiply, a site where driven millennials can learn how to translate their dreams into actionable to-dos. She conducts qualitative research on topics surrounding goal setting, motivation, productivity, and inspiration.