Clarity Is The Antithesis To Anxiety

I was feeling off this week. 

I was unmotivated, which meant I wasn’t getting as much done as I needed to, and even though I finished my to-do list most days, I could feel my anxiety rising slowly. 

I realized today that it was because I was lacking clarity on my goals. I was taking it one day at a time, every day. This meant that no matter how many times I completed the daily tasks that I set for myself (going to school, completing assignments, posting on social media, etc) I wasn’t making any progress toward any goals on a longer time frame. 

I wasn’t even sure what the longer goals I wanted to work on were. 

Even with a complete to-do list, I was doing the bare minimum, and I could feel the effects. 

I had stopped challenging myself. And I certainly wasn’t getting out of my comfort zone by trying new things or learning new skills. The worst part was that as I was thinking about why I felt so “off”, I couldn’t seem to figure out what I should be doing to make myself feel better.

I couldn’t figure out how to get back on track. 

I needed clarity. 

The person who knows what goals they are working towards, why they are working towards it, and what they need to do each day to make progress does not feel anxious. They definitely don’t feel overwhelmed the same way a passionate person without direction to guide them does. 

I realized that one of the reasons I was lacking clarity was that I had fallen out of the habit of journaling. There are many ways to build clarity, but I have found none as effective as sitting with a pen, paper, and no distractions.

I have found that journaling is a great way to help gain clarity for a couple of reasons. The first is that it allows you to brain-dump. It lets you get all the thoughts that are sitting in your head cluttered and unorganized out and onto the page. It forces you to turn your clouded thoughts and murky ideas into full sentences and gives you the opportunity to stop holding everything in your mental file cabinet.

The second reason is that journaling is also a pressure-free place to clarify your goals. You articulate to yourself on the page where you want to go and how you can get there. You figure out your messy feelings, then reason a path out of them.

 You take back control of your direction, thereby feeling better overall. 

Most of the time anxiety builds because you aren’t making progress toward your goals, or even worse, because you don’t even know what your goals are.  

When I journal, I list out all the paths forward I can think of that will move the lever of progress towards my goals. All of the milestones that I can work towards to give me something tangible I can work with. 

When you are feeling more anxious than usual (as I was this week), it helps to go all the way back to the basics.

 Write out what your biggest, most long-term goals are, and begin breaking them down in each time scale. 

Look at a goal for 5 years in the future, then a goal for a year from now, then a goal for each quarter of this year, and each week in the next quarter. Once you know what you have to do for the next week, you can block in time in your schedule to meet that milestone, starting with what you can do today. 

If you are feeling directionless, try this. 

Get out some paper and a pen and write it out.

Go ahead, I’ll wait. 



Congratulations, you have just re-oriented your compass. You have a path forward. That’s the easy part. 

Now it comes time to actually making it happen. Looking to the week ahead with your new, manageable milestone in mind, remember your previous commitments, and add the first step to your to-do list. 

Consider throwing your old routines out the window to make these goals happen. 

Achieving better goals requires adopting a better mindset, and your old mindset is entwined with your old routines.

Looking at big goals like this will definitely make you feel some fear and self-doubt. 

Questions will filter through your thoughts such as: “Can I do this?”, “What if I’m not good enough?”, “What if I fail?” 

This is normal. 

This is good. 

Your fear tells you that you’re on the right track. The more fear you feel toward a certain goal, the more you need to chase after that goal. 

This is when you remind yourself that you can do hard things. You can learn anything you set your mind to, and you can overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of your goals. 

Once you know where you want to go, and what your first step to getting there is, your anxiety will fall away. 

Will you be scared? Yes. Will you feel overwhelmed at times? Yes

But uncertain and anxious? No

It’s easier to do the bare minimum. 

In fact, that's all that most people do. 

This is why if you are willing to do more than the bare minimum, you will stand out. 

If you are willing to go the extra mile every day, your impact will be exponential. 

That's all for this week's edition of the Creator Club. 

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The Creator Club