I’m gonna be honest with you, when I got this writing assignment, I wanted to skip it. I thought to myself that hey, I’ve seen similar articles before and I walked away from reading those feeling disheartened rather than inspired.
And I don’t want to do that to you. So here, a list of habits of people with clear life goals from a (hopefully) different perspective, from someone who is FINALLY clear on her life goals.
My aim for this article is to make you feel inspired to adapt these to make them work for you, your lifestyle, and your own goals.
Okay, enough rambling.
What are some habits of people with clear life goals?
1) They develop routines
Let’s face it, if you’re here, you have probably already seen a few other articles listing the habits of people with clear life goals.
If you’re still looking, chances are, not everything resonated with you from what you have read thus far.
I mean, same. As a night owl, the advice “Go to sleep early and get up early” never worked for me. But the advice is sound; routines work, they help a lot.
However, I realized that where I’m getting it wrong is that I’m following someone else’s routine.
What I should have been doing was developing my own.
(Segue: that was the same for setting goals, I tried following the goals set by society for people my age and it pushed my growth back for years. Anyway…)
Why following routines haven’t worked for you so far:
- It doesn’t fit your lifestyle
- It doesn’t make sense with your circumstance
- You’re following someone else’s routine
- The routine doesn’t align with your goals
Why you should develop routines:
- Keeps you on track even when you don’t have the motivation
- Develops self-discipline
- Stops you from overthinking a task
- Maximizes your productivity
- Optimizes time
A few questions to ask yourself when developing your routine:
- Will this free up time for me to accomplish other tasks for my goals?
(Example: if thinking of what to eat for the week is a stressor for you, maybe meal prepping on a certain day can help free up time)
- Will this help me accomplish my goals
(Example: 1 hour of writing daily to finish a novel)
- Does this make sense for my lifestyle [at this moment]?
(Example: having early bedtimes, eating only organic food, going zero waste)
- Can I swap out an activity that works better for me?
(Example: learning is an admirable endeavor; but if reading a book is difficult to fit into your schedule, maybe listening to its audiobook will work better.)
Developing a routine is a way to build structure for your day-to-day. It should help you and not stress you out. If starting small will help, try that.
For example, if 1 hour of writing daily is too much for you, try 10 minutes.
If the big goal is to eat healthily and you decide that you want to routinely eat organic food only but the cost prevents you, try substituting a few produce at a time.
Still on the topic of routines, there are definitely tasks that you need to do yourself; but another habit that goal-oriented people have is automating.
Work smarter, not harder, my friend.
2) They automate
Your goals, most probably, have a lot of moving parts. Your life also does and you’re only 1 person, it’s not efficient or even sustainable for very long for you to do everything.
So try to automate where possible. Lessening your mental load on menial tasks can help you focus more on your goal-related tasks—which is the same reason for developing routines.
a.) If one of your goals is to further your social media presence, you can create content in batches and automate your postings.
b.) If one of your goals is financial security, perhaps you can automatically deposit a portion of your income into your savings account.
Questions to ask yourself when considering what to automate:
- What tasks take up the most time?
- How much time does this task consume regularly?
- Is this a task I don’t mind doing?
- Is this realistic for me to automate this task?
- What are my options for automating this task?
3) They adapt
For all the talk about routine that I’ve been doing, I propose that adaptability is what one needs to learn the most to effectively reach goals.
Let me explain.
- Goals can change. As we grow as people, we might find that our previous needs and desires evolve.
It doesn’t invalidate our old goals, we just outgrow them sometimes. And that is okay.
- So many factors are out of our control. As much as we want to take charge and oversee everything, so many factors are just outside of our control.
End results are rarely exactly how we imagined.
- Opportunities come and go. We can never know what the first opportunity could bring, what doors it will open. On the flip side, we can’t know what doors will close.
In my many years as an events organizer, the biggest lesson I’ve ever taken with me is that Something Can Always Go Wrong. You win by being flexible, by adapting as best you can, however imperfect that may be.
It’s the same with goals. I can sit here and call it clear life goals but just because it’s clear now doesn’t mean it can’t change.
4) They take time for themselves
Your goals will always be there. As I said, they can change and you can adapt, but it’s something you will always work towards.
Once that one is done, you might get a new life goal. Honestly, it never ends. It’s always there. And as morbid as it is, you might not be if you don’t take time for yourself to rest and recuperate.
In my early 20s, I ran myself ragged to build the life I thought I wanted because society pressured me to reach X milestones by X time.
All that left me were frustrations and trips to the doctor that could’ve been prevented. The finish line kept moving and I didn’t take breaks to catch my breath.
I know better now and I’m no longer a fan of the hustle-and-grind culture.
And I’m extending that reflection to you.
Take time for yourself by:
- Resting on your rest days
- Using your paid time off
- Practicing self-care
- Celebrating your wins
Why is celebrating your wins on this list? I’m big on this, I think this is so important when working towards goals. Especially big ones.
Appreciate the work you’ve already put in. It’s so easy to get discouraged when it seems like the goal meter isn’t being filled.
Acknowledge your growth, not just the end result. Take the time to congratulate yourself for the work you’ve done thus far.
I like leaving little notes of encouragement at the end of these things because a lot of times, having lists like these do help as reference but it could still get overwhelming.
Inspiration, no matter how well-meaning, could get overwhelming and burdensome too. So just breathe and reassess; and remember that your journey is different.
All our journeys are.
And as much as we want to believe it, finding our paths are never linear. I, for one, took a few good years to even just define my goals and I’m still open to change should it happen.
Know this though, you are more capable than you think.
All the best!
This article was written by Michelle Marie Manese, who is a part-time creative writer, illustrator, and full-time fangirl hoping to find her way within the Content space. She makes art here: @michellemmanese.