Tiffany and I are halfway through our workshop about goal-setting, nattering along at full-speed, when I see the question pop up in the chat box.
“All of this is super helpful! But what if I don’t really know how to choose a goal? How do I even figure out where to start?”
That’s the rub, isn’t it? All the habit-making, goal-achieving advice in the world won’t help if you, uh, can’t figure out what goal to go after.
And it certainly won’t help if you choose a goal you’re bored with or ambivalent about. I don’t want that for you!
3 questions that will help you choose a goal you’re excited about + will actually stick with
Why are you trying to achieve this goal? Like, really.
Why are you trying to make six figures? Why are you trying to give up coffee? Why are you trying to fit into size six jeans?
If you’re trying to make more money so you can pay off debt or buy a house, awesome! But if you’re trying to break the six-figure ceiling because all your professional peers have?
Well, you’re going to have a hard time maintaining much momentum or excitement when your true motivation is “keeping up with the Joneses.”
If you’re trying to give up coffee because it upsets your stomach and ruins your sleep, it’ll be (relatively) easy for your change your caffeine habit. If you’re giving it up because your super healthy BFF gave it up, it’ll be hard to get excited about green tea every morning.
I know it’s easy to arbitrarily choose a goal that seems healthy or impressive or aspirational. Goals are not one-size-fits all. One person's fun, achievable goal is another person's slog through the valley of suck. Click To Tweet
What makes you happy?
Many of us pursue certain goals because we “should.” We should get serious about our careers. We should save for a house. We should be less obsessed with our phones.
Those are all great goals! I will not talk you out of any of them!
But what if – amongst all those should-y ambitions – you tucked in some goals that actually made you happy? What if one of your biggest goals was to add more joy and pleasure to your daily life?
Our lives shouldn’t be giant checklist of ways in which we can polish and shine ourselves into perfection. We don’t have to fill every waking hour with tasks that make us richer, more accomplished, better looking, healthier, and more well-read. Click To Tweet
We can make goals like “Call best friend once a week” or “Try something at every bakery within five miles of my apartment.” You can go after the goal of “Wear every piece of jewelry I own” or “Have a weekly Parks & Rec viewing party and re-watch the entire series.”
It’s okay to aspire towards more fun, happiness, and joy. They are just as goal-worthy as the corner office or a eight-minute mile.
Related: How to figure out what makes you happy (so you can add more of it to your life)
How can you pursue your goal in a way you actually enjoy?
Let’s say my goal is “Exercise four times a week.” I could, theoretically, pursue that goal by going to the gym or running every morning. But I hate both those things!
Instead, I could put on my Youtube playlist called “Happy Dancing” and dance myself into a sweaty lather for 30 minutes, four times a week. I could put my beloved state park pass to use and explore hiking trails. I could meet friends for snowshoeing or skiing. I like doing all those things! And, what luck, they also happen to be exercise.
I could chase my goal of eating more produce by loading up on salads and raw veggie sticks (not personal favorites). Or I could finally learn how to make restaurant-caliber roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato fries.
If my goal is “Have one networking lunch each week,” I could make sure those networking lunches happen at my favorite cafes. I could invite friends over for Prosecco and brunch to help me meet my goal of de-cluttering my closet.
You’re smart. You see where I’m going with this. Honest motivation + enjoyment = goals we'll have fun pursuing. Click To Tweet
Going after what we want doesn’t have to suck! Pursuing our goals doesn’t have to be a long, slow, joy-sucking journey filled with 5 am runs, undressed salads, and never-ending to-do lists.
It is totally possible to pursue your goals and enjoy your life simultaneously. Truly.
But I want to hear from you! Are you a goal-setter? How do your choose your goals and go after them in a way that’s fun and sustainable? Share your insights in the comments so we can learn from you!
P.S. The truth about work/life balance and how to get it + How to chase your dreams without hating your life
Thank you for this helpful post! ❤️ Me, I’m definitely a goal-setter, but when it comes to achieving them… it’s 50/50! Getting better year by year, heh! I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve them, though. 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I know it’s not really your style to be prescriptive, but if you made a big long list of goal ideas for us to use as inspiration…I wouldn’t be mad 😉
Ooooh! That might be fun!
This is such a great post! Thank you!
Hardest part for me is figuring out what I really want!
Starting a meditation practice so I can try and be quiet and
listen to my soul to find this out!
Umm… can you please share your Happy Dancing playlist??? 😀
My taste in music is too embarrassing to share! 😉
I love that you talked about enjoying the process of reaching your goals and also setting some not-so-serious goals. This was my first year of setting some fun goals for myself (usually they’re all very serious), and it has been really enriching. Thanks for the great post!
It’s working. After years of yo-yo dieting I finally lost 30%-of my weight just with some little changes. Instead of ridiculous strict diets I’m started calorie counting. I make sure that I have a treat food every day. It’s amazing how much I can eat in 1200 calorie. I make fun trying new recipes or refresh old favorites with a less calorie version. I found the healthywage website and made bets for my weight loss, it’s very motivating.
I love this! How inspiring!
Love this Sarah! Other people’s goals are good for inspiration but you always need to make sure you do that happiness check. I do this with blogging — I ask myself what my version of success is and what would make me happy — do I need to earn $2 million from my blog or would a loyal connected community make me happier with a lower income target? Simple as that.
Thank you. I couldn’t agree more. Can’t get this message out there enough. Its so peaceful when you do things for you and you tune into those goals that you will stick with.