This is what making balanced goals has done to a workaholic

Starting to break yourself out of ‘all work goals only’ is hard because it’s like reorienting the Titanic. The upshot is that it improves your entire life.

Keeping one’s life in some kind of normal balance takes a level of effort to which I have been unaccustomed.

This year, I set just seven goals for myself. Only one of them is a work goal. It’s doing dual work as a financial goal, by the way, so it really is just one goal for 2019.

This means that I have to pay attention to the other areas of my life in a positive and meaningful way. Which is great!

Except, fuck me, it takes real effort to pull myself out of a blind work focus and enjoy the rest of my life. Seriously.

So you know what I’m talking about, I should probably tell you that this year I’ve set goals in all of my life domains. I don’t have hyper-specific domains like ‘parent’. Instead, I set five segments and then categorised me and what I do into those segments.

My life has the following domains:

  • spirit (which is what it is, plus study)
  • creative (self-explanatory)
  • physical (body, health, environment)
  • tribe (relationships of all kind)
  • work (self-explanatory)

Now, grasshopper, if you’re not a one-eyed working person like me, you might think it’s strange that hitting goals in only five domains would take effort. If so, I want to celebrate you for being so awesome! High five!

Disclaimer: The effort is real, even though I’m not doing all of them at once.

If you’ve ever had a bunch of goals you’re trying to do all at once, you know first-hand that it’s a recipe for failure. It’s with this very good reason that Michael Hyatt advocates only chasing 2 or 3 per quarter.

When I set my goals this year, I cheered about keeping things simple. And inwardly groaned at the sheer effort it takes to scale back to just three goals per quarter.

Right now, I have 3 on the go: One habit goal, two achievement goals. And I feel stretched. How on earth did I chase a flurry of goals for years and years?

Oh, right. They were all work goals. Oh, and I didn’t achieve the majority of them. And last year I didn’t even have goals. That’s how I did it (or didn’t it).

You see, dear reader, when as a workaholic you finally start developing every aspect of your life in a mindful way, the effort not to create a one-sided beast is real.

You have to:

  • Create time for things that aren’t work, which means keeping work inside its own time framework
  • Change your life structure so that work doesn’t take over every moment of every day… including, if necessary, adjusting your daily routines
  • Apply yourself to the effort, even when every part of you is screaming out to do something else.

So it is that I am five days into a habit chain. I broke the chain in the first week, and as a result am determined not to break it again! It’s a simple habit of walking for 30 minutes every day, and 5 days in, I am already looking forward to it.

Speaking of which, I need to go for my walk.

In summary

When you first start breaking yourself out of a framework that is ‘all work goals because that’s the only thing I am striving for’, it takes huge amounts of effort, and the right structure. But this is only because it’s like turning a gigantic ship in a new direction. Once you have movement, and persist, it gets easier. When it does, your entire life improves.

How do you structure your goals? Leave a comment and let me how you mindfully keep all parts of your life moving, and what it means to you.

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