Making Goals (And Reaching Them…)

What do you want to be when you grow up?   

Kids get asked this question all of the time, from teachers, parents, and even strangers in the grocery store.  Some kids have big goals, like being an astronaut, or inventor, or doctor. Many of them actually accomplish those goals.  Some kids just can’t decide: one day they want to be professional ice skaters (even though they have never been on skates) and the next day they want to be a museum statue or a clown. Others have big, serious goals. They want to be the doctors, lawyers, and astronauts of the future – and many go on to be those things – maybe you are one of them.  

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Of course, if you ask a high school senior what they want to be when they “grow up”, the answers become a bit more concrete.  Now they have the experience and expertise to say “I want to be a doctor” or “I want to design websites”.  Those dreams they may have had as younger children have now turned into goals for their lives.  

As adults, our goals aren’t as clearly spoken. Sure we have dreams for ourselves – go on vacation, buy a lake house, finally pay off the student loans – but are they really our goals or just some allusive dreams for the future. 

Quite awhile back, I was asked to put together my professional and personal goals, short- and long-term.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d never been good at making or keeping goals, and honestly, going into the assignment I couldn’t think of anything big.   

But I had to think of something. 

So, for five days I wrestled with what my goals were.  I started with my professional life. Do I want to request a promotion or new job responsibilities in my professional life?  Do I want to stay with what I am currently responsible for and strive for efficiency?  

Creating Personal Goals

With my personal goals, I had to really think about where I see myself – not my family – over the course of the next few months and years.  That’s hard as I’m sure you spouses and parents out there understand, because it’s easy to get wrapped up in family activities, where the kids should be each day, and whether the house is clean, and forget that you aren’t simply wife, mother, house cleaner; you’re still you and have your own hopes and dreams for your future.  Sure, some of those goals/dreams will likely include your spouse, kids, house, etc., but the key is to realize that those things are a part of you, not your entire identity. 

Your Goals

So who are you and what are your goals? 

Perhaps you want to have a better budget, save for a vacation, car, house, or something else. Or maybe your goal is simply to keep the kid alive until she or he graduates from high school. Maybe you want to lose some weight or exercise more, get a new job, spend time on your hobbies, make more effort for your friends or spouse, or go to church regularly. 

Perhaps for you, it’s not a goal you need to add to your life, but maybe something you need to say no to, or a choice to limit the commitments you make. Perhaps you need to stay away from alcohol or chocolate or video games.  

Whatever your goals are (or aren’t), I highly recommend sitting down by yourself, with your spouse, or both, and outlining what you plan to accomplish over the next month, year, decade.  Trust me, it seemed like an unnecessary waste of time when I started, but it turned into an incredibly rewarding experience.  

Since then, Justin and I have managed to come up with some big plans that will help us accomplish our goals, personally and together.  

I encourage you to talk to someone about your goals – share them with a friend, neighbor, spouse –  and decide what steps it will take to make them happen.  

By the way, when I grew up I wanted to be a writer. Still, do.   

My goal #1: write more.  

Have an awesome day!


Updated March 1, 2024