To admit frankly, I have never been good at setting goals. In fact, I am the worst. My biggest trouble is knowing exactly what I want to achieve and designing the correct and detailed road path that would lead me to the success.
I do have dreams, but they seem to be a bit fuzzy, and without planning how to realize them, they will never ever become reality. Dreams are good, dreams are important but turning them into goals is what will take me to the point of living these dreams, and not just imagining them.
Therefore, in process of my self-evaluation and self-exploration, first I need to embrace my dreams and define them as goals. I have recently been reading some articles on goal-setting and I would love to share my newly gained knowledge with you, and to show you my personal experience.
First, let’s talk about dreams.
When people ask me ‘Where do you see yourself in a year, or 5 years, or 10?’, I never know how to answer that question. But with just two months left until my 22-nd birthday, I suppose it is high time that I decided, right? My life feels empty and pointless, and this is the most sure way to depression and brings me really bad vibes. I realized that I have some real serious thinking to do. Where am I going? Which are the three most important things that I want to achieve?
I want to be independent, both physically, financially and mentally. I hate to rely on people because it impedes my success and sometimes makes them feel distanced. I want to be a strong, independent woman who owns her time, her emotions, her life; a woman who does not need a person in order to feel complete or certain, or existing.
I want to be successful, both in my personal and professional life. Mediocrity drives me crazy, and I feel bad when I see myself not acting good or professional, when I notice that I am not doing as well as I can. Sometimes, as time passes, I look back and realize how many things I could have done and how much further I could have gotten. I realize how behind my abilities I am.
I want to achieve success with my brand Illie. It all started as a joke, without the intention of being a real thing. And as it usually happens, the more of myself I invested, the more important it became to me to make it work. Illie is an online shop for unique poetry-based products and I wish to see it expand and be the first brand that comes to mind when talking about personalized & personal gifts. Currently, we only operate in my home country and there are many details to be considered and fixed until we become a professional brand. I believe in the potential of my idea and I want… I need! to make it work.
Now, let’s see how this ‘goal-setting’ thing works.
I’ve come across the method SMART goals that is supposed to help me get motivated and accomplish my objectives. SMART stands for:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Looking at this description, I can frankly say that my goals have never ever been defined like that. If you look back at my Top 3 dreams, well, they obviously will be broken down to many small goals that can be specified, measured and achieved. I will only try to set one goal or two goals now, to get the experience of using this method and see if it will work for me.
Goal: Be financially independent
Specific: what do I want to accomplish? Why is it so important? Who is involved? Which resources or limits are involved?
I’ve never hidden that I am a little bit of materialistic girl. Relationships with people matter to me most, of course, but I like expensive and chic things. To this moment, I have never had a real paid job, which I do not feel proud of. I have been volunteering a lot. In the previous two years at university, I have given private tutoring to schoolmates on Finance and Accounting Management (because I excelled in the exams and got 9.7 and 9.8 out of 10), and it felt so amazing to know that I was gaining my own money.
Relying on my parents for anything is what I want to change. I want to be financially independent, which means that I cover my own expenses for day-to-day life, rent, etc. Or at least, while I am still at university, be able to partially contribute.
It is important because I do not want to be reliant and I think that my parents do not owe me anything and they do not have to pay for my needs and wants. Their achievements are not mine. I want to work hard and see the results from the invested efforts.
Measurable: how much? How will I know it is accomplished?
In the long-term, I look at being fully independent. In the short-term or until I am still studying, it means gaining the ability to cover at least half of my monthly personal expenses or more.
Achievable: how can I accomplish this goal?
Here we go, this is the most difficult part, right? It seems pretty easy: get a job. However, I need to decide which kind of job will suit my abilities and schedules, and if it can be more than just a source of cash. I look for experience that can be useful in the long term, too. In the meantime, I want to be able to dedicate enough time and resources to my own project, Illie.
Relevant: does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Am I the right person to reach this goal?
Time-bound: when? What can I do six months from now? What can I do six weeks from now? What can I do today?
During my exchange in Spain (where I am currently located and will be until the end of the year), I have missed two good opportunities and regret my wrong decisions made because of being an emotional mess. This is the greatest mistake which I always do: let my emotions win and drag me down instead of trying to cope with them, put them into boxes and fly back to the high.
My main goal will be getting a job when I go back to the Netherlands, middle or end of January 2017. I do have some studies that I need to fix but each day has straight 24 hours and I believe that I will be able to divide my time accordingly between a job, the university and Illie.
What can I do today? Explore my talents and decide which ones are worth the investment. Get additional skills. Be more serious about learning Spanish. Start looking at opportunities. Talk to people. Get interviews. Being active and proactive.
Honestly, this is the very first time I set a goal and I believe I will need to dig deeper, get a plan and start working on it. I’ve always been messy and impulsive – and this is my charm, but sometimes things just don’t work out without getting them planned and defined. A very useful (or at least this is how it sounds) advice that I found is: track your achievements. In this case, it will be: did I decide on my skills? Did I manage to get new abilities? Did I find appropriate offerings and did I apply for them? Did I get interviews, and if not, why not?! Am I moving in the right direction?
Goal-setting seemed so easy, didn’t it? My simple motivation, though, is the fact that I am not standing where I want to be. And I need to do something for it.
And you? Where are you going?