How to set goals and not become completely overwhelmed.

How can you set goals and not become completely overwhelmed? It has something to do with mini-goals.

I will share an insight I've had with a client recently because I believe it's super important for creatives.

So you you're doing what you love, you're hustling, living the dream.

Naturally, the dream looks and feels more like being at an endless party - fun at first but eventually it wears down on ya, and you just want to rest, dammit! Which is where the word sustainable comes from. We all feel like once we can sustain our blogs, brands, and businesses, we can rest and relax and have fun.

Weeeeeell, I won't argue with you cos we have bigger fish to fry.

To get to the sustainable part, we each have our systems we mostly devised ourselves, because let's face it, we hate other people telling us what to do, and when they do, some of the time it works but most of the time it doesn't because we are all different individuals with different strengths.

But our systems don't always work either. Sometimes they backfire.

Take my first system for example.

It used to be a series of goals that I wanted to reach, but they were mostly goals I wasn't even close to at the moment, which made it very hard to reach them when I didn't even know what stood in the middle.

For example, say I wanted to publish a book next. 

But what if I haven't written a book? So I sit down and write the damn thing. But what if I don't know what to do next? I do research and figure out I need to edit it and find someone to do the cover. But what if I don't know anything about how books get published? Well, I'll figure it out as I go...

This is a good enough strategy for someone who is TIRELESS. You need a lot of motivation and stamina to sustain it, and I'm not saying that's impossible but does it really have to be so hard?! Can't we make it a tad easier?!

I believe we can make it easier. By not jumping so far.

A client comes to me and says she dreams of starting her own business, and I get super excited for her, but then she tell me it's taken her a year to make any kind of progress on her website and by the way, she's overwhelmed by all the details and the things she has to do, and she doesn't know where to start and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh.

You see, she always starts from the end point.

And when you start from the mountain and you've never hiked before, of course you're going to feel overwhelmed! (I can't breathe thinking about it!)

Instead, why not try to break it down and reverse-engineer it?

You tell me you want to start a business, great! What do you need first?

Maybe you need to get your first clients or create your "minimum viable website" or you need to gather a few emails or maybe you need to figure out what it is you want to do for people. Whatever your first mini-goal is, I suggest you go for it without any fear or judgment or self-doubt. 

Deep down you know what needs to be done first, next, etc, but the end point of your journey keeps distracting you.

That is why most people need a coach. Not because they don't know what to do but because they have too many things to do, and they need someone outside of their buzzing head to pull them back out and make them listen to that voice inside that knows what needs to happen next.

Operating from a place of mini-goals is much healthier than constantly "remembering your why" and setting giant goals your brain doesn't know what to do with. And if you don't know what your next mini-goal should be, make a roadmap of your journey to your big goal. Take your crayons or sharpies or whatever you draw with, and have fun. Make a maze or a map or a milestone mountain or whatever makes sense to you. Start with Point A and finish with Point B, or Point Z, and sprinkle the inbetween with your mini-goals.

Have you noticed how when you hold a mini-goal in your mind, and it feels possible and close, you do your very best to reach it as soon as you can?

That does not happen with our big why's and end goals because they seem so far, we sometimes lose patience or courage or hope, and we end up where we started - with a big dream and a thousand things to do to get there. 

Not to mention we end up procrastinating out of fear... 

Liberating yourself from the end-goal mindset and embracing the mini-goals is a mindset shift that needs to happen so you can focus and prioritize. (tweet it)

I'll give you another example...

My goal for September is to get 5 clients. That simple.

It's such a doable and fun goal that my mind has no difficulty embracing it and working out the steps I need to take to get there. I worked out some funnels, offered a free training, and even started answering questions on Quora.

In the end, it's not an earth-shattering goal and I don't know how long it would actually take me to get there, but you know what???

The more you do the work and achieve your mini-goals, the less you’ll care about *WHEN* you get there.

I know these days we're all about the when and the answer is always now, but... that's not a very healthy mindset, especially for creatives who are building something that we want to last. And things of true value take time.

A lot of time.

A loooooooooooot of time.

And by trying to speed up the process we are depriving ourselves of HAVING FUN IN THE MOMENT. By wanting everything NOW we are always rushing and hustling, constantly stressed out and tired, and never truly appreciating our little victories, which will eventually lead to bigger victories, and one day we'll reach the victory, our ultimate goal, and we'll be exhausted by then.

Knowing most of my clients and fellow creative rebels and myself, we're wayyy too ambitious to "stop there." We'll probably add even more gigantic goals to our todo lists and then go the journey again and end up even more exhausted. But on the way we would have compromised relationships, health, etc.

I don't know about you, but this doesn't seem so fun.

The “fun” comes from being in the moment, taking stock of our little victories, and appreciating the journey

That is mostly why I love having an accountability buddy - because we remind each other to take stock of what we have accomplished, which is a lot more than you think. You're just going too fast toward a goal that is too big.

And if you're thinking this mini-goal thing is slooooooow, I beg to differ.

If you keep setting those mini-goals and work hard to achieve each one, you will find yourself closer to your end goal sooner than you have ever been before. And if you believe you can do it, you will do it, and soon.

That's all that your dream is - a series of mini-goals.

And because everything's a choice, you get to make yours today.

Will you keep driving yourself mad and working yourself to the bone toward a goal that is so distant that it's both scary and aggravating? Or will you sit down and make an actionable map of how you're going to get there?

Seriously, just sit down and draw it out.

Place where you are on the far left and where you want to be - eventually - on the far right. Then make a list of the steps that will take you there and place them in some kind of order that makes sense for you. You can even use stickies on a wall or notecards on a cardboard board so you can move things around if need be. (We are rebels indeedy.)

The point of this exercise is not to box you in, but to liberate you. From the stress and the frustration and the confusion that have been your companions for the past few months, or years. Hopefully, you'll sleep better after this.

And remember, you can always apply for Coaching for Creative Rebels. It's the ideal solution for those of us who are tired of doing things on other people's terms and who want to do what we love and make an impact. 



Violeta Nedkova

Violeta Nedkova is a multipassionate marketer who loves helping people. She talks and writes about marketing with purpose and personality because it's so much better than traditional marketing.