Setting goals

by - September 29, 2019

Something I have got more into a habit of is setting goals for myself. I think I have always had some sort of target to keep myself grounded and focussed, but in the last two years, I have been setting more goals for myself regularly. For the past 2 years, I have enjoyed setting myself an overarching goal at the beginning of the year and then small goals in between to be aid reaching that bigger overall goal.  I like to categorise goals into personal and academic/ work, although sometimes the two can merge.

Often, many of us can stop setting goals because we feel like we never meet them and so there are a waste of time and energy- I once fell into this trap. Where you start off with a lot of energy and somehow half way through that is all gone and you are not even sure why you set the goal in the first place. So here is what I have found helps me.

1) If you are feeling a little lost, think about what you want and begin to break it down into small steps. Break it down. Start small - I cannot stress this enough.  You can have an overarching goal but having small ones in between is what will keep you focussed and make it achievable. The key to setting successful goals, in my opinion, are going for things that are just outside your comfort zone. It is important to recognise where your own limits for the time being are. For example, one of my previous goals was becoming more confident. That was my overarching goal. I split this into public speaking, which was an area that scared me and becoming more involved in extra curricular activities. To tackle public speaking I then split this into smaller steps - first of all it would be speaking in front of small audiences, and then I built it up until I ended up speaking at assemblies and being part of debating. If you try and just achieve straight away what you are after, it can have the opposite effect and be off-putting.

2) Be flexible with deadlines - Give yourself a rough time when you would like to achieve your goal, but don't set it in stone. Respecting your boundaries and taking small steps that you are prepared to take is much more beneficial in the long run than trying to force something that is too much for you at the moment. Going at your own pace will make you feel more comfortable about achieving your goals and by not having a strict limit, you are much more likely to achieve it as you are not pressurising yourself to achieve something immediately and you can't miss on a deadline of a goal and thus be tempted to give up on it.

3) Don't worry if you don't achieve your goals straight away. Goals are meant to be somewhat of a challenge- if it wasn't then it would not be a goal. Try not to become obsessed with meeting the standards you have set for yourself immediately.

4) See how far you have come - acknowledge every small step and be proud. Don't think about whether your small goal would be a great deal to anyone else. Think about how it was something that made you anxious or you wanted to achieve before and you have managed it.

5) Remember your why. There will inevitably be moments where you want to give up on all your goals and you forget why you set them in the first place. Remember the overarching reason why you are working towards your goal and make sure you don't set goals for the wrong reasons. Set your goals for you and not anyone else. 

Setting realistic goals that you can achieve is key in keeping you on track, and it is important to recognise that sometimes you may not get it right first time.

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