Goals & Nerd Things
Setting goals is tough. As we get older, it becomes more open-ended. It can’t be, “get an A in Bio,” rather, it’s more broad and insightful goals… and there are a multitude that you can choose from.
What area of life do you focus on? How specific do you get? How do you not set too many?
I’m a huge culprit of setting too many, extremely difficult goals. The “all or nothing” approach. Let me tell you right now… that’s not the way to go. Because, while you can do a lot, you can’t do it all.
Here’s how I finally (I think) figured out how to set attainable goals toward self-improvement that didn’t put me into a place of obsession and anxiety over accomplishing.
A little disclaimer, I highly suggest you do what works for you. There are SO MANY articles and blogs out there telling you how to do stuff (such as this one), but at the end of the day you know yourself the best. So this is what works for me, maybe it will work for you?
1. Decide what’s important to you.
To start, I took some time to really think about what I wanted to focus on in life. What areas do I want to work on improving and continuing to pay attention to? For me, it is my family, friends, health, career, and education.
Now you have your over-arching first layer of goals: values.
2. Using your values, decide how you want to spend your time.
Narrow down your answer to number 1. For example, I decided that I wanted to spend my time on my full-time job (career), further developing my professional self outside of work (career), going to the gym (health), meal prepping and learning to cook healthy meals (health), hanging out with my friends (friends), talking to my family on the phone (family), and reading to further my education nightly (education).
3. Set broad goals.
Using both number 2 and 3, set goals for yourself. Do you want to meal prep weekly? Save a certain amount of money monthly? Read for 30 minutes a night? Work on your interview skills? Choose goals that coincide with how you want to spend your time, and what you want to focus on.
4. If you need to, set specific goals with deadlines.
I decided to nix this part from my goal-setting for myself. I noticed that putting timelines on my goals caused me to freak out and I would end up going against them anyway (because if you didn't know, I'm pretty social and well, like to have fun on top of improving myself). I am working on balance in life, and setting deadlines just didn’t jive with that. Do what works for you, if you need to hold yourself accountable, then by all means set those deadlines and take them seriously.
5. Look at who you are.
Who are you? Think about how your “titles” and different things you do coincide with how you want to spend your time and what your goals are. For instance, I am a Marketing Manager, Freelancer, dancer, member of xyz organizations, etc. Make sure that these match up. If they don’t, make sure you have time outside of your obligations to devote to your goals. If they really don’t, consider what organizations and programs you are involved in. Are they really how you want to spend your time?
6. Create a (flexible) template for a day routine.
Morning routine, night routine, gym routine – whatever it is, look at what you are doing daily and make sure that there actually is time for what you decided you want to spend your time on in number 2.
7. Long-term goals.
Now, think about what you ultimately want in your life, career – in everything. Is everything you just set-up leading you there? If it isn’t, consider re-evaluating and working backward from your long-term goals. Something else to consider, is if your long-term goals are actually what you want. If they don’t coincide with your values, is that really what you want for your life?
This is just what works for me. You do you. Good luck.
*I use a different process when thinking about specific entrepreneurial/career goals. This is when I generally use the reverse approach and think about what steps it will take to get to my vision. Blog to come.