It’s super easy to get intimidated when you’re looking down a long list of things you want to get done. You get that twist in your gut and can’t quite figure out how to handle all the big things in life. Often enough we set out with a ton of ambition, but a week later decide that waistline wasn’t worth skipping out on cake at that party, or that going to a movie every month is worth delaying your vacation to the Bahamas.
Whatever your goals are, you need to start by writing them down and figure a way to prioritize them. You could even alphabetize them if you have no other way. Take on one goal at a time, too much change too fast will just burn you out (no matter how much you wish could just change everything on a whim). Even scaling the side of a mountain means moving up one arm's length at a time.
For every big goal, you need to create a set of small short term goals (little ones to let you know you’re on track). Want to get into that size 6 (maybe smaller, maybe larger, whatever you’d feel comfortable in)? Set out to lose 2 pounds every week for a month. Each week, weigh yourself and see how close you are to your two pound diet, then adjust your routine accordingly to make it closer the following week. Using this method, you’re making this lifestyle change goal oriented instead of some arbitrary (and intimidating) idea like “I want to lose weight.”.
Let’s say you really want to go on that trip to the Bahamas. Unlike a weight-loss plan where you adjust your week based on the previous week’s results, you’ll get the best results (and deals) when trying to budget money for a future trip. Writing and tracking a budget for all your spending helps you get a grasp of where you might be able to cut some cash to put into your vacation fund. Budgeting like this also gives you the reward of planning out dinners, eating out, or your monthly flick at the theater. You’ll never have to entirely give up these indulgences as long as you plan ahead.
You don’t have to delay saving for that vacation, but you also don’t have to feel pressured into getting all the cash at once. These small goals make today count toward your real pursuits.