Recently I’ve been obsessed with goals—setting goals and seeing myself complete them. It’s one of the greatest feelings to finish something you set out to do. When most people think of goals, they go straight to things like: finishing college, lose fifty pounds, or run a marathon. Sure, those goals are great; but they are way too big. And that’s okay to admit. Give yourself some time to develop skills and those goals will start to feel a little closer. In order to get closer, though, you need to set little goals…which—to me—have always just felt like an unnecessary hassle.
I’ve always been one to give myself insane goals. I never listen to people who warn that I might be taking on too much. Take me graduating early: I was halfway through junior year (which obviously meant I had to finish another half of junior year and all of senior year) when I decided to leave public school and transfer online. I wanted to graduate early, and that was going to take a lot of work. The school continued to tell me I wouldn’t be able to finish everything by the end of summer, so I should plan on coming back the next year for the first semester. That meant I’d be graduated only a couple months earlier than I would’ve without leaving public school. That wasn’t good enough for me. If I was going to graduate early, than I was going to graduate early. I ignored their warnings and decided to take on a year-and-a-half of school work in only 4 months. And guess what—I did it. My old classmates and teachers thought I was taking the easy route (they assumed online schooling was easier), and they thought I was going downhill fast. It wasn’t easy. It was the second hardest thing I’ve ever done. And if I would’ve known how much harder online schooling was—compared to in the classroom—I probably would’ve thought about it a little bit more.
My point is simple. If you have enough drive to push past the norm and do things your own way, while figuring them out as you go…then fine, do it. But know that you don’t always have to. Most things in life are more accessible by setting small goals and working your way towards that bigger goal. Completing small goals gives you that extra boost of motivation to continue forward.
Think of it this way: imagine you are climbing a mountain—where the obvious goal is getting to the top. You don’t head into the hike blind. You set checkpoints, and with every checkpoint comes the reward of knowing you’re that much closer (probably some food and water too). As you’re heading up the mountain there is also the gift of being able to stop for a second, turn around, and see just how beautiful things become the higher you climb. It’s the perfect motivation to get you to the top because you’re now hooked. If it’s this beautiful here, how beautiful will it be up there?
Make a list. Promise yourself you won’t eat Oreos for 24 hours; if you break that promise, restart. Take things one step at a time, and I swear you’ll be on top of that mountain soon enough with the right kind of effort. Beware, though, once you get to the top another mountain will grow, blocking your path once again. The journey never ends. And that’s beautiful.