I have always actively disliked that phrase. One time in kindergarten, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I sat there and thought about what my mom did (because naturally I wanted to be just like her). So, I drew a Crayola woman on my piece of paper. When the teacher asked me what it represented, I said proudly, “I want to be a mom, just like my mom!” Apparently we’re all supposed to be motivated and hungry for professional success from a young age, so that did not fly in my kindy classroom. I finally drew a picture of a firefighter, which was met with smiles and nods of approval. Good girl. Good goal.
As a person who fully enjoys living in the present moment, that task of conjuring up a realistic-yet-ambitious image of where I want to be in the future is really pretty hard. But I am here to tell you, fellow goal-a-phobes, this task we call goal-setting doesn’t have to be so bad.
I have recently come to understand the point of all this elementary school drama. As a 28 year old “late bloomer” (ie I spent my post-college years bashing around my life without much of a sense of direction) I have finally set a goal that really gets me fired up. And that, my friends, is the point. It needs to stem from a sense of excitement, and a true deep desire to get to where you’re going. If we fake it, we probably won’t care much about it. And then we won’t succeed. Note: I am neither a firefighter nor a dog groomer. Nor am I a stay-at-home mom, but that wasn’t allowed to be a goal anyway. I am on my way to becoming one hell of a physical therapist. (For the record: my mom is an extremely successful business owner who still works from home, and I still want to be just like her.
My point: you won’t find that motivation by pulling something out of thin air. Make a goal you care about. Write about it. Especially about how it makes you feel when you’re freshly fired up. And then write that goal on your mirror in words that conjure up the fire and look at it every single day. Read it out loud. Conjure up that feeling. The initial excitement won’t be in its original form, but it will ultimately be the secret weapon that helps us get to where we’re going.
And if you don’t have any goals right now? That’s okay too. But as a reformed non-goal-setter, I have learned that even a little goal, a teeny tiny seemingly inconsequential goal, like getting up ten minutes early to stretch in the morning, can be the ticket towards forward momentum. And ultimately, those little goals can help pave the way for a bigger, more exciting life dream.
So don’t stress about your goal worthiness. Start with a single step towards where you want to be tomorrow.