Now, I’m all for preaching ‘don’t focus your life on goals, goal-setting is destructive, we all need to focus on the present more for our own well-beings’ sake’ – but I don’t think there’s any harm in having a gentle direction for where you want to go. As we reach the end of January, I’m sure we’re all thinking about where we hope 2020 could take us and wondering what the year will have in store – we’re only human. But I think it’s worth reframing the way that we set goals to make them healthier: more achievable and less likely to crush us if we don’t hit those targets. They should be a gentle nudge in the direction your heart desires to go, not a ticking time bomb that will detonate your happiness and confidence if the target isn’t met. So, today I thought I’d chat my 2020 ‘goals’ and reframe them into something that’s healthy for my 2020 mind-set.
What I’d usually call this goal: I’ve got to start going to the gym three times a week immediately – and if I don’t perfectly keep this up, I’ve failed, and I may as well just quit trying.
What 2020-me is calling it: Make a conscious effort to look after myself – and understand I’m human and can only do so much.
I’m a very all-or-nothing person. I either go the whole hog at something, or I don’t bother at all. This is especially unhelpful when I’m tackling something I’m not very good at. If I don’t naturally pick something up and I struggle to stay on track, I slip up and quit trying. Having an all-or-nothing, punishing goal would make the best of us quit trying, because who wants to do something if they feel like the fun’s been sucked out of it?! Instead, I really am trying to push myself to hit the gym three times a week, because I know I need an extra little bit of pushing for exercise (because I do nooot enjoy that thing) but I also remember to listen to my body when I’m tired and can’t make it that third time. It’s okay to slip up sometimes and it’s okay to get back on track – 2020 me is trying to realise that.
What I’d usually call this goal: I’m going to work on my well-being this year and put myself first in every situation. If I haven’t cured my anxious brain by December, it basically means I haven’t tried hard enough to become a more carefree, stress-less person.
What 2020-me is calling it: I’m going to realise what will really help me mentally this year and do more of the stuff that works for me. I’m also going to stop blaming myself for my brain; my brain should not be blamed for just bein’ itself.
One thing I’m realising now is that if your brain is acting up and making you feel not 100% mentally, it’s usually because it’s overloaded with information and stressed out to the max. Therefore, I’m trying to listen to when my brain isn’t feeling 100% and take a step back from what I can when that happens. Reading to get myself out of my own thoughts, taking an evening in instead of an evening out, getting an early night… Whatever I think may work, I’m trying it. I’m looking after my thoughts this year – and I’m realising that if you’re having a bad time, you’ve just got to ride it out. It ain’t ya fault, your brain has a mind of its own sometimes (quite literally) and it just has to catch up with you.
What I’d usually call this goal: I need to stop buying clothes, full-stop. Stop giving in to temptation. I’m just weak.
What 2020-me is calling it: I’m going to buy less clothes, because it’s very bad for the environment. I’m going to stop shopping online – and only buy something if I really need it. (And again, if I slip up sometimes, it’s okay, because I’m only human).
I’m really conscious now of the effect the fashion industry has on the planet. I really want to champion re-working what’s in our current wardrobes rather than spending out on something new. To get through university, compulsive spending on clothes really became an outlet for me, as I know it did for many of my peers. Buying a new outfit for that night out, that awards evening, that society event… But now, I’m really trying. I can count on one hand the clothing I’ve bought since I moved to Bristol, and those pieces were only bought because I had gift cards to use up, or because I slipped and got caught up in the Black Friday sale ploys. On the whole, I’ve been doing good. And I’m going to keep trying.
What I’d usually call this goal: I need to do things that’ll make my loved ones proud, career-wise. There’s a million-and-one things I want to try to achieve – and they’ve got to be achieved by December, pronto.
What 2020-me is calling it: Choose projects wisely – and don’t be afraid of going for something, even if it feels really scary. And don’t set impossibly high standards for your work, because you’re doing okay and okay is enough.
I’m a little cray when it comes to work goals. I have too many – too many that are unrealistic. I want to get into journalism, which is hard enough as it is being from a working class background with few contacts and no family in the capital. I’d love to write a book one day, which I very highly doubt will ever happen due to how difficult setting such a task for yourself is. I want to continue to build on this blog, build on my freelance work and apparently become a robotic work-machine because God knows how I’ll complete all these goals otherwise. And that’s before we even mention the desperate fear that grips me whenever I try and do something I dream of doing – I never feel I’m good enough, and stop myself doing so many things because I’m scared I’m not enough. As you can tell, this is a goal I’m working on being kinder to myself about, but I’m hoping as the year goes on I’ll learn more about how to do this.
What I’d usually call this goal: I’ve got to put myself first more this year and do things I know will make me feel fulfilled and happy as Larry.
What 2020-me is calling it: You know what? This one’s a pretty sound one.
My surname may as well be People-Pleaser, because I really struggle to put myself first in many situations. I think too much about other people, about trying to help and care for others, and often put my own wishes on hold. But I’m learning to do things for myself now, and that it doesn’t make me selfish if I do. Pretty basic human stuff here, but we’re still learning!
I hope you’ve set some kinder goals for yourself this year – or that this post might help you reframe the way you think about the ones you’ve set. What do you want to achieve this year? Having some accomplishment desires laid out in front of you ain’t no bad thing, just remember to smile if you’ve not quite smashed every single dream in 2020. Ya got a few more years to go, dontcha worry!