I always get an exciting, ‘fresh start’ feeling just after my birthday. Being an August baby, turning another year older has always coincided with the start of the new school year, and that sense of starting over. I actually think of September as more of a ‘new year’ than new year itself. So after I turned 27 last month, I wrote out a list of my goals for the year ahead.
I think goals can sometimes be problematic. It’s easy to set yourself something too vague, such as ‘eat more healthily’, or totally unrealistic, like ‘get up an hour earlier and exercise before work every day.’ If you’re too harsh on yourself and set unnecessarily high standards, you’ll just feel down and demotivated when you fail to reach them – totally defeating the purpose of setting goals.
I also think it’s important to aims for things that can be built upon once you’ve achieved them. When I was younger my ambition was always to get a feature published in a broadsheet newspaper, but I never considered where I would go with my writing and career once I achieved this. So when I managed it, aged 24, I didn’t really have any ideas about how to take it forward or build upon it.
This year, I’ve also tried to include a few fun goals – such as learning to crochet a granny square – to stop my list being too heavy and work-focused. I’ve also reminded myself to take one weekday evening to do something fun, as it’s all too easy to get tired and bogged down during the week when you’re focusing on work and pushing yourself to achieve.
I’m looking forward to this coming year and ticking things off my list at an easy pace. How do you go about setting and reaching your goals? What do you find motivates you?