If you’re feeling guilty about not meeting a goal it might be time to try a new approach. Setting goal minimums can help you get tasks done with minimal stress.
Photo by Wagg66.
The problem with huge goals and equally as huge commitments to radical changes is that it’s hard to keep up with the changes and even harder to acknowledge you’ve failed at the task. Over at the productivity blog Dumb Little Man they’re focused on what they call Minimum Standard Agreements — what’s “good enough” for you. Regarding resolutions and things like gym attendance they write:
[…]Somewhere along the way, you stopped. Going to the gym five times a week just wasn’t working. You ended up impulse shopping. You never managed to get up on time. Whatever it was, you felt like you’d failed.
The problem is, we’re prone to all-or-nothing thinking. We set ourselves high standards, and give up completely when we can’t meet them.
There’s another way. Rather than aiming for some maximum level of perfection, think small instead. Decide on a minimum standard which you’ll have no excuses for not achieving.
The brilliant part of the minimum standard is that the mental and physical resistance to it is low. Let’s say you’re trying to deal with a messy kitchen. You’ve already got a messy kitchen, that’s why you’re trying to change. Telling yourself “OK, I will clean the whole kitchen every night before bed” is a huge task and if it were as simple as that you wouldn’t have a messy kitchen. Set a minimum goal for your kitchen every night like “I will load the dishwasher once a day.” I know that I don’t particularly care for cleaning the kitchen but that once I start doing it I just keep going. I might say I’m only going to load the dishwasher but I end up taking out the recycling, wiping down all the counters, and tidying up for the next day because I’ve broken through my resistance to starting by making just loading the dishwasher good enough.
Check out the full article for additional tips and tricks or sound off in the comments with your own experiences setting minimum goals.
Thinking Small Without Guilt: Setting Your Minimum Goal Standards [Dumb Little Man]