I went into this blog venture with a particular goal in mind (to discover my purpose) with only a hazy idea of how I was going to achieve it. (At least I thought it was something to be ‘achieved’ at the time). I figured that if I invested into something I’m really passionate about, I’d eventually discover my purpose and then I could tick off that box. Well-intentioned, but somewhat naive. It’s funny how 8 months down the line you end up with a totally different mindset. I haven’t really strayed from my main intention, but I’ve certainly ended up with different results and conclusions.
I’m still passionate about feminism and will write about it occasionally, but part of my development to discover my purpose, I’ve been getting more involved in self-improvement books, youtube channels and courses. I’ve been setting goals and challenging myself to work on my flaws and bring out the best in myself and others.
People become better when around those who demand more. In the same way, people become better when they demand more of themselves.
What I have learned though, is that making a statement or goal doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve it. It’s not about the motivation – it’s about the follow through. We often get excited about a goal to begin with, but quickly lose steam when we realise the arduousness of our commitments. And if you don’t have a plan or set of smaller goals in place, it’s much, much harder to accomplish.
I needed to ask myself what routines I will set in place in order to make sure I am following through on my goals, and how will I reflect on my progress and hold myself accountable? But firstly, I needed to clearly and broadly identify my overall goal. This was it:
“My intention is to become the best version of myself possible. To lead a life worth writing down. To be happy. To be someone who lights up any room she enters and whom people find hard to forget. To be irresistible to everyone I meet because I have something special to give to this world.” s.j.o
Yes it’s cheesy, but it’s honest!
Having concluded that discovering my purpose was less about a final goal and more about the process, I wrote this intention based on how I wanted to perceive myself. I didn’t give a time frame for this. If I had said ‘within a year’, I know that I would relax and put it on the back-burner. If I had said ‘by next week’, I know it wouldn’t have been achievable. Realistically, I would need to develop a growth strategy, and this requires short, achievable time frames and steps. (It’s all about the process…)
The same method can work for you too, regardless of how big or small your goal or goals are.
Starting with an intention is the first step. Make it as open as you like. It helps to imagine the best version of yourself possible: the person you want to become. It doesn’t matter if you want to simply be more positive, or become a famous youtuber, it could even be one around dating and improving your mindset in love. Write it down.
After this, you need to identify steps (mini-goals) that you will need to follow through and change in your short-term routine in order to meet your intention in the long-term. Some of these may be hard to do, some of them maybe even embarrassing to admit (although this can be a totally private venture) – but if you want to become the person you describe in your intention, only you can make that happen through deliberate changes to your daily life. Fate will not revolve things to work your way. You have to make the conscious decision to change.
One of my goals towards my intention is to greet people with a smile and look them in the eye. In addition if I know them: greeting them by their name. This is a simple and easy goal, but it’s one a lot of us don’t actually do. This simple action can build and strengthen relationships between strangers, colleagues and good friends! It shows that you have an interest in that person simply through acknowledgement.
It is important that you do this regularly and make specific – SMART – goals, so that they are achievable. I also encourage you to write down the purpose of each goal to specifically remind you of its benefit.
S – specific, significant
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
For example: Perhaps your intention (in a nutshell) is to reinvent your look. Part of this could be weight loss or toning. So one of your goals could be: “4-5 times a week, I will get up earlier to go for a brisk 40 minute walk.” Purpose: “This will improve my health and general well-being over the long term and tone my legs and stomach”.
I designed two charts to track how I was meeting my goals weekly and daily, so that I could keep a visual record of progress. I have made these available to download for free. These can be used individually or together! I recommend using the daily growth strategy primarily because focusing on 2-3 goals is proven to be more achievable than aiming for 10+ and spreading yourself too thin. The checklist on the weekly growth strategy should not force you to aim for ALL of your goals EVERY day, but rather give you a range to pick and choose from.
They also include daily gratitudes and forgiveness lists. These are important in general for our mental well being, and being able of letting go hurts, or comparing our lives with others.
For those people who may be setting goals based on appearances, I strongly suggest taking photos to track development. Not only to feel proud of your achievements when they are met, but change takes time, and it’s often frustrating and easy to give up when the results don’t appear fast enough. So keep a record! You may be surprised.
Happy goal setting!