The last post was about the fact that we may not get our inner elephant moving because the goal we are aiming for is too “boring”, i.e. rather an underchallenge.
Underchallenge means that the thrill is missing, the goal does not stimulate, does not release energy and does not allow for a sense of achievement.
However, the exact opposite, being overwhelmed, can lead to the fact that you suddenly lack the motivation to tackle it. If a goal is too much for us, we start to doubt whether we can achieve it and our confidence and self-confidence in our abilities dwindle.
But how can it happen that we feel overwhelmed by a goal when we can set it ourselves?
There can be several reasons for this:
- Too big: We have bold goals in mind – e.g., achieving an additional qualification or degree, losing a major amount of weight, or overcoming a fear.
- Too complex (too much at once): We write a long list of things needed to achieve the goal. And suddenly we feel like we shouldn’t be working on just the one thing we want to change, but need to tackle 10 things at once to do it.
- Too fast (no patience): We want too much in too short a time. This happens especially when we compare ourselves with others in terms of what is doable instead of analyzing what is a realistic pace for us (based on our lifestyle habits, our body/metabolism, our possibilities).
So what can we do to not overwhelm our inner elephant with our goal setting?
- Small steps: Especially if you have something big in mind, it’s important to break your goal down into small sub-steps. For example, set a smaller weekly goal – how much time do you want to invest in learning per week? How many kilos do you want to lose per week? etc.
- Simple steps: Just as important as small steps is that the steps to achieve the goal are simple. If several different aspects are necessary to achieve your desired change, break them down as well. Take A in week 1, add B in week 2 and aspect C in week 3. For example, if you have a weight or nutrition goal, you can resolve to avoid alcohol in week 1, increase your fruit and vegetable portions in week 2, watch your sugar intake from week 3 onwards, etc.
- Your pace: Before setting your goal, check by when you would like to have reached it, what is realistic in your case. For example, if you are aiming for a degree or certification which asks for 10 hours of study a week, make 1-2 “trial weeks”. Plan concrete time slots in these weeks that add up to a total of 10 hours. Look back afterwards: Did it work out? Did you find it easy? If it didn’t work out – what would you have to let go off in order to reach the 10 hours? And are you willing to do it? Or is there another solution? E.g. to extend the total period of the training? You can also observe for 1-2 weeks how much weight you are realistically able to lose.
Regarding the aspect of being overwhelmed, there is even an appropriate saying with an elephant:
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
(But don’t tell him – otherwise he will get scared ;-))
Whatever you decide to do – chose your own way, do it your way, at your pace and step by step.
Good luck & appetite for the goal!