How I Made Peace With Goal Setting

For years I’ve made elaborate goals at every turn of the calendar year. Holing myself up with a hot drink, envisioning all the ways I could improve gave me enough spark to send me sprinting toward the dreary January days ahead.


This year was different. I stared at that blank page, rehashing the same old ideas and phrases about my diet and exercise routine, or lack thereof. I flipped back and forth after forcing out my ideal setup for physical and mental health, career plans, and relationship goals until realizing my hangup.



I have settled into the rut of comparing myself to some ideal, perfect person who pretty much comes up short every twelve months. I challenged myself to take a deeper look at my process.


Goal setting is a fabulous way to set your mind and actions on course to achieve what you really want in life. Research supports the idea that moderately challenging, meaningful goals lead to greater motivation and a much higher likelihood of achievement.


BUT the path to accomplishments and success is not an escalator of upward movement. Life isn’t meant to be lived in disappointment upon coming up short of perfection and your best efforts can sometimes fall flat. Despite my plans to simply improve and “go for it” I might as well have been setting my goals on repeat for a while now.


My perspective needed fine-tuning. One of the most vital parts of goal setting goes beyond carving out the next niche forward. Examining the steps you’ve taken in the past year to meet the unexpected, give to others rather than think of yourself, or devote yourself to overcoming daily challenges leads to authentic success.


Maybe I didn’t strictly follow my Mediterranean diet last year, but I have noticed a stronger immune system and better health. Maybe I didn’t exercise like I should have, but I took on a heavier workload and figured out how to manage my stress in other ways.


Once I made a list of mini accomplishments over the past year and took note of how many wonderful people I’ve met and opportunities I’ve had to learn and grow, I felt the needle move up in my spirit. This year’s goals are focused on making memories, strengthening connections, and showing greater generosity.


Pointing ourselves toward a deeper sense of purpose in life brings lasting fulfillment, which is ultimately one of the greatest goals for any year ahead. I encourage you to look for ways to meet the needs of others while giving yourself a little grace this year.


You have great value – explore the world around you and your purpose will unfold.

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