Hopefully. I mean, this process hasn't made me barf yet, and I once anxiety-puked on Septa--so if that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!
First of all, I should say that I used to hate setting goals, and by "used to," I mean three months ago. I would pick these huge tasks to do that would just paralyze me with stress and overwhelm. Barf.
But NO MORE! I have come up with a way that is stupid easy and helps me to focus on a few things to accomplish each month in a variety of areas (lifestyle, creative writing, money management, etc.). And if I don't get a goal done, I miraculously don't beat myself up about it (probably because I feel accomplished for checking off other goals). It's great! I just think of it as a skipped goal to keep in mind going forward, unless I've totally lost interest in it, which is (again, miraculously) nbd.
I was recently talking to my dear friend Trampersand* aka Timmi aka The Artist Formerly Known as Prince about this type of goal-setting and thought I would flesh it out more for her here, and for anybody else who's interested. I started using this process after reading Ruth Soukup's (FREE!) goal-setting e-workbook, so I highly recommend checking that out for further guidance and more intensive goal work.
Step one: Think big (just like Doug: think big! think big! THINK. BIG!)
In this step, you just grab a piece of paper and a pen (personally, I like using markers) and word vomit (yikes it's a theme) all of the things you'd like to do or work towards in the next few months to a year. Make sure to include things even if they scare you. These monthly goals aim to nudge you out of your comfort zone, as well as help you to focus on a few specific things at a time. Don't worry, this list is a just jumping-off point and can be revised later.
Step two: Think small (sorry, no catchy Doug song for this, unless you want to go vegan)
Alright, now it's time to sit back and come up with 4-5 things from your big list (or steps toward accomplishing things on your big list) to work on in the next month. Maybe "look up a yoga class" or "flesh out a story" or "send a card to someone." ANYTHING! For myself, I like to quantify tasks whenever possible, i.e. "go to the library three times" or "comment on two blogs," to get myself thinking that said task is a breeze! I also like to pick mini-goals from a variety of areas, so two of my recent monthly goals were "Get SHA ring resized" and "schedule physical." So go ahead--spice up your life.
Step three: Think vision board
Personally, I like to write my chosen 4-5 mini-goals on a neon index card and hang it in my room. You can forgo the neon, but I highly recommend putting your goals somewhere you can see them so that a.) you don't forget about them *grandma emoji* and b.) you can cross those bastards off when you complete them (aka the best part of any to-do list-type thing!).
And then repeat steps 2 and 3 the next month.
So that's it. This process has definitely helped me to focus and get stuff done without feeling like I'm being pulled in a million directions at once** and, hopefully, it can do the same for you! :)
*Fun fact: Timmi is my cape-wearing accomplice in this post!
**I'm actually no longer "allowed" (by my therapist) to keep daily to-do lists because I used to go crazy with them, writing down way too many things to do in the few hours I have outside of work and then stressing myself out trying to get everything done. So these mini-goals have been, for me, a lower-stress, more focused substitution for a to-do list.