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goals 12232093_sI see this happening to people all the time. They get so wound up with every day minutiae that they forget the overarching plan of action and the goal they’re striving for. It happens to me, too, but fortunately, I have a husband who helps keep me on track.

So, give this some thought. Are you feeling burned out because you’re racing around doing the small stuff, the stuff that should be getting you somewhere, when what you really need to do is take a step back and remind yourself what all this grinding is for?

Take a few minutes and really try to remember what your intentions were when you started the process. Sure goals can change a bit, they flex as we grow, but they’re probably not simply doing the little stuff, those are only stepping stones along the pathway.

And if you need to, do as Linda Lee Williams, author of Elsewhere, suggests, “My advice: Jump off the treadmill now and then or risk falling flat on your face and not being able to get up again.”

What’s your real goal? Are you trying to make money? Are you trying to achieve fame and recognition? Are you trying to alleviate boredom? Something else? Maybe it seems like a combination of these things, but if you tease it out, one thing will predominate. Don’t have too many goals at one time, or you’ll be spreading yourself too thin. Try to focus on one at a time, and the steps you need to take, and accomplishments you need to achieve, before you move on to the next step. This is worth working on. If you need to, make a list of the overarching things you want to accomplish, then pick one that is the pinnacle of what you’d call success. There might be a number two and/or number three, and so forth, but there is almost certainly a number one, if you really give it some thought. That’s what all the other stuff is supposed to lead you to.

There will be a long list of daily achievements, and mini-goals you need to do to meet your primary objective, but those are to-do list stuff. They are not your goal. Losing sight of your purpose can easily lead to burn out as seems like the to-do list has taken over your life and you’re rushing around in circles.

Wendy Ely, author of Dangerous Flames (Mafia Hearts), has this to say about how she deals with burn out. “Working out at the gym (using the treadmill mostly) gets my mind going. I also will spend a day away from home if I can. We live in the city and Dan’s family lives in the desert 2 hours away. I love taking a trip down there for some outdoor fun. It clears my head and helps me recharge my batteries.”

It is a good idea to stop and really reconsider your goal now and then. Has it changed? What new pathway can you draw to reach success with this new peak. As we grow as people and professionals, the goals might morph. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you’re not giving up. Be determined to get where you want to go. If you change your objective too often, you will not achieve anything.

Write down your goal. If it changes, cross off the old one and write a new one, but don’t be wishy-washy. Once you’ve got a clear winner from your list, you can note your steps toward success. Remind yourself, when you feel like you’re burning out, that you have this goal and all the drudgery is worth it. Refer to that bit of paper or computer file on which you’ve written down your objective, to remind yourself of what it is. It’s too easy to lose sight of it as you walk in what seems like a maze.

And don’t forget, as we talked about in Burn Out #2: celebrate the small successes. Keep yourself moving along and burn out is much less likely.

If you make your goal, hooray for you! Write down a new one and shoot for that next.

Keep your eye on the prize and you’ll get there.


  1. Great post Trish. Sometimes it is easy to forget what your goal is and sometimes it changes. What seemed like an absolute must a few weeks…or hours…ago might not really be so important now but if you don’t pause to ask yourself, you could exert energy on a goal that isn’t what works now.

    • Part of the trick is to know what’s the over-arching purpose for what you’re doing at any given time. Once you tease that out, the rest is a lot clearer. Thanks for commenting, Celeste.

  2. SO timely for me. Thank you for posting this! I’m terrible with the goals thing. All over the place. My brain is like that meme you’ve seen, “a browser with 28,398 tabs all open at the same time.” Yeah that’s me. Gah.

    • I think focusing on one thing (or even only a few things) takes practice. I’m still learning all the time. But it’s a journey, two steps forward, one step back. You still get there in the end!

  3. Great Blog, Patricia. Reminders such as this are needed.

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