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Be Kind to Yourself When Setting Goals

Photo by Sam Mgrdichian on Unsplash

Be nice, and be realistic.

It’s really easy to throw yourself in the January avalanche of posts where writers tell readers about all of their lofty goals for the coming year.

There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of goals.

If anything, it’s great to have short term and long term goals for a lot of things like a career, trying to be healthier, and reaching a certain income through your work.

But the thing is, setting goals isn’t supposed to be easy, and it isn’t supposed to be this crazy punishment either.

I used to fill lists and lists and lists and lists of goals that were crazy and that I told myself had to be completed by the end of the year. Some of them were impossible to complete for over a year. And the rest were too many to even focus on at once. I would drown in disappointment before March and give up on every single thing on that list.

And that’s not way to start a year, especially since I’m a freelancer and my discipline and motivation help me get as many bylines as I can. And if I don’t do that, I don’t get paid. And if I don’t get paid, I don’t move out of my parents’ house like I had initially promised myself at the end of 2017.

So this year, I’m going to be nice to myself. I’m going to take into account that I was sick for a lot of 2017 and that despite that, I was still published in several publications that I admired. I still managed to snag a freelance audio production job, and I was still offered a paid internship at WNYC.

So this year, I’ll be more realistic.

I won’t brow beat myself if I get sick or if I can’t meet all my deadlines. I’ll make sure to plan ahead and make time to rest and take care of myself. And I’ll do my best to get close to goals that I know I can’t achieve right away. And I won’t kill myself over not knowing all the latest software or if I forget some basic coding that I learned during graduate school.

And even if any obstacle comes up, that doesn’t mean I should stop pitching ideas to editors, or YouTube-ing videos about audio software, or applying for positions that look interesting. If anything goes wrong, I can just look at it as a potential lesson. And then I can write a post here on Medium once I reflect on how that situation could have turned out differently.

So in 2018. I’m going to be realistic.

There’s nothing wrong with messing up or slowing down because I’m sick. What matters is that in between being sick, I can get up and do my best. I can write online posts, and find freelance positions that I can do from home during difficult weeks.

It’s not going to be easy, but I know I can make more progress this year.

And if 2017 was tough, try and make 2018 work for you. Don’t beat yourself up too much over things you can’t control. But don’t let that stop you from trying. But most of all, don’t stop creating.

Even if all you can do is finish one project on your own…that’s still something that you took the time to make. You’re on the right path. So keep going.

Share this with anyone who needs that boost of motivation for 2018.

Read more about why you should attend more events here.

Good luck!