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Amira McLaughlin

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Imagine traveling without a destination. It can feel like you are moving through a forest where every tree seems similar to another. You walk slowly forward, looking around to see if you can find a point of direction, something to tell you where you are and if you are moving forward after all. Walking ever slowly in every direction to find awhile later, you are back where you started. You did not get far. The energy expended is equivalent to walking 7-10 miles, but in this case, getting nowhere.

Photo by Jose Vega on

Goals are the posts and the destination to let you know you are on the right track to what you want and where you want to go. It’s a way to keep yourself moving, but you must keep your eye on the prize, as they say. If you look away for too long, you may not be able to refocus and continue. So it’s essential, to have goals, and milestones, mini-goals along the way.

We’ve talked a bit about setting goals and why it’s important to set meaningful and specific goals that are measurable. I hope it inspired you to spend a little time thinking about what some of your own goals may be — what you want. Time for thinking is over. Today it’s time to put the theory to practice by writing down goals and checking them off as a confidence hack.

This isn’t going to be as hard or as complicated as you may think at first glance. Yesterday we talked about some pretty big, long-term goals. While those are great to have, there are also much smaller, daily goals we can use to get a boost in confidence. These are the small goals you want to write down and check off. Sometimes they are part of your bigger goals, and sometimes they aren’t.

Think about what you want to get done today. Maybe this includes making a meal plan for the week, finding some time to read a book, or taking an hour for yourself to play a video game. Maybe it’s weeding the garden. Maybe it’s replacing the windshield wiper fluid in your car. It doesn’t matter how large or small, write those goals down on a small notepad that you can carry with you or leave at your desk or kitchen counter. Then, as you accomplish each small goal, check it off. You can put a checkmark next to it or cross it out. Try them both and see which one feels better.

It’s very satisfying to check items off your goals or to-do list. Each time you check something off, you get a mini boost of confidence that will help motivate you to tackle the next task and the next one. Mix and match goals or tasks that are very easy to accomplish, and those that take a little longer or require a bit more will power on your part.

Play around with how much you put on your list to check off. If you find yourself overwhelmed with too many tasks and goals, limit it to no more than five things. If you find that you can’t possibly make it through your entire list and that not finishing gets you down, make sure you add no more than what you can comfortably complete. If, on the other hand, having quite a few extra items on that list motivates you to see how much you can check off before bedtime, load up that goals list. Make it work for you and see what system gives you the most significant boost in confidence and courage.

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