How to Push towards your Goals when you feel Overwhelmed
Jon rushes out of the office and hops in his car at 6:40 PM. His breath is short and quick, just like it has been all day.
He’s overwhelmed with work and chores.
He needs to go to the store.
He needs to workout.
He needs to cook dinner and feed his dog.
He needs to work on his side project.
He needs to write a blog post.
So many needs, when did life get so complicated?
Jon pulls his car out of the parking lot and onto the main drag towards his house.
He just worked a 10 hour day, and somehow he’s supposed to crank out a few more when he gets home. His goals are due in a month, but they seem so far away.
He wants to quit his job and work for himself, but how the hell is that going to happen? That software project? It should generate a lot of money, but he has no idea what to sell.
His car flows through the green lights. At least traffic isn’t too bad.
Jon can’t fathom accomplishing what he wants. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
Tim Ferris made it sound so easy.
Maybe if Jon didn’t sleep, he’d have more time. But everyone has to sleep don’t they? Maybe Bill Gates was blessed with the ability to stay awake. Unfortunately, Jon isn’t Bill Gates.
At work, he wants to be the guy everyone counts on.
He wants a meaningful relationship with his girlfriend.
He wants to take good care of his pets.
He wants to be a good son and keep in touch with his parents.
So many wants, when did life get so complicated?
Jon wonders why his schedule is packed. He lives during the richest period in human history, and yet he never has free time.
He’s not the only one. Nobody has time.
He wonders how the hell people have kids when he can barely keep track of himself?
Jon ponders life 10,000 years ago. It must have been easier. The modernists would disagree, but at least the cave man had free time.
All a caveman worried about was finding enough food to survive. No refrigerators, so he couldn’t plan ahead. He only found food for his next meal.
It must have been nice, minus the risk of a tiger eating him.
But then Jon changes his mind. Once Jon had enough food, he’d worry about getting the most food in his tribe. If he had the most food, he could be the coolest cave man. He could get all the cave girls.
Once he had all the food, he could be…..complete.
His life could finally have meaning because he was that guy. The one with all the food.
Because meaning is derived from how much food someone has??
Jon is still pondering when a flash flies into the corner of his eye. He’s in the middle of an intersection.
The sound of metal grinding on metal is unbearable. It’s louder and the jolt is stronger than any car crash he’d imagined. His body is tossed violently to the right, and his head is slammed back to the left. He senses a metal bar flying past his right ear.
Then everything goes black.
Jon’s dimly aware of a loin cloth stretched over his thick muscles while he wields a brutal club.
A few minutes later, a firefighter wakes him by rapping on the window.
Jon’s still here. Apparently an F150 ran a red light and plowed into his Subaru 2 intersections before home.
The firefighters cut him free of the wreckage.
He thinks about adding an item to his TODO list. Buy a new car.
Somehow, he walks away unharmed. He has a headache, getting knocked out will do that. But the paramedics clear him as free to go.
The rest of the night is a blur. Wreckers come and remove his totaled car. He never talks to the other driver. The police handle the insurance. He just wants to get out of there.
Before the tow truck takes the wreckage, he notices a steel rod in the driver’s compartment. A small cocoon sits in the middle of the wreckage. Somehow that cocoon survived, but the rest of the car is totaled.
What a miracle.
If that rod came through the window 1 inch to the left….
Jon winces and stops thinking.
He walks home.
At least it’s warm.
He looks up at the stars and notices their beauty. He used to walk frequently with his dog. But it’s been awhile. He hasn’t had time.
Jon is still in shock. His adrenaline is pumping. He can’t believe what just happened.
It was so sudden. A few hours before, he had a working car, not a tangled mess of metal. He had never been in a car accident.
At home, he sits at his computer. He’s surprised to find his stress is….gone.
He starts ploughing through another blog post. The act of writing gives an emotional high better than watching TV or playing video games. The process is hard but rewarding.
Producing instead of consuming, how wonderful.
He leaves a part of himself in that computer file, a piece of his creativity preserved in the universe as 1s and 0s.
There is no future, no past. Only now, and the writing zone.
No worries about how popular this blog post might be.
No worries about never quitting his job.
No worries about his goals.
Just one key in front of the other. One after the other.
Jon feels amazing when he finishes his post. He took a step. He did his part for the day. One small step towards where he wants to be.
That step is all that matters.
Who cares if it works out or not. Who cares if his goals come to fruition.
He took a step, and that’s all he can do. That’s all he can control.
Life actually seems so simple.
He can’t believe he ever made it so complicated.
If you feel overwhelmed, focus on what’s right in front of you. Don’t think about tomorrow or next week.
Focus on taking one step forward today.
Take whatever action you can, wherever you are, with whatever you’ve got, right now.
Don’t worry about how small the step is. Don’t worry about your goals working out.
As long as you take action, they will resolve themselves spontaneously.
Remember it doesn’t matter what steps you take, as long as you’re taking steps.
Photo Credit: Jeff Berman