Moving Forward: Setting Goals

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I’ve only recently started setting goals for myself and actually meeting them. In the past I usually tried some big New Year’s resolution. As soon as I took a misstep the whole thing would fall apart. There are a few strategies that have helped me with both setting and reaching goals, and though they might not work for everyone, it might get you thinking about goals in a different way.

1. Why are you setting this particular goal?

Having motivation behind a goal is very important. If it’s something you feel like you ‘should’ do then it’s probably not going to work. Instead of thinking about why you ‘should’ do it, try thinking about why you want to do it. It just makes the whole mindset behind the goal more positive. For example, let’s take my goal of eating healthy. I never was great about setting this goal and meeting it. Mostly because I looked at it with its limitations…I ‘shouldn’t be eating this, this and this’. I ‘should’ eat healthy because right now my energy is all over the place. Focusing on the ‘should’ seems to make everything more complicated, daunting, and negative and we’re more likely to get stuck.

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When I thought about eating healthy in terms of its benefits I looked forward to it more…. ‘I want to have steady energy every day’. That was my single ‘want’. It made the goal a whole lot simpler and I was more intrinsically motivated. It led to a lot more positives overall as well…with steady energy I ‘could’ be more productive at work, I ‘could’ be more efficient at the gym and I ‘could’ feel healthier overall.

2. Break it down

Having a big generalized goal is tough. If a goal is not working…think about how it can be more specific. I hardly every start with super big goals…usually I have set smaller ones for myself that gradually build me up to believing in something larger. When I think about self-publishing…that was not my original dream. First, I wanted to simply try writing a couple stories. Then, I set of goal of creating a book with illustrations for my friend. That led to a couple more books for individual people, and eventually I saw myself as being capable of self-publishing.

Maybe you are someone more confident than me and always start with big goals. That’s great! It’s still good to break them down into smaller pieces. Moving forward becomes easier because the steps don’t seem as daunting. Right now one of my big goals for the year is sharing more. I’ve never been successful at sharing so if I try and see success as having major emotional conversations I know I will not succeed. For right now, I am sharing a journal with a friend. I’m writing one of the Psalms in my own words each day. It’s something I can do, and it’s also a small step toward vulnerability. I’m sharing my prayers. With this smaller goal I feel I can grow in confidence with sharing using my actual voice (baby steps). Small steps help us see a path towards a bigger goal.

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For some personal goals you might have to experiment a little bit. Don’t give up if it’s not working. Self-publishing for me did not have much wiggle room in terms of stating the goal, but other stuff has had space for me to do some re-defining. Eating healthy for example…that morphed into a goal of food prep every Sunday. It was simpler and more attainable for me. Having food set for the week also helped keep me from grabbing stuff I didn’t need just because I was hungry. Journaling is another goal where I had to find something that worked for me. I wanted to journal but realized setting goals of writing about my feelings every day was not something that worked or I enjoyed. Then I started my gratitude journal and I could meet that journaling goal…I had a space to doodle and create and didn’t have a pressure to add something every day. I was still being successful and meeting my goal…it just wasn’t what I had first envisioned success to look like.

3. Share your goals

Telling someone about my goals helps keep me more accountable. Encouragement is also something that is needed. When you are setting a goal it is something you have not done before…you have yet to naturally complete it on your own…hence the goal setting. It would make sense that you might need someone else on your side to help you out. Even if you hate asking for help like I do. I have one good friend in whom I confide my goals. Once I tell her what I’m doing it immediately gets me moving and working.

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At the end of the day setting goals is a great way to keep that forward movement going. Figure out what you want, break it down, and find someone to share it with. That works for me at least! I would love to hear what works for you as well!

Set goals. Always move forward.

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For more on my gratitude journal click Here

For more on how Arrow’s Adventure became a goal click Here

For more on the story behind Arrow click Here

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