When I type “committing to your goals” into Google, I get 176,000 results. There are thousands of books, blogs, posts, tips, courses, videos, not to mention personalized pillow cases, mugs, keychains, posters, bags, and buttons that promise the answer to achieving your life’s objectives. While I have a healthy skepticism about the impact of an embroidered head rest, the benefits to determining and moving towards your personal intentions and desires are supported by research: increased self-esteem, confidence, better coping skills (especially during times of crisis), more social connections, and greater meaning and purpose in life.
The nature of the goals is also important, with those that are intrinsically motivated (that is, not based on external rewards) and specifically authentic to you providing the most positive results. Another key element to the power of goal setting is the idea of moving towards something you want rather than away from something undesirable; for example, it is better to pursue a new job from a place of contentment rather than in order to escape a bad situation.
My 50 Fabulous Feats experiment provided me with the opportunity to learn about and experience the positive advantages of setting and achieving goals that were personal, genuinely mine, and very much connected to my life’s passion and purpose. As I look back, the goals I achieved over that year were significant: I complete my M.Ed., started a whole new “encore” career as a Mental Health Recovery Support Worker as well as my own consulting service, and was selected as a SPARKie, receiving training with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to bring my wellness project to a wider audience.
It is important to recognize that these accomplishments were only achieved by making a series of tiny goals and trusting myself to take those baby steps that got me just a little closer to the finish line. I had to tackle my fear of travelling alone in order to get to the SPARK training in Ottawa. I needed to successfully fight my impulse to flee and remain firmly planted in my seat in that first Master’s class where the only other “mature” student was 27 years old. Every time I had doubts, fears, in some cases, flat out terror that I would never succeed, I went back to my overarching goal of pursuing my passion for mental health and wellbeing in order to make a positive impact on the people around me.
I’m not special in my abilities; the truth is that anyone can set and achieve goals. They don’t have to be earth-shatteringly large and they definitely shouldn’t be defined by what you think others would want you to achieve. Too many of the people I currently serve believe that they don’t count in society because they aren’t able to work at paid employment. The only thing that really matters is pursuing goals that are meaningful and rewarding for you. I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone because I believed in the value of my goals. Now I am also able to support others as they determine what is important in their lives; I am truly privileged!
There are many resources for setting goals that provide steps, templates, and support, but they all have a few things in common:
- Why: think about your personal aspirations, intentions, and wishes (not what you think others might value or want you to do)
- What: consider your priorities and pick one goal to target
- How: determine the actions you need to take to achieve this goal
- When: set some specific time frames for each step
- Who: reach out to people who can help you to stay on track, support you, provide feedback along the way, and celebrate your successes with you.
I’d love to hear about your goals and support you along the way through your Fabulous Feats.
Post a picture, video, or note on the Facebook page: Fabulous Feats.
Tweet out your experience with using: #FabFeats #CommittingToGoals