How Do You Set Realistic Goals and Avoid Overwhelm?

How Do You Set Realistic Goals and Avoid Overwhelm?

How Do You Set Realistic Goals and Avoid Overwhelm?

In the quest to set achievable aspirations without succumbing to stress, we’ve gathered five insights from top executives, including CEOs and Founders. From focusing on daily actions instead of the end goal to aligning career passion with goal management, these leaders offer a roadmap to navigating your ambitions with poise.

  • Focus On Daily Actions, Not the End Goal
  • Pace Your Goals One Step at a Time
  • Break Goals Into Manageable Milestones
  • Adapt Your Goals to Changing Circumstances
  • Align Career Passion With Goal Management

Focus On Daily Actions, Not the End Goal

One of the best ways to set realistic goals and avoid feeling overwhelmed by them comes after they’ve been set. It’s important to ensure that one maps out the exact process to get there and the daily KPIs that will be required to achieve that goal.

The element of this that reduces the feeling of overwhelm, is when one takes their focus off the end goal and instead focuses on the daily actions, knowing that, provided it’s a proven plan, they will get there in time.

By focusing on the daily activity and the daily wins and successes, one creates a very valuable cycle of consistent motivation and small wins. Compare this process by checking daily whether the end goal has been achieved; that’s a recipe for overwhelm and, ultimately, failure.

Sebastian JaniaSebastian Jania
CEO, Ontario Property Buyers

Pace Your Goals One Step at a Time

When I started My Millennial Guide, I was overflowing with exciting ideas and ambitious goals. I wanted to launch multiple new article series, build my email list, and grow my social media following—all in the first three months! Looking back, those initial goals were completely unrealistic. I felt overwhelmed and stressed trying to do everything at once.

I learned that I work much better when I focus on one step at a time. Now, I start by setting a specific goal like “Publish two new blog posts per week for the next month.” Once I get into a groove with that, I can add something new, like starting a newsletter. If my bandwidth feels stretched, I know it’s time to pause on new projects.

The key has been giving each major goal the time and focus it requires without moving on to the next thing too quickly. And I now know when feelings of overwhelm creep in, it’s a sign I need to re-evaluate my current goals and make sure they are realistic for where I’m at.

Brian MeiggsBrian Meiggs
Founder, My Millennial Guide

Break Goals Into Manageable Milestones

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I break down my annual objectives into smaller, manageable milestones. For instance, if my goal is to close 30 deals in a year, I’ll set monthly targets that align with this larger goal. This helps me stay focused on short-term achievements, preventing the sense of being swamped by the bigger picture.

Another strategy I employ is to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. By categorizing activities, I can tackle high-priority tasks first, ensuring that I’m making progress on the most critical aspects of my business. This approach keeps me organized and less overwhelmed, as I’m constantly moving forward.

Samantha OdoSamantha Odo
Real Estate Sales Representative and Montreal Division Manager, Precondo

Adapt Your Goals to Changing Circumstances

The key is adaptability. A goal might be realistic when you set it, but circumstances change, making some things easier and others impossible. It’s important to ensure the goal is clear and measurable, assign a priority to it, and outline the steps that need to be taken to achieve it.

Doing these three things means that if something comes along that prevents you from reaching your goal, you can objectively reassess the situation and either amend (or even ditch) the goal, decide to sacrifice something else to prioritize the goal, or find another route to your target.

In our small business, we set marketing targets all the time, with aspirational goals toward improving brand awareness and product education. These are crucial for helping our business grow, but if there is a crisis—such as a key member of staff taking ill or leaving—understanding our priorities and being willing to adapt stops us from getting overwhelmed, helps us stay targeted, and keeps us working effectively.

Kim AllcottKim Allcott
Partner, Allcott Associates LLP

Align Career Passion With Goal Management

As a small business owner, I know the key to realistic goals lies in one’s choice of career. Before I launched my own business, I regularly felt overwhelmed by tasks. But now, despite having a busier schedule than ever, I’m able to move forward every day with a sense of accomplishment, not dread.

That doesn’t mean entrepreneurship is right for everyone; rather, it’s an example of how doing what you love helps manage the daily stressors inherent in modern life.

If I didn’t truly enjoy what I do, I’d struggle to meet my goals simply due to malaise. When I speak to candidates at my recruiting firm who complain of too many responsibilities, I tell them a career pivot might be in order.

Linn AtiyehLinn Atiyeh
CEO, Bemana

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