For the past two years I have had the same New Year’s resolution: Each Month Do Three Things that Scare You. I’m not strict on these goals either, they can be as small as ordering a pizza over the phone or as big as signing up to give a presentation in front of 100 people. I won’t lie to you–sometimes these tasks are hard. They take you out of your comfort zone and rip away your safety net. But that’s where the magic is made and how this ongoing resolution continues to change my life, and hopefully inspires you to change yours.
So, in the spirit of Women’s History Month and female empowerment, I dare you to make your own monthly challenge that focuses on bettering yourself. It can be academically, physically, emotionally, mentally, anything that you think will make you better at the end of the month. To get you started, I’ll share how to make attainable goals each month and how these goals can translate into long-term goal setting to set you up for success in life.
The best way to reach your goals and inspire yourself to keep going is to make sure your first goals are attainable. Maybe you know that one of your future goals will be to finally share a piece of art you’ve made in front of a crowd or go skydiving. You don’t have to complete the “big ones” right out of the gates. To start, go out to eat by yourself or give a presentation in class. By starting slow and utilizing tasks already on your to-do list, you can start to realize you’re capable of doing more than you thought and work up to some of these scarier goals.
I have a sticky note wall in my room that I keep track of each month’s goals on. Not only does it hold me accountable for goals that I’ve planned and haven’t completed, but gives me a daily reminder that I can do hard things (thanks Glennon Doyle’s Untamed). So find a way that works for you to plan out tasks you want to accomplish and write done ones you’ve finished, whether that be notes in your phone or scribbles on your whiteboard. The process of writing the goals down and having them in a place you can see everyday will make you more likely to achieve them! One tip I have is to share them with your friends. Oftentimes, they will remind you of goals you want to reach and then be your biggest cheerleader once you’ve done them. It’s a win-win!
Think Outside the Box
Your monthly goals can be anything you want them to be, and I mean anything. For example, I plan out everything in my life to a T (anyone else have hourly planners or just me?). One of my goals last year was to spend a day spontaneously. For me, it was equally terrifying and liberating not knowing exactly how my day would go. So if you’re scared of taking a day for yourself, because you think you might fall behind, do it! This can absolutely count as something that scares you, so take the time to sit with it and start to learn a bit about yourself.
Be Kind to Yourself
I wanted this yearly resolution to be strictly three goals a month, but sometimes life gets a little crazy and it’s not doable. That’s ok. Show yourself some grace in this process, whether that be only doing one goal a month or doing a goal halfway, either way there’s progress being made and that’s what matters. Also, celebrate your accomplishments! Doing things that scare you is hard, so whenever you complete a goal give yourself a pat on the back and take a moment to say “I did that.”
Long-Term Goal Setting for Success
This framework for goal setting can be used in a variety of facets, especially in your professional life, other long periods of time. You want to get a promotion in two years? Set some extended goals to get yourself there step-by-step. You want to be on the Dean’s List this semester? Plan out goals at the beginning of the semester for getting A’s and then crush those exams. As long as you stay focused and determined, you can achieve any goal you set for yourself in any aspect of your life. So don’t be afraid to write down something you want that may seem out of reach. Step by step, goal by goal, you’ll get to the finish line with a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
So TWN, you ready to step out of your comfort zone and take the challenge? You never know what you can accomplish until you put yourself to the test.