Creating goals when the new year still feels uncertain

Tabula rasa - a phrase I've learned from my favorite Gayle Forman book. It means clean slate. Starting over. Begin fresh. Leave everything behind as you move forward. The new year is a beautiful opportunity to do all of these, in addition to setting new goals for the year, creating vision boards and working on some long-term projects. But after everything we went through in 2020, is it still worth it? What are the odds that 2021 would not be different? What if it's tougher? What if I'd just go #NoGoals2021 again?

If you have goals then there's nothing you can't do. But first, coffee.

Why creating goals is important

Goals make me more determined, and they provide for this constant need to prove myself. This is the reason why despite my last year's mantra, I still started working on some projects. It doesn't matter if it's something I've done before, or something simple. I set goals because they bring me joy and self-fulfilment. They give me motivation and sense of purpose. They serve as a distraction from the pressure and the anxiety brought about by the things beyond my control. They give me something to look forward to. They make me happy.

How do you create goals?

I only ever use the smart strategy in my nine-to-five. Rules stress me out, and I prefer inventing my own strategy. Or maybe I use this too in my passion projects, but just subconsciously. It says the goal should be smart - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and there's a timeframe. Producing a new story for printing is quite specific - meaning I am just going to produce a new material that may or may not be published this year. I'd measure it by word count - so if I aim to write a 30,000-word story, I should be able to record my progress as I work my way through the given timeline. Is it attainable and realistic? Yes. I've done this before, so given that I don't procrastinate or spend more time in social media than I should, I'd be able to complete a story in three months (timeframe). 

Like I said, it doesn't matter if the goal is something you've done before, or something simple. Reading 12 books the entire year is an excellent goal. Binge-watching 25 Kdramas would be amazing. Getting over a heartbreak is a brave move. Aiming to drink 8 glasses of water everyday for 365 days is one big step towards a healthier you. There is no goal more important than the other, or maybe bigger than the other. As long as it brings you the reasons why you're doing it, it is something that you should be proud of. So write them down, determine your reasons for doing them, decide on how you'd measure your progress, see if they are achievable, and finally, give yourself a decent amount of time to work on them.

How do you achieve your goals?

I really have no idea on how to achieve goals except... actually working on them. Establishing routines helps big time. Allot a certain amount of time every day, just to work on these goals. It could be right after breakfast, or while you're enjoying your 5th cup of coffee for the day, or maybe before you hit the sack at night. Never underestimate small progress - always remember that progress is still progress. Writing at least 500 words every day is 500 words closer to finishing my story (I did this with If I Knew Then). Reading 10 pages of a novel every evening is a small step, but it is a step towards finishing the book you're reading. Also, avoid doubting yourself. This might sound easier said than done but believe me, doubting yourself will get you nowhere. Surround yourself with people you trust and people who genuinely believe in you, and listen to them. The idiots outside your circle can talk after you've proved yourself, I kid you not. Most importantly, make sure you're still having fun. You won't continue watching a Kdrama if you realize early on it's not your cup of tea, right?

So yes, I suggest you set goals this year. Despite the uncertainty. Even if we have no idea what 2021 might bring, let's make good things happen still. Let's make this year a memorable one because it's the year we achieved something.