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Wellness > Mental Health

Creating Sustainable, Long Lasting Goals

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Whenever we decide to change our lives, we start the same way—we set goals for ourselves. 

Spring is back, which means we readopt our “New Year, New Me” mindset from January. This mindset usually returns because we haven’t made the exponential progress we foresaw for ourselves earlier. But how do we make it stick this time?

First, you need to establish what you have decided for yourself. What are your main areas of focus? Whether it’s your academics that need more attention or your own well-being that’s the priority, choose whatever best fits your journey. 

This is where we begin creating sustainable goals, not the ones that we burn ourselves out on. Although there’s beauty in dreaming big and we should never stop doing that, I am a strong advocate for realistic goals. When all we have are big dreams that we can’t accomplish right now, we start to feel like we aren’t enough which simply isn’t true. We need smaller goals to take us to our final destination. 

So what can you work on week to week? Create a goal for this month. Decide that you will be more present and less checked out or that you will practice gratitude every day. Decide to check in with yourself every week about how your academic habits are going, and what you can do better the following week. Are you trying to achieve your dream “summer body”? Acknowledge that if this means making big changes doing it this quickly may be doing more harm than good. 

You don’t have to accomplish everything all at once. Becoming the “better you” takes time and conscious effort. It’s hard to be patient with it because we should be able to control ourselves, but we are human. We cannot always change overnight, but we can work on changing our mindset. We can actively rewire our habits. But to do that, we need to hold ourselves accountable, which is what short-term goals are for. 

Sustainable goals aren’t the ones we are always bragging about. But they are the things that people will notice over time. They create the changes we want for ourselves that have us looking back and recognizing how far we’ve come. 

Regardless, do what works for you. If you need to write down your goals and look at them every day as a reminder, do it. If you want to create a vision board to picture the version of yourself you are creating, go for it. 

The truth is, you can’t keep waiting for these versions of yourself to just appear. You won’t magically change, and that’s a beautiful thing. If you want to be a certain version of yourself, remember that that version still started as you. They didn’t spawn fresh on earth fully-fledged and perfect, it’s coming from you. 

So, create a few goals for this week, or this month, and actively focus on them as your day goes on. If you make realistic goals for yourself, usually towards the short term, then you can accomplish so much. You’re encouraging rather than discouraging yourself because you can say that you did achieve some of your goals in the end. 

Don’t burn yourself out trying to build a whole new identity in a day. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else, so give yourself time. Build habits that will bring you closer to your goal every day and start small. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a new you can’t be built in a day either. 

Hi! My name is Astrea Schweikl and I’m a second year Communications major here at UCD!