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Golden Rules of Goal Setting

Where would you like to be this time next year?

This is a question we tend to ask ourselves at the beginning of the year. In January, many often choose to follow the age-old tradition of making resolutions and pledge to commit to them. But now it’s the end of March and truth be told it feels as if the majority of people have not seen their goals turn into a reality. It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health and what feels like never-ending uncertainty has made many think that their hopes and dreams could not be achieved. 

That is not true at all.  Indeed, we often set expectations of what we would like to achieve in the future and it’s a common belief that when we set these goals we must instantly achieve them. I have found for myself that setting smaller, daily goals have made me feel more productive. 

If you want to succeed you need to first set goals. Without first setting goals, you can lack a focus and direction; it also provides you with a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. You’re more likely to hit all the necessary stepping stones and achieve your dreams by setting smaller goals to help you get there. Whether you’re thinking about what you want out of a future career or those “adult” milestones, you need to focus on what’s right in front of you. A goal does not only mean fulfilling a task that will entirely change the trajectory of your life. A small goal could simply be drinking more water than the day before. 

To accomplish these goals, you need to know how to set them. An “I want” mentality won’t get you anywhere. Goal setting is a careful process that may seem daunting at first but if you start small and focus on what you want to achieve you will get there. 

Here are a few simple steps to set goals and achieve more, fast: 


1. Make the choice that you can do it. 

We are surrounded by so many comments and other people’s opinions about anything and everything. At the end of the day, the only opinion that really matters is the one that you hold about yourself. The first step in working to achieve your goals — big or small — is deciding that you can do whatever it is you hope to attain. 


2. Make a plan. 

A plan for how you will make your goals come true has to be in place. Set goals and write them down and map out the steps you will take to achieve them.     


3. Avoid any exceptions. 

Sometimes things get hard, but don’t make exceptions. You don’t want to give yourself any reasons or excuses to not do something. Maybe a certain goal will not be achieved at a certain time or in a certain place, but regardless, don’t stop. Follow through with your plan. 


4. Hold yourself accountable, but reward yourself too. 

Keep track of your efforts, progress, and moments when you may have fallen short. Whether it be in a journal or the notes app on your phone, it is important to be able to look back and see not only areas you need to improve in but where you’ve been successful as well. 


Despite the obstacles that may come your way it is always important to remember that even the smallest of steps are still steps forward. 

We are living through unprecedented times and it is more than okay to struggle. So many people around you love and support you. If all you did today was get out of bed, that is okay, and more than enough. 

Start small. I promise you will get there.


Miranda is a junior at Elon University pursuing her B.A. in Journalism and Communication Design with a minor in Dance. She is the Lifestyle Editor at Elon News Network. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys shopping, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
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