How To Nail Your Goals (Even If You Lack Time & Energy)

This guide is for anyone who wants to do and achieve more. It is put together with a lotta love and I hope you will find it useful. If so, share it with your friends and anyone who might benefit from it. Make sure to start from step 1 and continue to the rest. If you are struggling with any of these aspects feel free to reach out to me either here or via Instagram. Have fun!
In this article:

  1. Get clear about what your goals and dreams are
  2. Evaluate your goals and work on one at a time
  3. Expand and multiply your time
  4. Hack your energy levels
  5. Be a dreamer who does

Get clear about what your goals are

Nothing takes as much mental space as the things we have not taken the time to understand and process.

If you have an idea or two that are always on your mind, get them out of there and on a piece of paper, or a note on your phone or a file on your laptop. Get crystal clear about what your goals or dreams are and what the motivation behind them is. Ask yourself these questions for each goal/dream:

  • If I had to explain my dream/goal in one sentence, how would it sound like?

Write the sentence down. Chances are it will take you a few tries to clarify it in order to make it short. This is a wonderful exercise in understanding what your thoughts are all about.

  • Why do I want to do this?

Be really honest with yourself. If is to save time, to impress someone else, to be able to do something better, to earn money? Whatever it is, write it down.

  • How would I feel once I have achieved this goal or dream?

Close your eyes and imagine you are already at the finish line. How does it feel? Identify the strongest feelings and note them down. Imagining your dream coming true might make you proud or happy, or accomplished. It might mean making the people around you proud or helping someone in need.

  • What skills would I need to achieve this? Do I have these skills?

List everything you might need to do to achieve your goal or dream. Do you have all of these skills? Can you learn some of the ones you lack? Can you consider hiring someone to compliment your skills?

  • What resources would this goal/dream require?

Write down what tools, technology, connections and/or money you would need.

  • Knowing all of this, how much time would I need to achieve this?

This is the most important questions for us today. How much time do you think you would need? Whatever your answer is, add 20% on top. Life never goes according to plan and we, humans, have the fault of being too positive about our resources and time management, especially when we are excited about the job at hand.

Evaluate your goals and pick only one (just one!)

Now that you have answered the questions above you have a much better understanding what your goals and dreams require. If you are reading this post, it is mainly because you want to make time for your goals. This should tell you that you cannot do everything at once. Unfortunately, and luckily, you will need to pick just one thing to start with.

When prioritising, ask yourself what is possible for youat the moment and what will bring you most value in the future.

What I have found helpful when deciding on a goal is to be grounded in the present – this means to try not to overestimate my abilities, skills and resources; while looking forward to an exciting future – meaning I am looking for a goal that will sustain my motivation long enough.

If you cannot invest in new skills or new resources to make a goal happen, then pick one that you are already equipped to pursue. If one of your goals made you so excited when you thought of the end result that you cannot stop thinking about it, maybe consider going after that one. If your motivation behind one of your dreams is very strong, it might be worth it to concentrate on it.

The bottom line is this: you have to pick one thing to work on. The rest of your goals and dreams, and any that you might come with in the future, will be safely stored in your notes until you can come back to them. Prioritising just one goal or dream will allow you to focus all of your spare time and energy on it, instead of wasting it on indecisiveness or on too many things at once.

Expand and multiply your time

You might be thinking “What now?” but yes, you read that right! Now that you have chosen the one thing you will work on, let’s start making you the time to do so:

Shift your mindset

Many people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year.

This is called Gates’ Law and it explains how compounding works. In terms of time, we undervalue how much we can grow and learn if we invest even 10min a day consistently for 1 year. So I want you to do this: every time you have “only” 15 minutes of free time, tell yourself “I have whole 15 minutes, I can do this small task or research this thing or plan this one.”. Shift your mindset. You can achieve a lot in a month if you work on your goal for 15 minutes a day. Don’t waste this time on your phone or starring at the TV.
Read more about the Gates’ Law here.

Cut the crap

If you don’t have 3 jobs, big family or kids to take care of and you tell me you don’t have time, I would like to convince you that you do (of course, circumstances vary but hear me out). How much time do you spend on social media? You can check that in your app settings, you will be unpleasantly surprised (again, compounding – 5 minutes here and there contribute to a lot of time at the end of the day). How much TV do you watch? Do you waste your mornings? Do you sit on the couch straight after work, say to yourself “I am done” and stay there for 3 hours? I bet you can cut of these activities out or reduce the time you spend on them. Here you go, you freed at least 30min a day!
Read how to rewire bad habits here.

Stop procrastinating

Sometimes we have time but lack motivation and drive to get started. We can waste precious hours trying to convince ourselves to start working or to go for a run or to cook instead of having a frozen pizza. Mel Robbins, the inventor of the 5 second rule, says that if you have the impulse to take action on your goals, you have to make a physical movement in 5 seconds or your brain will talk itself out of it. Let’s see how it works: you sit on the couch and the thought that you should work on your idea comes to your brain – get up immediately and grab your laptop. You hear your alarm and the thought that you should go exercise comes to your brain – get up immediately and grab your running clothes. You get the point.
Read more about the 5 second rule here.

Hack your productivity

Okay, some days you sit at your desk, you have won over procrastination but you just can’t focus. You are so distracted or overwhelmed by what you have to do that you end up wasting half an hour anyway.

Productivity hack number one: do not multitask. Know exactly what you want to work on and concentrate only on it.

Close all other browser tabs on your laptop. Leave your phone away so you don’t get distracted by social media. Resist the urge to check your emails. Do only one thing. Productivity hack number two: ever heard of the Pomodoro method? It is simple yet very effective: put a timer for 25 min then take a 5 minute break. After 4 pomodoro cycles take a longer break of 15-30 minutes
Learn more about the Pomodoro method here.

Invest and automate to multiply

Do you know what the best way to multiply time is? The answer is:

Invest today to make more time tomorrow.

Investing in a robot vacuum cleaner or a dish washer saves you time you would spend cleaning. Getting you groceries delivered saves you a trip to the store. Planning your week in advance helps you save time during the following days. Automating work processes can cut many repetitive tasks and free some time on your hands. Be creative and be willing to invest. Most importantly, once you free 30min in your day, make sure to use it productively.

Hack your energy levels

Keep yourself healthy

You might want a quick fix, a magical spell that will miraculously make you feel energised and ready to lift mountains, but this is not how life works (at least, healthy life with longterm solutions). Therefore, if you want to increase your overall energy levels, you should aim to be as healthy as possible physically and mentally. If your body pains and aches because you don’t take care of it, if your mind sabotages and trips you every time you try to grow, then you won’t get far before you are tired, stressed, overwhelmed and unmotivated. Taking care of yourself will allow you to do more.

Feel good, do more. This is my motto.

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Energy boosts

Even when we are healthy, we might need a pick-me-up once in a while in order to work on our goals and dreams. Here are my top to-go energy boosters:

Create a mental divider between work/family/responsibilities and the work on your goals

It might be a walk around the block, it might be a meditation, it might even be a short nap. I like to work on my side projects in the evening after I finish my 9-to-5. I have noticed that doing something to separate “work” from “work” really helps me clear my head, reset and boost my energy so I can spend an hour doing something for myself and my dreams.

Work out

Ain’t nothing more effective to shake away the laziness and stale energy like a 15 to 20 minutes of sweat. I keep these workout sessions short because I want to feel a flow of energy and avoid getting so tired I can’t lift my body off the ground. If you can do an outdoors workout – even better!

Cold water and/or coffee

Splash your face with cold water or take a chilly shower, make a cup of hot coffee, set a timer for 25min (the pomodoro method) and get. shit. done!

Visualise the end goal

When nothing seems to work, I close my eyes and imagine how it would feel to have my goals and dreams become a reality. My visualisations are so clear that at times it feels like I can touch and taste the success. I then open my eyes and start working.

PS: I know I am repeating myself, but there is no magic formula. Once you commit to working on your goals and dreams you will find different ways to boost your motivation and energy. The bottom line is that most often than not, at the end of the day after your usual life and responsibilities, it will be difficult to muster the motivation. But you have to keep going. These are your GOALS and DREAMS we are talking about! They are worth it. And most importantly, YOU are worth it!

Rewards and celebrations

When we are talking about motivation and energy, we cannot skip the most obvious contributors: rewards.
If your goals and dreams will take more than a few months to accomplish, you need to plan the work, but also the celebrations. For every significant milestone, make sure to celebrate and reward yourself. The milestones can be physical such as registering a business, creating a product, purchasing a camera, posting your first YouTube video, but also psychological – overcoming your fear of speaking in front of the camera, or winning over your anxiety in even the smallest ways, or letting go of a limiting belief.

The world sees and celebrates only the outcomes of your efforts. However, it often happens that the biggest changes happen first within yourself and your mind.

Make sure to acknowledge and celebrate those. Doing so will give you motivation and energy to continue working on yourself and your ideas.

A word on rewards: promising yourself you will buy Z, Y and Z once you complete A, B and C is a pretty standard way to look at rewards and it works most of the time. However, this type of reward might prove short-lived. Here is a very obvious example just to make a point: you promise yourself that if you manage to eat healthy for a month, you will buy a nice blender to make healthy smoothies. You do 1 month of healthy eating, you buy the blender and immediately go back to take-out and cookies. The energy and health you gain from eating well is the reward, the rest are just objects. Remember not to miss the point!

A word on celebrations: forget about being stingy with celebration. As cliche as it sounds, you only live once. What’s the point on working towards your dreams, if you don’t take the time to stop and look at how far you have come. I am not suggesting you to throw a party every time you overcome a challenge or hit a milestone, but a nice dinner, a glass of wine or a day off to recharge sound like great ways to acknowledge your progress.. Yes, you should work hard towards your dreams and goal, but you should also enjoy life.

Be a dreamer who does

Well, my friends, this is the most summarised version I could give you on what I know about achieving your goals and dreams. In conclusion, I just want to tell you this: do not doubt, even for a second, that you deserve to achieve your dreams, even if they seem bigger than what you could imagine doing at the moment. And do not, even for a second, think that your dreams will come true without you taking action.

Keep your “why” close to heart. Cultivate patience and perseverance. When you fail, get up quickly, forget about it and continue forward. Use the steps and advice in this guide to start and the rest will come with time.

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

If you have more tips that can contribute to this topic, share them in the comments below. And if this guide helped you, feel free to share it with other people who might benefit from it. Cheers!

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