Even with our current technological conveniences, it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done. After a week of work and tending to your family, you might feel like you’ve gotten nothing done: short-term goals like keeping an organized house or indulging in hobbies might seem impossible. And long-term goals, like losing weight or working toward a better career, aren’t even on your radar.
There’s a reason that “one day at a time” is a common mantra: attempting to deal with all of your obstacles at once is overwhelming. But committing to addressing one or two challenges at a time—breaking your day down into digestible bites, addressing your most immediate goals first—you can make real, measurable progress on both your short-term and long-term goals.
Taking care of yourself can seem like a tough task, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. A healthy diet, a regular exercise regimen, and a steady sleep schedule should be your top priorities every day. You might think you don’t have enough time to get a workout in or make yourself a good meal every night. But the average person watch about 34 hours of television a week—plenty of time that could be used cooking or exercising. Making your body and brain as healthy as they can be will have a positive effect on the rest of your life—so put it at the top of your list.
Saving money is harder these days—a less-than-ideal working wage, student loans, or other financial obligations can put a strain on your savings account. But there are things you do every day to save small amounts of money—those small amounts can add up to big money each month. Using online services like Mint.com can take the place of a spending journal, and can help you plan for future purchases both large and small.
The current job market has forced millions of workers postpone plans to purchase a home, to start a family, or to pursue other goals. Depending on your current job, you might be ready for a move up or a career change. Getting an education is still the best way to improve your chances to land a great job, and there are more options now than ever: Distance learning and online degree programs are becoming more popular because they allow students to take classes that fit their schedules, and work at their own pace. Students can pursue a wide range of interests: if you’re in the medical field, an associate degree in nursing could help you jump start your career. Considering other career paths can be a good way to get yourself motivated and thinking about your future. You may also consider locating to a college town like Austin or Boston.
When setting your goals, it’s important to consider both your immediate needs as well as the big picture. Tackling everything at once can be exhausting, so think about your daily tasks and your larger. goals separately—and do what you can to make sure you’re not taking on too much at one time. It might seem like you’re making less progress, but it will add up in the long run.
Thomas Stone is a content-author and life-long learner. He is writing on behalf of AIU, an online university offering an associate degree in nursing for students interested in the learning about the field of health care.