What are your goals for the future?
Are you trying to make more money? Get a promotion? Find the love of your life?
Goal setting is a huge part of who we are as people. And our goals are about as different as we are.
We’re (mostly) ambitious, results driven people, always seeking the latest upgrade, and chasing trends like a dog chasing a car.
If you are like me, a new year is a time of hope. A fresh start. A chance for me to reset my motivation, and intention, and that inner voice that decides how worthy I feel on any particular day.
I always wake up on the first day of the new year feeling overwhelmed by possibilities. What sorts of things can I accomplish this year? What dreams can I chase?
Though they’re just separated by a number of hours, you have to admit that December 31 and January 1 feel drastically different. There is a completely different energy that is hard to ignore. The best way to channel that energy is to set goals for yourself for the coming year and begin working toward them.
What goals did you set for yourself last year? Did you achieve them? Keep reading to find out how you can set goals and actually achieve them.
Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
A little about me
I have to admit: My goal setting in recent years has been, well, not that effective. I’ve been really falling off the bandwagon. Instead of creating actual achievable goals, I’ve been wishing for unicorns and rainbows and a million dollars and not really putting any work in.
That’s cool. We’re all guilty of it. Yes, you are AWESOME. And you should shoot for big, hairy, audacious goals.
But that doesn’t mean things will just happen for you. I fully believe in the Law of Attraction, but you gotta do the work, my friend. The reason people attract positive things is because they put positive things (like hard work) out there.
So, what have some of my goals been recently?
I’ve been wishing my health was better.
I’ve been wishing I had more energy.
That I had less anxiety.
Don’t be like me. Goals like that are, very likely, not going to be accomplished. Shoot for the stars, but also, make sure to build a rocket ship to get there.
Keep reading to find out why these goals are not a good quality, and what you can do instead.
What about you?
Did you set any goals for this year so far? I know, we’ve kind of (okay, really) gotten sidetracked by the pandemic. It’s put people out of work, people are losing loved ones, and it feels like all hope is gone.
But you can still be working on your goals while the world sorts its shit out.
What goals do you want to work toward?
Some common ones I see my friends and family set are:
I want to… (Fill in the blank)
- Be healthier
- Have a better love life
- Have a more successful career
- Make more money
- Have more friends
- Get a new hobby
Do you notice how people typically give up on their goals like a week after they set them? I have definitely been guilty of that more times than I can count. The reason most New Year’s resolutions are unsuccessful is because they are too vague to give you any sense of direction.
So how can you set yourself up for success from the beginning, with goals designed to be met?
Depression & Motivation
When you are depressed, it can be that much harder to stay motivated. I’ve definitely experienced that myself. So if you have too, no need to be ashamed. It’s a very common byproduct of living with depression.
What can you do to stay motivated when you’re depressed? Here are a few tips that I swear by when I hit a depressive phase.
- First of all, ask for accountability. Ask a partner or close friend to check in regularly with this. Tell them the areas of life that you need motivating in, and ask them for tough love if you think that will be helpful.
- Write down your day to day activities. Regularly tracking your movements so to speak, and being able to look back on them and reflect, can be a helpful way to gain some self-awareness.
- On that note, self awareness is key! If you don’t know how you’re doing, it’s going to be hard to get better.
- Celebrate small victories. If you are struggling with depression, and all you can manage on a certain day is to get up and change into clean pajamas, celebrate the hell out of that.
- Be kind to yourself. Remember, depression is a legitimate illness, and can be very difficult to live with. It is something millions of people live with each year. You are not alone, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Start a goals journal!
Journaling is an amazing tool that anyone can benefit from. It’s easy and cost-effective, and highly therapeutic. All you need is a notebook, pen, and a little dedication.
Set a reminder on your phone to write about your goals on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be an hour long activity. You can just answer the following questions if you’re pressed for time:
- What is my goal?
- How can I break it down into steps?
- What did I do today to work toward it?
- What can I do tomorrow?
But for a goal to be successful, it has to be SMART. And I don’t mean in an intellectual context, mean it has to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific- measurable- achievable- realistic- timely)
For instance, we all have that friend who says they want to get in shape this year. (Maybe that “friend” is you! No shame.) They (or you) are sick of being tired and not having confidence about their appearance.
Tell them about SMART goals! Tell them, rather than say, “I want to get in shape,” say, “I will run a 5k in September.”
Why is this a better goal? Let’s review the definition of SMART goals.
The new goal is specific
Instead of saying you want to get in shape, you are giving yourself a specific area of fitness to target (your endurance). You are saying a specific thing you want to do, rather than, “I want to get in shape.”
What does that mean? Make sure you are defining it clearly
The new goal is measurable.
You can easily track your progress on an app or chart. So, if you made the goal to run a 5k, you can set micro-goals that act like stepping stones on your way. You can say, “This week, I will jog 1 mile, 3 times.” Or if you have a time goal, say, “This week, I will run for 30 minutes, 3 times.”
The new goal is achievable.
You would be able to start from scratch and achieve this in a reasonable time frame. So, if you’re a total couch potato, don’t set a goal of being able to run a full marathon in a month. That’s not gonna happen, sorry to say.
The new goal is realistic.
Barring major medical issues, you can likely train to jog 3 miles over the next 6 months. All it takes is a little time and dedication, and a lot of patience with yourself. But it can be done! So set goals that are realistic for you, in whatever season of life you’re in.
The new goal is timely.
You have given yourself a deadline in which you want to achieve the goal. You said, “I will run a 5k on X date.” That gives you a clearer picture of the action steps you need to take to meet your goal, rather than leaving it more open to interpretation.
BONUS: In the new goal, you said, “I will,” instead of “I want to.” Conscious language matters!
Make yourself a goals tracker
This is a great way to keep track of the goals you set for yourself. You can even print out this free PDF I created to get started.
Get out there and do it
So, absolutely set goals for yourself this year. They are a wonderful thing, and it is a noble pursuit to try to better yourself. Because none of us are perfect, and we are all capable of getting out there and setting goals.
Even if you’re a busy mom.
Even if you have depression and anxiety, like me.
Or maybe, you’ve had too many goals fail in the past, and you’ve lost a little faith.
Set those goals. But make them QUALITY, measurable goals. Make them SMART and you are way more likely to succeed.
What goals do you have for yourself this year? Tell me in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this post!