Let me say a scary word. GOALS.
Ah, goals. They’re shiny, impossible things that everyone wants to conquer, but they are kind of scary to because no one ever seems to complete them.
I have too many of them. And yet I add to the on-going list all. the. time.
Now, some people might say it’s good to make goals. People tend to make goals during New Years, but February rolls around, and everyone has quietly dropped those goals. (Except for the select few that actually keep those goals. In that case, good for you.)
Here’s the problem with goals. They tear me down.
Instead of being constructive, lofty ideas that I work hard for, I set impossible goals for myself, and then life happens. I can’t complete those impossible goals by my deadline. Then I feel awful and I spiral down into a woe-is-me state. I’m a failure, life is going to end, I’m not going to graduate, I’m not going to go to college, I’m going to get a minimal wage job and die poor and alone and penniless. (Excuse that horribly constructed sentence.)
By the time I’m halfway down in this depressive whirlpool, I’ve forgotten that these goals were supposed to make me a better person, not tear me down.
Then there is the other side. The I-completed-my-goal-and-I-am-insanely-happy side.
And we go crazy, and I’m going to become a millionaire and become immortal because I wrote 25 words that day, and maybe did a math problem.
Obviously, something needed to change. This is how I approach my goals now:
I make sure that they are doable. If I know that I’m going to be busy for two weeks in a month, that month might not be the best time to write a draft in a month.
I set reminders for myself. If I can see my progress, I’m often encouraged to do more. (Click here for a list of helpful goal-trackers.)
I make sure that I have dedicated time to complete those big goals. Not only do I make sure that I won’t be super busy, I got to see if it will work into my schedule.
If I pass a deadline I’ve set, it’s not the end of the world. I just extend the deadline, and keep going.
I stopped punishing myself for not meeting deadlines. I’m not motivated by punishment. I’m motivated by rewards. So if I meet a goal, I’ll make sure to do something fun. (For writing goals, I buy myself a new book 🙂 )
This keeps all my emotions intact and happy when setting goals.