I love writing things down. I write down quotes. I write down favorite spots. But, most importantly, I write down my goals and my dreams. And so when I say this, I mean it – I hate when people tell me the reason why I am not reaching my goals is because I don’t write them down.
I recently moved and therefore purged a lot of things. As I was going through my old journals, I found a list of goals I wrote down. They are pretty simple, but this list was written years ago and guess what, I still haven’t accomplished the goals that I wrote down on a piece of paper.
Now, to be honest, I do reach a lot of my goals. But, some goals – I just can’t seem to reach even if they are really important to me.
The BBC had a recent article on the secret to a meaningful life and one of the main secrets is our personal projects. Personal projects are goals like losing weight or finding a man or starting a business.
The one thing about goals is that they are goals – we don’t have those things now. Which is why we create charts, and plan out our calendars, and research how to achieve our goals.
So, having goals is big – it’s a great first step. But, the real key to success and happiness is actually believing that you can attain those goals.
Let me repeat. Having goals is great, but believing that your goals are possible is what fuels their reality.
Insanity is Doing The Same Thing Over and Over Again, But Expecting Different Results:
Goals take work, a lot of work. And who wants to go to the gym 7 days a week, eat nothing and not see progress? Who wants to practice shooting a basketball for months, and never make a basket from a layup? It’s not fun. It seems pointless. And very few people like to just change without seeing results. Doing things differently and changing takes work and effort (either physical, but mostly mentally).
Hence the phrase, “start small”.
- Run 5 miles
- Find pretty hair styles for work and dates
- Make new friends in marketing and design
- Fall in love with someone who loves me too
- Have a better relationship with my parents
- Become a better public speaker
- Workout 3 times a week
- Travel to new cities
- Finish my book
- Eat 1400 calories a day
- Be a good marketer
- Save for a home
As I reflect on this list, I just don’t think I can do any of these things. I’ve had pretty much the same list for so long and at this point, and all of this feels unattainable (except for number 5 – thankfully).
Honestly, it’s embarrassing to admit because, for a lot of you, this is stuff that you always do. And, for me, this is stuff I still struggle with.
Not only do I still struggle with this list, but it doesn’t seem attainable.
I once wrote out a post-it that said “smile today” and when my boss saw it, he said, do you really need the reminder? And I said yes.
How to Reassess Your Goals:
So, love, I’m starting to reassess.
Starting with the first on my list. I’ve wanted to run 5 miles a day ever since I heard that’s what Katie Holmes does. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed running and one of my greatest accomplishments was when I was training for a Chicago half marathon and ran 10 miles on the Lake Front Path. I have never felt more alive or proud of myself for not stopping or giving up.
As of today, I can’t remember the last time I went running, so to have a goal of 5 miles straight seems a bit much. Hence, my new goal is to run 1 mile. That’s it. I want to be able to run 1 mile 3 times a week. Once I reach that milestone, then I can progress. But, then again don’t doubt your abilities. When I ran those 10 miles, I had just left the hospital and hadn’t worked out in months. So, challenge yourself, but also be real with yourself.
Admitting is The Hardest Part:
I know that a lot of us made New Years Resolutions, and we’re already past January. So, take a look at your goals. Ask yourself if you really think that you can achieve that goal. Don’t think about anyone else but yourself. If you think this is so easy and you should be able to do it – but you really can’t, just admit it. No one else needs to know. But, you do need to start somewhere.
Also remember, thinking you can achieve something is not the same things as saying that you can do it now. I can run a mile, but do I run a mile three times a week? No, I don’t. So, it’s developing that habit. I read once that if you are in a rut, to start at the lowest level – the level where you can’t say no. i.e. writing for 10 minutes a day. Then you can progress.
So, take a breath and write out your goals – things you really want.
And go through that list and set realistic expectations. Are you sure that you can attain those goals? Now, start. Let me know how it goes.
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.