I’ve always struggled with being the best self I can be. Uncertainty seems to find its way into my aspirations. What are the best goals for me? Am I heading in the right direction? Do I really want to achieve these things? I always try to take my apprehensions in stride. You are constantly changing as a person and the natural tendency to change opinions about yourself and what you want is totally ok.
With that in mind though I never try to be aimlessly pursuing what I think is right for me. I think a structured and organized look at your goals and shaping yourself into the person you want to be is almost necessary in order to get anywhere. Everyone is different. Some people need heavy organization while others only require some light notes. These are 4 things I keep in mind while setting out to improve myself and accomplish things.
When I set goals I try to vary them both by category and by time frame. For instance, I’ll create some health, mind, and spiritual goals. Then I’ll separate them into short term, medium, and long term time frames. I tend to work backwards. So if I was making a mental goal I would think of where I want to be in 5 years. Let’s say I want to become a lawyer. Well how would I do that? Well in 6 months I want to have read x amount of books, applied to x amount of law schools, and study x amount of hours. How will I be able to do that? Well if I read x amount of books in a week, and apply to x amount… you kind of get the picture.
I try to make my goals quantitative instead of vague. This might be more difficult when establishing your long term goals but it helps in terms of tracking where you are heading. In using this method your long term goal becomes this sort of North Star and by breaking it down into other, smaller accomplishments it becomes a simpler and digestible task.
It’s important to reanalyze your goals and see if they are still appropriate. You might not want the same things you wanted 2 months ago. That’s infinitely ok. However you should be aware that you are not allowing this stage to become an area where you simply allow yourself to quit. Take an honest and careful inventory of your feelings and desires. Have some confidence in them. Are your goals still heading towards what you want? Do you need to change them? Have you reaffirmed them or realized that you actually wanted something else? Consider the benefits of journaling. Tailor your goals to what you want. It’s ok to change them but sometimes you should stick it out. It’s tough to tell. You might just be hitting a rough patch which is part of your journey. Will power isn’t infinite.
When you are making progress (you can tell because you made quantifiable goals right?!) you should reward yourself. This doesn’t mean relapse. Do something that exemplifies your progress. You should plan these out similar to your goals. For instance one of my longer term health rewards is coming this Halloween. I’ve told myself that I can buy any costume that I want this year. I personally like this because it’s within line of my longer term health goals and gives me something I can celebrate about myself. I might be tired after work and dread a workout but I think of how confident and proud I’ll feel in a few months. Maybe I still won’t workout but I’ll have an apple instead of some chips.
These don’t have to be crazy rewards. Even something little works. Momentum is a big deal when accomplishing your goals and you should embrace and celebrate your progress.
It’s ok. You are not defined by your goals, they are just tools to help you become a better you. They give you some structure and ways to analyze your progress but not hitting a goal is not the end of the world. If you miss a goal, look at the progress you made. Are you farther than you started? Did something go wrong? Is this really what you want for yourself?
The whole point of this exercise is to become something better. Goals have been determined to help battle depression. It’s fun to accomplish things. It’s rewarding to do something you previously couldn’t. If the process was easy it wouldn’t feel good to do it.
Don’t let your goals get in the way of your life. They should work within it. If your goal becomes a divine law to your life and it’s making things worse for you, maybe it’s time to take a step back. There’s no reason to burn out. Readjust and relax. Stay positive and set out to be the best version of yourself that you can become.
What do you think?
Do you set goals for yourself? What are they? What helps you? Let me know in the comments below!