On Setting Goals


Congrats challengers on another challenge completed! While I didn’t manage to meet my goal of 60 classes in 90, I’m not discouraged or disappointed (I did hit 45, though!). I am proud of the effort I put in but am also comfortable with the fact that this summer required me to direct my energy towards other aspects of my life—and that’s okay.

Goals are a funny thing. While we recognize the benefits of goal setting, it can become overwhelming in itself as a task and a concept. Whether you’re looking to set personal or professional goals, it can be tough to figure out where to even begin. The first thing you should recognize, though, is that not all goals require the same structure. You also don’t need to take an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to your goals as long as you are making progress and growing —depending on the type of goals of course.

I’ve laid out some tips and perspectives to get you thinking a little differently about what it is you’d like to accomplish moving forward.

Set Realistic Goals

Do you add items to your to-do list that are essentially the equivalent of “figure out my life” as action items for the day? I know I do, but these types of goals are not realistic. Instead, consider setting a larger scale goal with smaller, actionable goals that can be completed as progressive steps towards one larger target. Not only will it feel less daunting, but you’ll also feel more control over the harder to achieve goals in your life.

Use Tools to Track your Progress

It’s great to verbalize a goal and discuss it amongst friends, but there are benefits to writing down your goals and tracking your progress using visual aids. Maybe that’s a sticker board like we use during the challenge, a bullet journal, or a tracking app (I like Todoist). Maybe it’s a simple check mark on a list pinned up on the wall. Whatever it is, seeing your progress as you work through those smaller goals will help you see just how far you’ve come and help you keep your eye on the prize.

Assess That Post-Goal Feeling

When you do reach that goal, do you ever take a moment to reflect on how it feels to have achieved it? As a society, we have the tendency to keep moving forward without taking a moment to breathe in that sweet victory.

I’ve already highlighted the importance of setting and celebrating our milestones in a previous post, but there’s also a case to be made for reflecting on how it feels to achieve those goals and the smaller, actionable items leading up to them. Focusing on the feeling allows you to better understand how to set goals for yourself in a way that can be rewarding for you personally.

Looking for More? Consider Unconventional Wisdom

Different goals require different approaches, so take in some of the different perspectives to this vast topic here.

Happy goal setting!