How I Learned to Set Achievable Goals


“Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?” I asked and anticipated that she would give me a great answer to my half-assed question. We went to a Friends school in which we were trained in the Socratic method and encouraged to participate in introspective conversation at every turn. 

I went to dinner with an old girlfriend who always hits me up when she’s just trying to clear her mind. I’m honestly honored that she finds me a stable and trustworthy friend enough to divulge shit that really matters once a year — Unfortunately for most, I value friendships with people I can mentally connect with over empty conversation with folks I see everyday. She was a freshman when I was a junior (or senior) in high school, so part of me still takes on a mentorship perspective during our chats. Still, every time we meet our relationship seems to even out a bit more as we both tackle adulting and try to share what we’ve experienced and what we’ve learned.

“Ok. So I have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals,” she began and I truly felt warmed up inside (and it wasn’t the wine). While I listened to her explained how each daily goal amounted to what she would accomplish in the year, I couldn’t help but reconsidered my list; I want to read, pray and exercise more… but what does that mean on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly level?

If you’re anything like me, you’re practically unstoppable. I’ve never been great at editing or narrowing down my choices (and especially not my mind). I’m a big thinker, and while that’s typically impressive, it can get a bit overwhelming for me, because I have way too much I want to accomplish. While I don’t like to be put in a box and limited as to what I can do, I’ve learned that I need a bit more structure, so that I can’t not only plan to do what I want, but also accomplish it.

I start splitting my yearly goal down to what it would mean daily and I already feel much better. Since I want to work out more, I had to figure out what that means and what’s really possible. Ideally, I would go to one work out class a month (reasonable) but I also wanted to do yoga daily (not reasonable). Now, I can surely bust my ass and do yoga on the daily, but why push myself harder than I need to. The resolution isn’t to stress myself tf out. Maybe daily yoga is a lifestyle choice I want to work up to but right now, I’m just not going to get it done daily. So… weekly seems a more reasonable choice. I think being honest about feasibility is half the battle. Sometimes, we give ourselves goals that are simply too lofty. You should certainly aim for the stars, but setting unrealistic goals can make you feel like you are falling below your target. Why do that do yourself?

To save myself from making promises I can’t keep, I usually make sure my goals are lofty and introspective so that no one can possibly make a fair assessment of whether I accomplished the task or not. When I was little, I wanted to be a Veterinarian… but when I realized how much schooling it takes, I decided I just wanted to be rich. My friends would laugh at that response (they would scoff at me wanting to be president), but I found it was better to be funny than a pure fool. If I wasn’t planning something outlandish, I was saying nothing at all. I kept most of my dreams and aspirations to myself or written in a diary somewhere. But you can’t work towards a dream you keep hiding. It’s important to realize that even thinking about something can be a start. Everyday, I probably save down an image of a yoga pose I want to learn — I might not learn it today or tomorrow, but at least my energy is still positive towards the goal. At least I still feel like there is a possibility of success. “Failure is a feeling long before is becomes an actual result,” (as Michelle Obama said in Becoming) and I have not agreed with anything so adamantly in a very long time. I believe we can create a sense of success for ourselves. We can set ourselves up for success if we just take the time to truly consider, understand and care about ourselves.

Be kind to yourselves.

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