Mapping Out Your Goals

So here we are, the final installment of my inspirational musings. A few weeks ago (Aug. 19th, 2019), my brother asked me to help him with an English assignment. His teacher gave him four questions that he had to pose to two people and then write a response to each of their answers. What he didn’t tell me was that the paper was supposed to be 2,000 words total… I sent him 4,000. Whoops… 

In week one’s article, “ A Word For the Young and Young of Heart,” we explored the first question he sent me, “What do you think my strengths and weaknesses are?” I shared the answer I gave to him with all of you and then a bit of encouragement I wished someone had told me when I was a teenager. In week two’s article, “ Identifying Your Brightest Talents,” we looked at the question, “How do you think I can use my talents in a meaningful way?” I talked about my answer for my brother. I then took my readers for a walk through an exercise that I hope helped a few of you to become a little better in-tuned with your deepest passions and had you thinking about how to do something exciting with them. Last week, in “Build Your Dreams One Bite At A Time,” we recalled those passions and broke them up into digestible pieces. This week we’re getting into a more goal-oriented mindset and looking at steps you can take to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted to.

Below is the answer I gave to my brother. All these very specific tips and tricks I’ve gathered from my girl, Rachel Hollis over the years. I’ve read both of her books, Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. I also listen to her multiple podcasts and I religiously follow her on social media. She’s not the only inspirational person I follow, but she’s by far the one that resonates with me the most. Her goal-oriented plans work best for me. If you have something that works better for you, I’d love to hear it! Drop me a comment and we’ll have a conversation about your personal strategies!

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4. What advice would you give to help me achieve these goals?

Define them. Define them now, and define them in as much detail as you can. Then, as you age, mature, and find yourself, keep defining them until you no longer recognize them.

First, I suggest you establish your “Five to Thrive.” These are the five core values that most define you. I don’t expect you to know them all right now at this stage in your life, but you should be aware of them as you move out of high school, and, hopefully, into college. These are my five:

  1. Make my health my top priority.
  2. Make time for the people (and animals) I care about most.
  3. Live life with the goal to have fun.
  4. Exude love and understanding (the world has enough close-minded hate).
  5. Keep my hobbies a hobby – and designate at least an hour to them each week.

Once you know these, you can reference them quickly and efficiently before making any decisions in your life. Let’s say that someone was to ask me to join their band, and I know they are really into this thing and are already planning gigs. Pretend, for a moment that I know anything about playing guitar (I don’t), but I only strum casually every once in a while as a hobby with no real dreams of it being a career. This person is someone I really like and I don’t want to disappoint them, so I feel conflicted and want to say yes. In that split second while they are waiting for my answer, I can bounce the proposal off my value list and see that it conflicts with value # 5. For me, that’s exactly the kind of reassurance I need to do the right thing by letting my friend down easy upfront instead of making a commitment I would later resent and drop out of anyway. See how handy this tip is to keep your life and commitments on track? 

You will also use these five when making your next list: Your 10/10. Get a notebook, write down the 10 goals you want to achieve in the next 10 years in AS MUCH detail as possible. Reference these goals against your Five to make sure they don’t conflict. Here’s an example from my list: 

  1. “I want to run a successful blog/podcast. I will start by posting 1,500 words or more on my blog every two weeks until it’s a ritual. Then, I will rally my two voice-actors plus myself to record and act out the content in my fictional stories. We will publish these recordings twice a month.”

These two lists are something I wish with all my heart I’d had at your age. If I had, perhaps I wouldn’t have spent my high school days (and most of my twenties) feeling completely lost and directionless. I also might have graduated from college already instead of, yet again, giving community college a try. Or perhaps I would have realized sooner that I didn’t have a real goal. I was still finding out who I am. Maybe if I’d worked out my five values, and watched them as they kept changing, I would have gone out and found myself instead of wasting two and a half years of my life (and my limited financial aid allowance) on meaningless classes that now don’t even count towards my major. I could have then spent my time more wisely by working in a job and building a savings or investing in a good car or property. Instead, I’m swimming in credit debt and can’t imagine ever seeing an end to it.

High school should be spent getting to know who you are, not who you have been told to be. Use these guides to help you realize that, and when you’re ready to work through those ten goals, then you know that I will always be right there, ready with a self-help plan or book. I know you got this, “life thing,” without my help, but rest assured you will always get it anyway.

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So this was easily my longest response to him because achieving goals is what I’m all about. My life has changed so radically over the last five years and I couldn’t have done it without shifting my focus. I used to feel aimless and spent life hoping for good things to simply happen or to figure themselves out on their own. Everyone around me held a firm mantra of, “It’ll happen, give it time,” and “You’ll figure it out, be patient.” Well, patience and time don’t make your life happen for you. Only you can take control of your course and get your life to its desired destination. A ship left to bob along in the ocean will not magically get you to land before your resources run out. You have to turn on its engines, chart a course, and then use your accumulated tools to steer you there. Hopefully, these two lists will add some powerful new tools to your arsenal, and if you want to know more about goal setting, make sure you check out my girl, Rach. 

I hope you enjoyed this little bout of inspiration and I would truly love everyone to share what plans work for them! What goals are you working on? What plans, if any, have you made to achieve them? Is there any part of these musings that you may add to your existing plans, or have you been inspired to make a plan when you never have before? Let me know all this and more in the comments below! 

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