By: Jada Bishop
Just the phrase alone, “setting goals” can be intimidating. Sometimes the things that we want can seem impossible when we focus on our current circumstances. When we look only at the ultimate end that we want to achieve, our dreams can seem unattainable. When setting goals, it’s helpful to relate progress to a baby’s journey from crawling to walking. A baby doesn’t just go from sitting day after day to walking at top speed. No, there are stages. First they will crawl, then pull up on a sturdy object to stand, and then they may take a step or two. Even when a baby falls down, they never give up until they’re walking steadily with a proud smile.
For instance, a person that goes from being relatively sedentary to desiring to walk a mile, may end up feeling discouraged if they automatically try to do so and fail. However, it would be wiser if they start with little goals, like starting with one lap, and gradually increasing distance over time. Likewise, an adult that wants to return to college may fair better by taking one or two classes to start with, and then they can gradually increase their workload over time.
When setting goals, it’s also wise to prepare both circumstantially and emotionally for unexpected hinderances or setbacks. There may be physical, economic, or other unexpected challenges to completing these stepping stones to our ultimate goal. When these interruptions occur, it’s best to take a moment to feel the disappointment, but not to wallow it. Making time to reset and adjust our plans can help us stay focused on the big picture of the main goal that we’ve strived to reach.
Yes, when we break our long-term goals into smaller goals, like a child, our self-confidence will grow with every step that we take, and reaching our goals will seem more possible. By following this process, we may even find ourselves enjoying the journey to our goals more along the way.