SELF’s Plan for Lasting Change
Caroline just gave us some great advice on goal setting. Here is another way to think about surmounting personal challenges that might also be helpful!
Last year, before leaving to go study abroad in Scotland at St. Andrews University (Yes, that magical place where that really famous couple met – me & my boyfriend. Just kidding. Prince William and Kate Middleton might have us beat in the fame department!), I was scared about the unknown and feeling overwhelmed. For encouragement, I opened up a book by SELF magazine called 15 Minutes to Your Best Self. The title probably appealed to the persistent perfectionist in me (who doesn’t want to be their best self?! — but maybe my best self doesn’t need to be perfect — hmmm there’s a novel thought!), but I’m a sucker for SELF (and it was in the bargain section and therefore irresistible).
I flipped to a section called “Living Your Dream Life.” (It sounds sorta cheesy, I know, but stick with me here!) According to the editors at SELF, I can “effect a lasting change” that will transform my life in 15 minutes by doing some goal-setting.
The section lays out a couple of statements for you to complete, depending on your goal.
- “I want to change my life by ______________________________________. (insert short-term goal here)
- In five years, as a result of my efforts, I would love to ___________________. (insert long-term goals here)
- To get myself ready, I need to __________, __________, and ___________. (insert three things you can do right now to get closer to your goal)
- Knowing me, ____________, _____________, and ________________ (be brutally honest about three possible pitfalls here) will get in my way, so I have to be prepared to _________________, ________________, and _________________________. (list three ways you’ll avoid said pitfalls)
- To truly change, I need to make different choices every day, such as being sure to ________________, _____________, and ______________________. (list three doable strategies for sticking to your goal)
- Fortunately, I plan to reward myself by __________________, ________________, and _________________. (whatever revs your engine!)”
I found even reading this section empowering. So often our goals and the obstacles that separate us from them are scary because we don’t break down the individual steps we need to take to be successful and don’t balance our thoughts about how much we want something with what might be the most challenging parts for us and our own limitations. Acknowledging the challenges ahead and making a plan for rewarding ourselves for the little steps we make along the way can be key to staying motivated!