There are three major times throughout the year where I sit down and critically reflect on my life – where I am and where I want to be. Oftentimes, this leads to a long series of conversations about goals, both long-term and short-term, both task-oriented and vision-oriented. Those three times are, without a doubt:
- New Year’s Eve
- My Birthday, and
- Whenever I feel like my life is a hot mess
Unfortunately, I feel like I’ve been falling into the third category most recently. Also, by process of elimination, it’s not New Year’s Eve, it’s not my birthday, and yet, here I am writing about #goals. Nothing serious is going on, no one needs to worry about me, but it’s just that lately, everything in my life has been in flux. My job has been stressful, which is prompting me to think about other career opportunities, the lease of my apartment is up in June, but I’m looking to sublet for May, which means I’ve also been searching for an apartment. So, quite literally, I’ve been in the process of uplifting my entire life and moving it around. Granted, I don’t think this is all bad – I think times of transition and change can be healthy – although, stressful.
I feel like I haven’t been able to focus on anything these past few months. My mind feels all over the place. To use another metaphor: I’m someone who uses several tabs on my computer when I’m browsing the web. For every thought I have, I have a new tab. I always mean to use the feature as a “I’ll come back to you later,” but what actually ends up happening is that I just continue to increase my tabs, never coming back to any of them, until my computer forces itself to shut down because I have too many tabs open for it to handle. My IT friends are probably cringing. Don’t worry. I’ve learned my lesson.
In an alternate attempt to write out my thoughts, I’m taking a different approach. A friend of mine at work has planned out her entire professional portfolio for the next year on post-its, posting them on her windows and walls, scattered all over her office. I decided to steal her idea, but use it for my personal life. Each goal is a new post-it. And since I’m moving within the next two weeks (hopefully), I didn’t want to liter my walls with paper with such transient circumstances.
Instead, I decided to create a digital version using note.ly (which I would recommend).
Doesn’t it look so clean and so pretty??! Or maybe, it’s just the Type A nerd in me coming to life, the one who still, to this day, gets excited about new office supplies…
Anyways. I wrote out all of the thoughts in my head, all of the goals that I have for myself in the near future, but also, some for the not-so-near future. I’m considering my own organizational approach:
- Row 1: Goals that I need to stop talking about, and just start doing. Although all of these goals will take time to participate in, they take no time to commit to. For example, I’ve talked about wanting to join a writing group for the longest time. I need to stop talking about it, and just do it. It’s not the time factor that I’ve been hesitant about, it’s the commitment.
- Row 2: Goals that will take some more time, or goals that I’m considering for the relatively near future, but not immediately. Learning a new language takes time, so I added it in this category. And as for joining a chorus or getting a tattoo, I know I want to do those things, but those are farther in the future.
- Row 3: Goals that are long-term, or will take a substantial amount of time. Writing a book is something I can work on every day, but publishing a book is different. These are goals that, in the meantime, I can work towards, but may not accomplish until the distant future (and that’s okay).
Just by organizing all of my goals, all of the things I want to do in my life in this moment, I feel like I have automatically organized my life. I found myself feeling bad if I wasn’t writing 24/7, because I wasn’t working towards my goal of finishing and publishing a book. But then I realized I was just working towards different goals. And I couldn’t be mad at myself if I wasn’t writing because I was working towards other goals, even if those other goals were just crocheting a blanket while re-watching the entire Parks & Rec series.
I’m also sharing my goals here, recognizing that it’s a vulnerable experience. I’m sharing my goals, and subsequently, my life. But I’m sharing in hopes that someone reading this will say, “Hey! That’s one of my goals, too!” and we can link up together to achieve that goal.
And in the words of Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”