How To Set Goals You Love (and that could actually help you change your life)

How To Set Goals You Love (and that could actually help you change your life)

If something is not working in your life, you probably already know it on some level. You might feel agitated, tired, frustrated, or lost. You also might not feel like there's much you can do about it.

Sometimes, there really isn't much to do but survive your feelings. If you're grieving a breakup, death, loss, or other transition, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to ride the wave and let it pass. But, if you have any ounce of energy to envision the life you want for yourself, I'd like to offer you a space to try it. You might surprise yourself with what you discover.

Here's a goal-setting recipe to try:

Time: 3-5 hours
Ingredients: Paper, pen/pencil, music, creative inspiration (yes, sometimes Facebook counts as a helpful distraction/creative tool.)Task: Set both qualitative (sense of self and values) and quantitative (actionable and measurable) goals for 10 years, 5 years, and 1 year from now.

On the top of a blank piece of paper, write: In 10 years from now, in the year XXXX, I will be X years old. I:

(Then, answer the following questions:)

  1. How will I feel in my work? (This isn't "what work will I do?"- that comes later. We're trying to get a felt sense here.)
  2. How will I feel in my relationships?
  3. What kind of relationships will I pursue?
  4. How will I feel about what I'm doing with my life?
  5. How will I feel when I fall asleep at night, and when I wake up in the morning?
  6. What values do I hold in my life? How will I know I'm making decisions that are in line with these values?

Next, what does this look like practically? Maybe you want to feel more abundant, stable, loved, and confident. What does this look like? What do you need to do to encourage more of what you want? Make a list as long and as detailed as you want here. This is where you can list some actual jobs you might have, like teaching, publishing a book, working as a pediatrician at XYZ hospital, etc. You can also describe your relationships, friendships, home, pets, children, whatever comes to mind.

This section is your chance to really write out the specifics of what you want- how much money you want to be making, what your career and family and relationships with yourself and your partner(s) look like. Does it mean being in therapy more? Going to more concerts? Fewer parties? Buying more expensive clothes? Putting your clothes budget into your savings? What job do you have and what does it pay you? Are you married, and do you have a stable home? Or maybe those things aren't as important to you as traveling, producing films, volunteering at shelters. Whatever it is, what could that look like for you? Write it down.

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