Where do you see yourself in five years time? You have probably heard this question before. Already you most likely have a vision of the answer inside of your head. Maybe you want your own home or to have visited ten different countries, maybe you want to own a company. No matter what comes to mind in response to the question, every year your answer most likely differs in some aspect from the year before. The goal is just as important but the vision has been altered in some form.
Having talked about embracing change, in my last blog post: Moving Abroad: Leaving Home in your Early Twenties, it is natural that goals will differ over a span of time. Some goals may be solid. For example, if you have always dreamed of having children, it is likely that this will continue to be something you pursue until it is fulfilled. These goals might be associated with overall life satisfaction levels. It may be important to have bigger goals in life that may contribute to your future. But, when you focus too much on the long-term, the short-term and present can become neglected.
You may ask why is neglecting the short-term a big deal? It comes down to failing to see your own progress, your potential and failing to celebrate the smaller victories. That’s one way to be miserable. Each small, attainable short-term goal that is reached, contributes to those greater goals in some way. Whether you become more focused, more organised, more grateful or gain higher self-esteem, you become more equipped and feel greater motivation to succeed in some of the larger goals you have. So how do you focus on your own goals?
#1 Be honest with yourself
Goals must be attainable for us to feel any kind of real satisfaction. Otherwise, if we set up a goal that does not at all fit in with our interests, our lifestyle and you are unwilling to change this, you will feel great dissatisfaction when you do fail to attain a goal. For example, if you have a goal to be shaped like a bodybuilder and yet have no interest in working out or following a specific meal plan; you might be super disappointed when you look in the mirror and do not see results. Therefore you must set goals that are realistic. For example, having never exercised before, you might want to improve your health so you aim to attend one fitness class per week rather than attend every day.
#2 Think Small
Bigger is not always best when it comes to success. You have heard the tale about the tortoise and the hare. Be that tortoise. Making a few smaller goals on a regular basis, which are attainable tricks us into thinking we have accomplished a lot, thus, feel super productive. When you make smaller goals, you are more likely to stick to them because they do not seem so difficult to achieve or not too time-consuming. For example, if you want to be more organised in the home, you may set the goal of making your bed every day, instead of planning an entire cleaning rota for every day. Marking these small goals off your checklist will feel like you have achieved a lot. Also will help you achieve a greater outcome over time. As a suggestion, I would aim for anywhere between 3-5 daily goals a day.
#3 Express gratitude
Saying thank you to yourself may seem kind of awkward, but when you have put in the effort to achieve. But who else is going to celebrate the small successes better than yourself? As humans, we like to feel rewarded. Take time out to be grateful for not only the goals you are achieving but areas in your life that seem to be going well. In general, seeing gratitude in small elements of your life will contribute to that overall sense of happiness and help you feel as if you are succeeding even if you are still while off reaching your goals.
#4 Be Selfish
If you are worried about how your goals will fit into the lives of everybody else, remember it is true that you can’t please everybody. If you are surrounded by the right people, they will support you regardless of your goals. And the biggest thing for me, in this instant is actually imagining your future self looking back with regrets, that you never did that thing or you wish you had done it sooner. Everybody else is focused on their own goals, so do not be afraid to chase your own just to please others.
#5 Failure is growth
You win some, you lose some. Whatever happens, failure helps us revise our plans, our ideals and assess what we could do differently. We see our goals in a different light when we fail and that creates room for growth. Do not be afraid of failure, see failure instead of as an opportunity to develop and you will be in a much better frame of mind.