Tuesday, January 30, 2018

OOTD: Setting Goals After School

Photos by Cassidy Hopkins

As long as I can remember, I've loved my to do list and planner.

It all started with those school-supplied agendas we got in elementary school. Ours always had messages about productivity to inspire us 10-year-olds to make sure we were getting as much done as possible, which, looking back, was a little weird.

I've spent years developing my personal organization system (you can skip down to the bottom if you're just here for the organization tips). I've experimented with all-paper systems (one of which required me to carry around 3 notebooks at all times) all-digital systems, and a mix of both.

As long as I've spent working on this system, I've always worked within the confines of the schedule assigned to me by my school. The benefit of being in school was that my life had built-in structures for my time. I had due dates for assignments and applications, and I always new what my next 5 steps looked like. Next quarter, I had to make sure to take the next stats section, and I needed to apply for internships by the end of the quarter.

Life post-grad is a completely different story. Sure, I receive due dates at work and I'm supposed to go to the dentist once a year, but my life is largely up to me to structure.

It's so easy to lean into this freedom, a freedom I have for the first time in 22 years. It's so easy to address problems only when they come up — to only go to the doctor when there's something wrong, only evaluate my career path when I need a new job, only think about my financial future when my bank account is running on empty.

Going with the flow and addressing problems as they come up is not by any means a wrong or bad way to live life. It simply isn't the way I choose to live. One of the most important things I realized in my 22nd year was that I have control over a number of things in my life. Making attainable long-term goals is an important way for me to exercise control over my own life.

This year, I'm experimenting with a system of setting measurable goals and less-quantifiable intentions, both short-term and long-term. I've broken my goals and intentions into 4 sections: yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly/daily.

Before I describe how I utilize this system, I want to explain what I mean when I say "goals" and "intentions," because I am not using these words interchangeably. Good goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. As one of my professors once put it, good goals are SMART. I like to use the word "intentions" when talking about the kind of person I want to be and the kind of daily habits I want to form. "Be healthier" is an intention, then, while "run a marathon" is a goal.

The first list I started on was my yearly list. I talk about my intentions continuously with my social support system and in therapy. This year, I want to work on not shying away from necessary confrontation and finding enjoyment in things without having to be good at them.

Going into this year, I had a couple goals for my future that I think I could realistically achieve this year. Among them are moving ahead in my career, visiting a couple friends, and setting up a health network for myself in New York.

From here, I can break down my goals into bite-size pieces to achieve throughout the year. My quarterly goals to help me on my way to moving ahead at work are to introduce a new kind of content to my platform and analyze our top-performing videos. One of my monthly goals for the month of January was to schedule appointments with a dentist and a dermatologist.

I break these goals down even further in my daily/weekly to do list. Last week, I knew I'd have some free time on Friday, so I gave myself the task of putting together a presentation outlining the kind of content I'm proposing for the reference of my team.

I'm hoping that instituting this system will help me get organized enough to be able to accomplish what I want to do in life. I'm finding it hard to set goals for myself when others aren't setting goals for me (take these classes, find a job, complete this assignment, etc). I'm nervous, but I'm also excited to spend this year and the rest of my life figuring out what I want to do and figuring out how to do it.

This top was provided by Top Tier Style

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