GOALS: How to ditch the hashtag and actually accomplish something

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What better time to explain how to properly set goals than when I’m feeling completely behind on my own? Sometimes it’s impossible to plan life out properly because the universe already made plans for you, and just when you were ready to hunker down and get to work, it swoops in like an overbearing parent who took the liberty of scheduling you for too many after school programs because it’s afraid that if you’re not enrolled in Chess Club, you might start smoking hash.

I just had the craziest 30 days of my life that involved voluntarily walking away from the notion of stable income, the death of my best friend/cat of 16 years, and an unexpected romantic getaway that’s given me faith in places that there was no faith before.  I have been booked up from morning till night LIVING in a Peewee’s Big Adventure-style way, and you are all invited to the drive-in screening of my future feature film. 

It’s been a lawless month full of throwing caution to the wind and being extremely lazy about updating my Instagram account, but here I am wide awake at 11:23pm ready to strap my seatbelt back on, and drive my productivity car a little closer to achieving my goals. GOALS! Goals that include creating the worlds coolest clothing line, making enough money to stop living my life in a constant state of panic, and having a chill time along the way. Gee it’s a good thing I already planned all my goals out so I can wake up tomorrow morning and get cracking, RIGHT?

I used to think setting goals was just making a decision and then doing the damn thing, but it turns out there’s a bit more involved when it comes to accomplishing your dreams. In fact, even the simplest goals often contain a series of steps to get you there. A plan. Hey, I wouldn’t be eating vegan nacho-flavor chips in bed right now if I hadn’t put on some pants earlier and walked myself to the corner store– two important steps in my plan toward ultimately becoming a highly effective slob.

If you’re finding yourself on the low end of productivity (IE a highly INEFFECTIVE slob, which can also be translated as spending time in bed with no chips), read on to learn how to set real proper goals that will keep you busy and ensure no matter how interesting your today is, your tomorrow is gonna rule!

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Set your big goal: 

Seriously, dream big. Go hard. What’s something crazy you want to one day be able to say “yep! I did that!”? If being able to show up at your high school reunion and declare that you started a digital magazine about non-digital media, swam the entirety of Venice documenting it on a waterproof disposable camera, or invented a way more widely used alternative to Post-It’s, then that’s exactly what you should be writing down. Be as detailed as possible. “Travel” isn’t specific enough and “Get super famous” leaves too much to the imagination. You could become famous for inventing the world’s first edible Tide Pods, and then you’ll probably get to travel to a variety of high profile laundromats and middle schools as a bonus— just a thought. 

 

Create your filling: 

Now that you’ve determined what your big goal IS, you’ll need to brainstorm all the little steps you’ll have to take to get you there. Let’s use my actual goals as an example: If I want to start the world’s coolest clothing line, I’ll need to actually design some cool clothes, create professional patterns of them, have samples made, and find a production house. I’ll also need to purchase a domain, design a website, and shoot the images that will help sell my products. How about designing my logo so I can get labels made, and creating an ad campaign with a photo or video shoot that sets the tone of my collection? Starting a clothing line as a whole sounds intimidating, but most of the small steps I listed sound fun and do-able. Free-write every step you can think of that you’ll have to take in order to get closer to making your goal a reality. 

 

Put the steps in order:

You’ve gotta start somewhere. Look at what you’ve written down. What’s the first step you can take toward your goal this week? Tomorrow? Right now?! Look at your steps and put them in order. Writing a book? You’ll have to come up with a plot before you start looking for publishers. Running a marathon? You should probably begin by training. Trying to beat the world record for longest hot dog ever produced? First you’re gonna need a looooot of relish. (The leading record is 669 ft FYI). 

 

Assemble a timeline:

For years now I’ve been sitting on my goal of attending Burger Boogaloo in Oakland- the music festival hosted by none other than John Waters! Every year I say “I’m gonna go to that one day...” and yet, every year it passes me by. All I need to do is save up about $800, buy a plane ticket, buy my festival tickets, find a cheap air bnb, get a friend to watch my cats, and then jettison off for an early July adventure of organic foods and mild weather! If I know what I need to do, then why aren’t I doing it? 

My problem is this: I never bothered to make a timeline. If I set dates to all my steps, maybe 30 days ago I’d be dancing to The Damned in middle of the woods in California. If you don’t set a timeline to complete your goal, you may never make it to where you want to be. If I have 10 months until the next Boogaloo, they means I’ll need to put away about $80 per month to have the amount I’ll need to book my tickets and have some cold hard cash in my pocket during the actual trip. How many months are you away from your goal? How many of your tasks can you lay out daily, weekly, and monthly so you can stay underwhelmed and on track? 

 

Make a list:

Now it’s time to set the steps in stone, and what I really mean is, put them into your calendar. A big To Do list fastened to the fridge will also work wonders. Lay out your steps and the corresponding dates. If you have one step to get through per month, pick a date such as the 15th or the 30th for your recurring deadline. And don’t be afraid to give yourself extra time— I did say the universe has a way of turning your carefully crafted plans upside down didn’t I? Give yourself time to stop and smell the hypothetical flowers along the way, and hell, stop and smell some real ones while you’re at it. 

Now that you’re primed for greatness, what are you planning to accomplish? Please tell me all about it on good ole Instagram

Stella Rose Saint Clair