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A Guide to Goal Setting as a Minimalist|notepad of priorites and coffee|


A Guide to Goal Setting as a Minimalist

The idea of being a minimalist is that you stop collecting 'stuff', rushing around, and making yourself busy for the sake of being busy. You lead a simpler, more tranquil life and enjoy having more time to focus on the things that are really important to you.

At first glance, that sort of philosophy doesn't really mesh with goal setting. Goals are about achieving or getting something. How can you focus on goal setting while also 'being happy with what you have'? It all depends on the goals you set, and how you approach them.

notepad of priorites and coffee What Really Matters To You?

Many people fail to achieve the goals they set because they set too many. It's hard to lose fat, gain muscle, spend more time with your family, get great grades on that course, see the worlds and clear your debts all at the same time. Can some people who are incredibly lucky, with great support networks, have it all? Perhaps. Most people, however, may find that it's much easier to focus on just a couple of really important goals at a time.


- You're doing that course and if you fail it will cost you time and money to re-sit, so make time to study

- You care about your body, and exercise helps your mental health, so yes, focus on getting fit, but accept that progress will be slow and steady

- If you want to spend time with your family, that limits the time you have to work, so finances may be stretched

- If you're living a minimalist lifestyle, then you are spending less so can save some money. You'll have less debt when you graduate, and you can see the world then

The above is just an example. Different people at different stages in their lives may be thinking about other issues. Do you want a big house or a short commute? Do you want to do a triathlon or would you rather spend that time learning a language?

Whatever you decide, set big goals, because focusing on that goal means you're less likely to get bored or distracted. 1

Prepare for Setbacks

Setbacks are likely when you set a lofty goal, so be prepared for them and have an idea of how you will cope with them. It helps if you have an idea of your 'why'. If you have decided you want to run a marathon and you hurt your ankle while running a 5K, it can be tempting to go "well, I can't run for a while so I'll stay at home and eat Pizza and rewatch Game of Thrones from the beginning". While it's OK to take some time out, if you go that far you'll end up feeling incredibly unfit by the time your ankle heals.

If you know that your "why" is because you want to prove to yourself how fit you can become, then you'll want to keep up your fitness in the long term. So you'll cope with the ankle injury by practicing good self care. Go swimming or do exercises that don't stress the ankle. Focus on the rehab and get back to your goals.

Picture Your Success

One of the tricky things about staying motivated is keeping it up for a long time. Learn to visualize your successes. 2 Think about how once you've decluttered and minimalism is natural to you, so many parts of your life will get simpler. Think about how you will be better off, have lower bills, and can either save more or have more free time. Think about how being fit will make keeping up with the kids easier. Think about how passing that exam will let you have that dream job instead of the job you're in now.

Take the Pressure Off

It's nice to have goals, but you're more likely to achieve them if they add value rather than stressing you out. Good goals are:

- Simple

- Meaningful

- Pressure Free 3

You may have heard of the analogy of the carrot and the stick. Carrots are a reward, sticks are a punishment. Yes, there are some things in life that we don't want to do, but we will do anyway because if we don't do them then we will be punished. Why add more of those things? Your goals, and any goal tracking system you use, should be positive. Don't think "if I fail that course I will be stuck in a dead end job for the rest of my life". That will stress you out and make it harder to focus. Instead, think "if I pass that course I will be able to get a better job".

If you try your best, and the results you get aren't great. That's OK, there are other options. You could rest, you could try a different course focusing on something you've been enjoying recently. There is always a Plan B. Reward yourself for success, but don't punish yourself for failure.

Minimalist living is not about punishment or penance. Goal setting does not mean "game over" if you do not achieve the goal on your first try. You will always have the chance to take another approach or to change your goals if things are not working out.

Be Your Best You

Minimalists don't worry about pleasing everyone on the planet. They focus on offering the best that they can for the people that matter the most. Take some time to think about what really makes you happy, and try to be the best "You" that you can. If your goal is to buy a used car outright while your best friend is buying a new house, that's OK. If you want to run a marathon but your boss just did a triathlon, that's OK. Your goals are for you, and you alone.

Photo credits: ntkris/, martvisionlk/

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