Trust me, I get it. I used to set goals all the time. In fact, I looked forward to it. There’s something thrilling about writing down everything you want to accomplish, isn’t there? But after years of failing, learning, and analyzing, I’ve realized that the cons tend to outweigh the pros. Besides, apparently only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
A lot can change in a year. Your interests can change. Your priorities can change. Your desires can change. In fact, I can almost guarantee you of all of this. Essentially, at the beginning of each year, we’re looking ahead into a huge unknown. But rather than being afraid of that, I think that’s something we should cherish. So unless you want to limit yourself from opening new doors, setting goals might not be your best option.
But for the individual who is driven, with a desire to accomplish great things, NOT setting goals can have some level of risk associated with it. As you’ve heard it said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
So there must be some balance of both structure and adventure. The question is a matter of how we find that. How do we maintain a mindset of motivation without set ideas to work toward? How do we keep ourselves in check while eliminating consequences should we fail?
My simple response to these questions is simply to be present. Setting a goal for an entire year makes the mistake of assuming you have a year. Want to be healthy? Be healthy. Want to have money? Make money. What’s wrong with starting right now? Why do we need to write it out and hope our goals happen a year from now? Instead, you can take ownership of those desires and run with them. You have total freedom over the present to create something. So do it. BE it.
One of my favorite alternatives to goal-setting is creating a vision board. Remember that excitement I mentioned that happens when you write down your goals? The feeling of looking forward to obtaining these? Picturing these dreams or ideas as a part of your life? I think that feeling is extremely important and plays a huge role in changing your mindset. Don't underestimate how far this excitement will take you.
Sure, basing life decisions on your emotions isn’t always a great idea. But if you’re not in love with the places you want to go, you won’t find the daily guts or incentive to take you there.
So, what topics are you interested in studying? What changes do you want to implement in your life? I encourage you to take note of these… and become them. Make them your own. Stay passionate about them, share your progress, and be open about where you see yourself going. If down the road, you decide these changes weren’t for you, it’s okay to give up and try something new. Don’t tell yourself you’re a failure if you don’t become the next genius of the field. Have fun with it!