When Your Goals Feel Impossible: Time for a Goal Do-Over

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When your goals feel impossible, it might be time to look at them in a new way. Goal setting systems can make us feel locked into a certain way of looking at goals or a certain number that we need to set. But only you can know what you really need and how to accomplish it.

Picture of planner with text "When Your Goals Feel Impossible"

It Never Comes Easy

If you are like me, it takes a little while to get settled into your new planner and goals at the beginning of the year. It’s now January 20th as I’m writing this, and after some more struggles with my mental health, I just did a complete do-over of my goals for 2022.

I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed this month. I’ve abandoned pretty much everything that wasn’t necessary for me to do for the past few weeks so I could just focus on my mental health for a little bit.

(I even talk about this more in my February Planner Update.)

And what I finally realized was that although I feel like I’m struggling in just about every area of life, trying to add in positive changes in each area was just making me feel more inadequate and overwhelmed. It made my goals feel impossible.

Tonight I realized that there are three areas that need more attention than the others. While I’d still love to make improvements in the other areas too, these three are the ones causing me the most distress, and if I were to improve them, I would be much better equipped to handle the other areas too.

*I actually have four areas now, but I’ll talk about that later*

But before I tell you what those areas are or what my new goals & focus are, I just want to talk about why and how this might apply to you too.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your goals, struggling to feel like you can accomplish anything, let alone everything, please keep reading. That’s not how it needs to be!

I thought I needed to be doing all these things because THEY ARE ALL GOOD THINGS. They are things that if I worked at improving them, my life would be for the better.

Except maybe it wouldn’t.

Because putting the pressure on myself to do them all, at the same time, was not making my life better. It was making me stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, and discouraged.

What to do when your goals feel impossble?

So how do you readjust your goals, and pick which of the good things are the best things?

Figure out, or just take note, of what is causing you the most stress or grief. What is dominating your thoughts? What do you find yourself worrying about, or even just thinking about the most? Where are your pain points?

For me, it is my relationship with God, my finances, and my mental health.

Those are my three goals that I’m going to focus on right now. When I feel like I’ve got a better grip on any of them, then maybe I will move on to something else that needs more attention. But for now, that’s where my energy needs to be going.

Side note: I mentioned earlier that I added a 4th category too: my home. Mostly because I couldn’t see myself skipping doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom because I’m more focused on exercising or paying my bills. It kind of has to be a focus too.

I think it’s important for me to keep some of my focus here, as it will also help with my mental health. Clutter and mess make me more stressed. And I’ll be better able to focus on my other goals if I always know I have dishes to cook and eat with.

How I’m Re-Adjusting My Goals

My Relationship With God

I actually feel like my relationship with God isn’t really what is suffering. But I do feel like I need to give Him more of my time and focus.

For me, this means going back to the basics of scripture study. I tend to over-complicate things, and want to do it all. There are a lot of podcasts, YouTube videos, books, and other study materials that I would love to dive into every day. But in reality, that’s just too much. And I spend less time actually reading my scriptures, and more time just learning about what someone else thinks about them. I want to spend more time actually reading them and hearing what Jesus Christ wants me to learn about Him.


One of my biggest goals for this year has been to pay off my credit card debt. This is still a huge priority for me, and my finances are one of my biggest (if not the biggest) stressors in my life right now.

And part of the reason I’m struggling is because I’m barely making enough to even pay my bills. So part of this goal is to increase my income so I have extra to put towards my credit card debt.

Mental Health

Since last summer, I’ve been struggling on and off with anxiety and depression (again… this isn’t the first time). I’ve taken some steps that have been helpful in being able to function through it, but I’d really like to work on being able to have more good days, and really resolving some of the things I struggle with instead of just coping.

This doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring other areas of my life

It just means they aren’t my main focus.

For instance, recreation is helpful to my mental health. So having recreation time isn’t my goal. My goal is doing things that improve my mental health.

Goal Setting Systems Aren’t Bad

I actually really like the various goal setting systems for their help in knowing where to start. But there is no perfect goal setting system out there.

Let me say that again.


Meaning, any system you try (I’m using Powersheets and MäksēLife), should be adapted to fit your life. Your personality.

Please, please, please don’t feel locked into what they say is best. Especially if you try it and it’s not working for you!

Powersheets recommends limiting your goals to 8. MakseLife wants you to set goals in every area of your life for better balance (with no amount suggested or limited).

I love Powersheets for the prep work. But even then I don’t do every page just because it’s there. Although I would recommend trying each page at least once. But some pages I know don’t have meaning for me because I’ve done them before and didn’t get anything out of it. Also, don’t avoid a page because you don’t like what it might reveal. Just skip the ones that really don’t provide you with any value.

planners and floral pen pouch

MakseLife is unique because it gives you the opportunity to set small goals for every week. I love this feature. It’s actually what was missing from the Powersheets system for me.

But I had also heard that it’s best to set goals in every area (something I’ve always tried to do in the past), to maintain balance in your life.

But I was (am?) struggling so much in some areas, putting energy into all areas, and failing at pretty much everything, that it was discouraging and overwhelming.

My goals weren’t working

I couldn’t even remember what they were because I made things that weren’t really important to me at this point in my life, in an attempt to keep my life balanced.

But instead of flourishing in all areas, I was drowning in all areas.

So I sat down and figured out the main pain points that were causing me distress in my life, or the priorities of what needed more attention.

This helped me to stop and really look at where I needed to spend my energy.

“You can do anything, but not everything.”

David Allen

And that’s what I really believe will help you too when your goals aren’t working. Just focus on the area or areas that REALLY need the most attention. When those areas (or just one area- no rules here) are improved, everything else will start to improve too. And just continue to set goals that focus on the areas that need the most work at that point, in that season of your life.

Small Progress is Still Progress

The last thing I want to talk about is taking smaller steps.

It is so hard to see progress when it is just one tiny, micro, baby step at a time. I totally get that. I struggle with this too. But I also know that those micro little steps are the things that create real change. The things that you can do in one day to get you closer to your goal.

It doesn’t look like much at the time, but when you look back you will be able to see how far you’ve come with those tiny little steps in the right direction.

Going for a walk one day doesn’t feel like much. But from experience I can tell you that after a month of that, I noticed a difference with my health. I could see myself getting stronger, my endurance lasting longer, and being able to breathe easier. Paying $10 towards debt doesn’t even feel like a drop in the bucket, but its those same “drops” that got me into debt in the first place. Small things add up.

I believe you can do this. I believe I can do this. Hopefully this gives you a different perspective to look at your goals. Figure out what isn’t working in your life, what hurts the most. Fix that first. The more focus you give to a small number of areas, the the faster you will be able to see improvement there.

If you want to share, I’d love to hear in the comments, what is the area you are feeling like you need to work on first? Let’s cheer each other on!

My Something Beautiful Life

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