That Nasty Four Letter Word

You guys! I am so excited! This is what my blog is all about. Not everyone knows that one of the main reasons for starting The Confidently Speaking blog was so that so many of you could be a part of it. This is a platform where you can share your thoughts and experiences alongside mine. Whether it is a favorite recipe or a huge curveball from life you’re trying to adjust to. I think it all ties back to the confidence we have to find within us.

Confidence comes in all ways and we all experience it differently. I want to be able to share them all.

So this is the first post where it’s not my words. So I’m going to keep my intro simple. This amazing girl stepped into my life through fate and blessings. Meeting her was the outcome of a choice I made that I didn’t really expect. She’s getting thrown one of those curveballs, and is handling it like a champ! We were talking the other day about where she is going next with such a fresh start at hand. Here are her thoughts on making goals and what they can really do for us.

Goal. That nasty four letter word that comes up when someone wants you to work harder, to achieve more. That word that means that it’s probably January, or for teachers and students, August. We all are constantly told that goals are important to help us become better. But why is that? What is the purpose of writing down a dream that you want to happen? I have a dream of losing 10 pounds. So why all of a sudden when I write that down and call it a goal do I get praised? I think that goals really do help us- but my perspective on goals has been flipped upside down recently.

I am currently going through a divorce. It’s the same story I have now heard dozens of times the last three months- the husband runs around with other women, the wife cries and tells him to stop, he says he will, the husband runs around with other women… repeat. And now my life is completely different than I ever, ever imagined it would be. And for awhile I was crushed. But then I learned something that I have heard in cheesy self-help books and teenaged-focused pop songs for decades; I learned to follow my heart. I learned that happiness is not found in having the life you always dreamed, but in becoming the person you want to be. And what brings about that person? Goals.

I want to argue that it is not simply achieving the goal that makes us into the people we want to become. The very act of writing down a goal teaches us something about ourselves. For example, I want to go to grad school in London. That’s a goal. But the real value in setting that goal is lost if we do not ask ourselves the next question: why? Why do I want this goal? What does it tell me about myself? Setting a goal means that our heart yearns for something. And that can tell us a lot about who we are. Why do I want to go to grad school in London? Because London is rad. Because I love traveling and new cultures. Because I want to go to one of the oldest universities in the world. Because I want to feel like Harry Potter in the amazing libraries they have there. Because I love adventure. Because I value education and I want to keep learning because I love history and I want to ask questions that no one ever has before, and find answers that will teach others more about this beautiful world we live in. See? In writing down just one goal and asking “why” I find out much more about myself. Now imagine ten goals, or twenty, I could really start to understand my present self by examining who I want my future self to be.

One thing to be wary of is the mediocre goal: a goal that we write down just because we know we can obtain it easily and we want to have a goal. But in order to really let our goals teach us about ourselves, we have to be completely honest in our goals. Playing small does not benefit anyone. Never settle for less. If your heart says it wants to someday create a song that hits the top ten chart on iTunes, write that goal down! If you really want it, if your heart yearns and your body is willing to put in all the work to make it come true, writing down that goal will teach you something about yourself that you need to know in order to achieve the goal.

The one-liner to take away from all of this rambling is this: goals help us become the people we want to be because they teach us more about who we are. And goals should be a lot less about checking a box, and a lot more about becoming our best selves.

This advice has been eye-opening for me and the goals I have set for myself recently. I’m not one to always stick to my goals. But being able to step back and reflect on who I am wanting to become through those goals have changed everything. My goals have needed to be changed, but also my outlook and motivation have changed. It’s not just a to-do list to check off every day, week, or month anymore. It’s deciding who I’m going to be and how I’m going to get there, getting to know myself and what really motivates me to be a better me.

Take time today to write down a few goals you have for yourself, but then step back and look at the drive behind them. What can you learn about yourself as you really reflect on the good intentions?

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