Let’s talk about goal setting. Who has not thought about what their year will look like? *raises hand sheepishly* I may or may not have done it yet, which is surprising because I love organization and planning. I am one of the first to sit down and think about where I want to go. I love writing it out so I can see everything in advance. So this post is a bit late, I admit. BUT to be fair to me, I had a honeymoon to go on soooo I think I’ll give myself a break 😀 This is my “new year, new me” post. Do you like that phrase? I can’t decide. Some people hate it with a burning fiery passion and some feel like it fits this time of year. I believe it is always a good time to make goals and work to improve oneself.
It doesn’t have to be the beginning of the year for you to take steps towards a better you.
Truthfully, I struggle with posts like these because it has been so long since I first made some of these goals. It’s hard to imagine one day finally achieving them. But giving up is not something I want to be known for, and so I’m going to keep on pushing forward.
This will be the last year I struggle with these things.
My goal for this post (haha, see what I did there?) is to help you learn how to set longtime life goals. This is the process that I use and that I have created out of the bits and pieces of similar posts and programs. I’ve never met one specific method that resonated with me so I tweaked them all until I found one that fits me. This is it. Now, this post is not for those short-term, small achievements. Those aren’t very difficult. Achieving them is a simple process of getting off our butts and just doing it. Today, I want to talk about how to really change your life. Think about it. What are the biggest obstacles to your dream life? What change could you make that would change everything? These questions are terrifying. Terrifying. Because once you answer them, you can no longer avoid them.
Too often, I see people focus all their attention on small, immediate goals. They get somewhere but is it ever exactly where they wanted to be? No. To feel the accomplishment we are searching for from small goals, we are forced to minimize our dreams. We convince ourselves that what we’ve reached was exactly what we always wanted and that “we’ve made it”. But it’s never enough. The truth is always there, niggling in the back of our minds.
So today, we’re going to plunge forward. We are going to set those long-term goals that can truly change our lives. We are going to set parameters that we can achieve in a years’ time. I need this as much as the rest of you do. I am leaning on your shoulders as much as I hope you are leaning on mine. So. Breathe. Close your eyes. And take the plunge with me.
First, let’s talk about the relationship between dreams and goals.
I think we forget that goals and dreams are not alien from each other. They are sisters. Goals can slip into dreams as easily as dreams can become goals. But a life-changing goal never starts without a big, beautiful picture in mind.
So what are your dreams?
Do me a favor and take a minute to think about this. Seriously, what are they? Do you dream of fame? Why? Do you dream of security? Why? Do you dream of love? Why? What prompts all these dreams?
Our subconscious needs ought to be credited much more. Our society is in a phase where it likes to say that everyone is different and individual. That’s true. But we are also all human and we all have the same needs. We are more alike than we care to admit. The only difference is that we feel those needs satisfied in different ways.
The truth is that the dreams we have as adults fulfill the unsatisfied needs we had as children.
Whatever this means for you, it has to be identified before you can set goals to fulfill them.
The best way to set effective goals is to do it in steps.
Step 1: Think it out.
There are lots of “how to” goal-oriented guides out there. And they’re all so complicated. I believe those have a place and I have found so much value from the ones I have done. But I don’t think that’s necessary here. So we’re gonna keep this super simple.
Pull out four different sheets of paper. Title three of them “Spiritual”, “Physical”, and “Mental/Emotional”. Set aside the fourth one for now.
On each page, write down what you wish for in that area of your life. What do you want? What matters the most to you? Understanding what your deepest wants are in each area of your life is vital to setting up real goals that you can achieve, so take the time to prepare. Be by yourself. Keep it quiet. Go where you feel relaxed, calm, inspired. If that is not in your house, then go somewhere else. We’re reaching toward a life that fulfills us here, so start as you mean to go on.
Make sure that, for each one, you are really thinking it through. You’re working toward the ultimate dream that you have — love, fame, security, whatever it is. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself as someone that you are proud of, who you can put forward as the best version of you, and who you truly love to be. Who is that person? What kind of spiritual life do they lead? What does their mental health look like? Have they made any emotional changes? Write all of it down. Be specific!
Step 2: Tie It Together
Now that you’ve written out your specific image of yourself in each category, grab that last piece of paper. I titled mine “My Life in General” but you can title it or not, whatever you like. This is the most important page because this is where it all comes together. Pull the parts that speak to you the most together and create your vision for your life.
If you need a little help, here’s mine:
I want to be surrounded by nature every day. I don’t want to hear a car pass by constantly. Instead, I want to hear the silence of nature and only hear “noise” when I choose to. I want a slower pace in my life and to be able to make decisions without being a slave to my schedule. I want to live in a haven, a beautiful home that brings me joy by being in it where I can be self-sufficient (in every sense) and teach my children to be so. I’m craving a place that reminds me of the glory of God instead of somewhere that distracts me from Him, where I can sing at the top of my lungs. I want a life that brings peace to me and everyone who enters it.
These four pages are all you need to organize your long-term goals.
We have your dream life identified. Now, how do you get there?
This is the fun part! Now is the time you get to set your long-term goals. Remember: these are your goals. Don’t let others guilt you or talk you into pursuing something you don’t want. People only have power over us if we let them.
Now, to have a goal, you have to know where you’re going. Take a look at your papers. What stands out to you? What gets your heart racing, brings a smile to your face? Does anything scare you? What have you written that makes you think “now THAT life..that’s something I would wake up for. That’s something I am willing to work for”? Those are your destinations. That’s what you’re working toward. Every step you take should have your destination in mind.
These are my destinations.
- Spiritual: I am the person that everyone knows is a Christian without having to ask.
- Mental/Emotional: I am a healthy 2, a strong INFJ, who understands her worth and never lets anyone tell her otherwise.
- Physical: I am healthy, fit, toned, and committed to taking care of myself because I deserve it.
So how do we get there? Well, only you know the answer to that question. It depends entirely on your destinations, how fast you want to get there, and how much you are willing and able to sacrifice to get there. But be patient with yourself. No one hits the bullseye with the first arrow and your journey to becoming your dream self will be full of obstacles and temptations to quit. The best way to fight against those obstacles and win against your worst enemy (FYI: it’s probably yourself) is to create a series of steps to follow!
Let’s talk through how to decide what those steps should be.
Before you can decide on what steps you should take to get to where you’re going, you need to decide what needs to come first. What is the priority? This is not to say that you can’t work on multiple things at once but it’s easier to focus on one thing at a time when you’re beginning the “change my life” process.
For me, my physical health comes first. This is the part of myself that is the most neglected and that, once it’s fixed, will change the most about my life.
These are my steps:
Step 1: Cut out all sugar. I am deciding that I don’t eat that anymore.
Step 2: Fix my estrogen imbalance (already well underway!).
Step 3: Edit my diet until I’m at the McCombs Plan. Heal my gut and prepare to add foods back.
Step 4: Take allergy and food sensitivity tests. Recreate my diet around the results.
Step 5: Work up to exercising five times per week again.
Step 6: Be patient with myself.
My steps are pretty general because I’ve been doing this for so long that I know what each step entails. I don’t need to be more specific. Make yours whatever you need them to be.
And now all you have to do is simply follow your steps! When you reach an obstacle that you’re struggling with, re-evaluate, take a deep breath, and plunge ahead when you’re ready. You are not racing. You are not on a timer. This life that you’re creating is yours; your only competition is yourself.
That’s it. It really is that simple. Put up your steps somewhere where you can see them. Read them every day. Remind yourself of what you’re working for when you’re feeling low and sing your achievements when you’re feeling high. I believe in you, friend. I know for a fact that you are capable of reaching your dreams.
My final bit of advice for you is to read, learn, and expand.
One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself is to keep broadening my horizons. It’s hard to change and it’s even harder to admit you need to. But when you give yourself the proper tools, it becomes surprisingly simple, if not easy. These are my favorite resources that have helped me take those baby steps toward becoming the wife, mother, and woman I want to be.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- 5AM Club by Robin Sharma
- Journaling (daily, weekly, whatever you like)
- Pinterest (I use it to create an image of what I want my life to be, so that I have it in my mind)
- Quotes (I am obsessed with quotes. You’ll know that already if you follow me on Instagram!)
- My vision board (again, a visual)
- A mentor (this can literally be anybody. Mine is my aunt. If you don’t have one already, think about the kind of person you’d like to have as a mentor and reach out to them)
I encourage you to look at your life and remove anything that is hindering you. We all talk about toxic people and how we should remove them from our lives and move onto healthier friendships but what no one ever talks about is how oftentimes we are the cruelest towards ourselves. Are you toxic for you? And are you willing to change that?
What are your destinations? What are your steps? Share in the comments below so I can be your cheerleader! I’m here to support you in whatever way I can.