A quick Google search of the word “goals” will give you thousands of articles from, “what are goals”, “how to make goals”, “10 steps towards achieving your goals”, to “don’t have a goal make one”, and “are you tired of your goal?” This topic is honestly saturated.
A quick scroll through Instagram or any social media platform with the hashtag #goals will generate any goals you can think of such as #realtionshipgoals #housegoals #hairgoals #leggoals #vactiongoals #bacongoals (yes I have seen that). As crazy as some of those #goals can get, the word goals constantly surrounds us. Has the word “goals” become so typical that is has become watered down lacking any structure and impact anymore? It seems so.
It seems to have become like cotton candy all pretty, colorful, and fluffy but lacks any substance and something you can sink your teeth into. Goals seem to be a picture we see of a celebrity or an Instafamous person and we want to be them or we wish we could have whatever they have. Goals have started to sound like “I wish” and “If only” instead of “I will” and “I am “. Therefore, I feel it is crucial to not only talk about goals in a deeper manner but to talk about goals in a practical way in which you can apply to your life.
In this series on goals, I am going to be discussing 5 principles that are key to successful goals. Are there only 5 things to have successful goals? Not necessarily. Why 5? Honestly, that just so happens to be the number of bullet points I grouped together. Disclaimer! These points are what I call ingredients to a recipe that I have learned and observed with goals. Life is a learning process. Some recipes may look differently for others and recipes are sometimes modified. But can you hang in there with me and read on what I have learned thus far?
- Whatever goals you make in life, do it for the right reasons.
I remember when I first started college; I was excited to start a new chapter in my life. I was a 1st generation college student, so part of me wanted to prove to my family and the generations after me that I could do it and that it could be done. That is not a bad reason right? Part of me wanted to go to college to have good employment opportunities. That is a good reason as well. I was most excited, however, to have the opportunity to learn. I truly had an interest and desire to learn and further my education. I was intrinsically motivated towards my goal of earning a college degree. Psychologists Dr. Deci and Dr. Ryan coined the term intrinsic motivation, which means you do something for the sheer pleasure, desire, and interest in something, not necessarily for some reward or external outcome. My intrinsic motivation was one of the many factors that kept me going through the ups and down of college. It also shaped my decision to truly major in what I wanted to learn. I did not make the economy situation sway me on what I decided to major in either. Gasp! I am sure people would disagree with me on that but in the end I had to go with what was in my heart.
One of the most important checks on making sure your goals are for the right reasons is to remember that time is valuable. Time is one of the most expensive concepts. We cannot get time back. We can only keep moving forward therefore make sure you are spending your time wisely on your goals and doing them because you really have a desire for them.
Next, make sure you are not setting your goals based on what everyone else is doing or what someone else thinks you should do. This is even true with the people that we love the most like our family. Have you ever heard of someone saying or even met someone that a mother is living through her daughter or a father is living through his son? I sure have. It happens a lot. Sure there are people in our lives that have sound wisdom and good intentions, which we should not dismiss, but make sure you are not forgetting your own goals in the process. This is your life to live with a positive future ahead.
Finally, ask yourself if your goals are not only to better yourself but to help those around you. You could have multiple reasons for your goals like earning money or owning a home. Those are not bad reasons but if your only living life for yourself, all the riches and honors in the world cannot fill the void that will come from distancing yourself from caring and helping others. Sure being financially stable and having nice things are not necessarily bad goals. My point is that if your goals are only focused on external outcomes, it will not last. If I had based earning my college degree on solely external reasons, I would have quit and burned out easily. I stayed in college because not only did I love learning but I wanted to help people in any capacity my degree took me. In the end, making goals for the right reasons will not exempt you from disappointment and even regrets along the way but it does means that you can hold your head up high in confidence knowing that not only are doing what is in your heart to do but you are working towards your goals to better the world around you. No one can take that away from you. In fact making goals and working towards your goals with honesty, integrity, and love for those goals will keep you going. What happens when you lose that intrinsic motivation towards your goals and you forget the reasons why you started? Stay tuned for next week on part 2 of this 3 part goal series on, How to Make Successful Goals.
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