How goal setting can change your life and how changing your life can change your goals!
I spent my 20s and early 30s chasing after promotions to reach a top position as an Academic Registrar in Higher Education! I truly believed reaching this career goal would make me happy! I sure felt like I’d worked hard enough for it, having climbed the ranks through Administrator positions and Assistant Registrar roles at various Universities. My skills and experience had been honed and I was ready to apply them to the role I’d been working towards. So why, when I got there, was this just not the happy ending I’d imagined?!
As with most career-driven people, we can find ourselves fully immersed in the work we are doing! Having high standards for ourselves means putting in the extra hours to demonstrate our dedication. When we leave the office at the end of the day, we don’t leave our duties behind, we take them home with us! Do evenings spent working on the emails or lying awake in the middle of the night trying to problem solve sound familiar?!! I was basically doing all I could to not drop any balls, an almost impossible task!
The reality was that something had to give!
Obviously, when all your time and energy is going on your career, then there’s not going to be much time for anything else! So my work/life balance began to suffer and before I knew it, the very thing I’d worked the past decade trying to achieve, was not bringing me the satisfaction I had hoped for!
Something had to change! I started to reflect on what was important to me at work! I drew up a list and selected the key features of my career that I really enjoyed! Top of the list was ‘variety of work’ and ‘working with people!’ These were things that I had always enjoyed and any future jobs would have to stretch me as much as my current job could but in a more contained way!
Well, I realised I was so stretched that it had made me quite unhappy! Working less, suddenly became the goal! That sounds great on paper but, when you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s quite a daunting task to embark on! How was I going to work less and in a more flexible way, but continue earning a high enough salary to bring home my share of the bacon?
Having toyed with the idea of Virtual Assistant work for a while, I began researching more and more into the industry! It was a revelation to me when I realised just how valuable my skills were! Just like anyone who has honed their craft, I had spent my entire working life refining skills which are invaluable to busy people running their own businesses! I could see this working but didn’t know quite where to start!
By sheer coincidence, I was lucky enough to be introduced to a well-established Virtual Assistant in 2018, who was very generous in sharing their advice and experience! This fortuitous meeting became my platform for achieving my new career objectives! Finally, I could plan the setting up of my business and I edged a step closer to flexible working!
Fast forward to now and flexible working has become my most prized career goal!
Well, that and working in my PJs, but shhh don’t tell anyone! It really is a luxury to be able to choose how my working week will look.
I feel happier with this balance, and knowing that my career can now flex and adapt to my home life is reassuring and future-proofing! I feel less stressed, have more time now I don’t have a daily commute and I can pick and choose the work I want to do! Best of all I’m doing it on my terms!
And what about the other things on my list – variety and working with people
Well, I can’t imagine a more varied role! I have worked with a whole host of businesses including Art Consultants, Web Developers, Therapists, Health Consultants, Charities, Construction Leads, Influencers, and a whole host of small and medium businesses requiring the expertise and support of a Virtual Assistant.
Tools for Goal Setting
Smart goals are a tool that can help you set and achieve specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives. By setting smart goals, you can clarify your plans and priorities, monitor your progress, and adjust your actions as needed to stay on track.
Here are some ways that smart goals can help you:
1. They help you clarify your plans and priorities: Smart goals are specific and well-defined, which makes it easier for you to understand what you need to do and why it is important.
2. They help you monitor your progress: Smart goals are measurable, which means you can track your progress and see how far you have come. This can help you stay motivated and focused.
3. They help you adjust your actions as needed: Smart goals are attainable and relevant, which means they are realistic and aligned with your values and long-term goals. If you encounter challenges or setbacks, you can modify your plan to overcome them and stay on track.
4. They help you stay motivated: Smart goals are time-bound, which means you have a deadline to work towards. This can help you stay motivated and focused, as you know you have a specific time frame in which to achieve your goal.
Overall, smart goals can help you set and achieve your objectives by providing a clear, structured plan for success.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to the sense of purpose or meaning in life that gives people a reason to get up in the morning. It is often used as a tool to help people find their passions and identify their unique talents, values, and goals. Some people find that the concept of ikigai can be helpful in guiding their personal and professional development, as it encourages them to reflect on what brings them joy and fulfillment.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding ikigai, as each person’s sense of purpose is unique.
Some common practices that may help you discover your ikigai include:
1. Reflecting on your passions: What do you love doing, and how can you incorporate more of it into your life?
2. Identifying your values: What is most important to you, and how can you align your actions with your values?
3. Leveraging your unique talents: What are you naturally good at, and how can you use your skills to make a positive impact in the world?
4. Seeking out opportunities for growth and development: What do you want to learn or achieve, and how can you take steps towards making it happen?
Overall, the concept of ikigai can be a useful tool for helping you find your sense of purpose and meaning in life. It is important to keep in mind, however, that finding ikigai is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. Finding ikigai can be done in the form of a Venn diagram with overlapping circles. Find out more here.
Journaling can be a helpful tool for setting and achieving goals for a number of reasons. Some ways that journaling can help include:
1. Clarifying your thoughts and feelings: By writing down your thoughts and feelings, you can better understand what you want and why you want it. This can help you identify your goals and clarify your motivations.
2. Setting specific, measurable goals: Journaling can help you break down your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. By writing down your goals and tracking your progress, you can see what you have accomplished and what you still need to do.
3. Holding yourself accountable: By regularly journaling about your goals, you can stay focused and motivated to achieve them. You can also reflect on any challenges or setbacks you encounter and come up with strategies to overcome them.
4. Celebrating your successes: Journaling can help you celebrate your accomplishments and reflect on what you have learned from the process of achieving your goals. This can help you build confidence and stay motivated to continue working towards your goals.
Overall, journaling can be a useful tool for setting and achieving your goals by helping you clarify your thoughts, track your progress, hold yourself accountable, and celebrate your successes.
Apps for Goal Setting
There are many goal setting apps available that can help you set and track your goals. Here are a few popular options:
Habitica: Habitica is a gamified to-do list app that helps you turn your tasks into monsters and your habits into rewards. You can set goals, track your progress, and earn points and rewards as you complete your tasks.
Todoist: Todoist is a productivity app that helps you manage your tasks and projects. You can set goals, create to-do lists, and track your progress using the app’s built-in productivity tracking features.
HabitHub: HabitHub is a habit tracker and goal setting app that helps you set and track your daily habits and long-term goals. You can set reminders, track your progress, and earn rewards as you complete your tasks.
GoalsOnTrack: GoalsOnTrack is a goal tracking and management app that helps you set and track your goals using a variety of tools and features, including a goal planner, task manager, and progress tracker.
Strides: Strides is a habit tracker and goal setting app that helps you set and track your goals, habits, and daily tasks. You can set reminders, track your progress, and analyze your data to understand your patterns and improve your performance.