Who doesn’t love a good list? And what’s better than crossing something off that list, even if the first item on your list is something like, “Make a list.” (You know you’ve done it.)
That little dopamine boost isn’t just because you’re weirdly excited by lists (although it’s ok if you are). Just the act of making goals for yourself gives your brain a boost, and the closer you get to your goal, the bigger the internal excitement.
But, as we all know, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by our goals. As soon as you even think about making a goal … the pressure to achieve sneaks in … sometimes followed by the urge to immediately pretend you didn’t make your goal in the first place and go back to the comfort of “Goal-Free Land.”
So, how do we move past this and into the land of progress and beneficial goal setting? Hint: It doesn’t happen all at once, and it doesn’t involve spiraling and thinking you can do it in one day!
Small steps WILL get you there.
This is probably not the first time you’ve heard this advice. But maybe you just need to hear it from a different perspective for it to stick! Let’s look at an example:
Goal: You want to meet 10 new people this month but the thought of talking to anyone makes you feel a little “spicy” and nervous.
Initial Reaction: That is a LOT of people to meet. I do not want to do that. I do not know HOW to do that.
It’d be really easy to forget your goal and move about the rest of your quiet day like it never happened. But, you and your goals are worth fighting for! So, let’s break down, for this specific goal, one plan to move you forward.
Step 1: Anytime you’re in line in public (at the library, at the gas station, in the grocery store, etc.), you’re going to smile at the person next to you and say “hi.” This is no easy feat for a lot of us!
Step 2: The next time you’re at work, or a spin class, or your kids’ school, or anywhere you frequent regularly, start a conversation with someone you’ve seen before but have never talked to. Ask them how their day is going, tell them you like their shoes. Yes, even strike up a conversation about the weather if you’re scrambling for topics. The more frequently you do this kind of communicating, the easier it gets!
Step 3: Go do something with a friend you already know and ask them to invite someone new! Mutual friends are a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
Step 4: Keep it simple. Do all of these things until you’re comfortable doing them. And then keep doing them.
When you pick one of these things to do each day, empowerment is at your fingertips (although that doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult—it IS a goal after all!).