In late January, I met up with someone to plan my goals and expectations for the year ahead. I was really excited and at the same time scared to be disappointed at first to be honest. There were so many questions I looked forward to being answered but I was also scared this would become a typical new year resolution, a dream that never becomes reality.
Post-meeting, it turned out that my goals for this year became more thorough than I had expected. I wasn’t sure of them at that point yet, and I had thought I’d think about them only after having my uncertainties expelled. But when more information was presented to me all at once, I felt a little overwhelmed and failed to get the clarifications I needed (because I wasn’t emotionally prepared, sighpie). At the end of the meetup, I was left with 3 questions:
- What are my measurable goals?
- How do I intend to reach them?
- What are my personal incentives or rewards for each milestone?
Before the new year, I had completed a school essay on personal goals, which means the topic had been on my mind for a while already. And then after the week of submission, I had a group presentation in class with my part of it discussing goals setting. Furthermore, I was spending the occasional free time between my responsibilities on thinking about my 2K17 resolutions, so after this meeting, I was kind of tired of talking or even thinking about goals. But it was only now when I’ve finally penned down my thoughts, I realised what it was about goals setting that bothered me: measuring goals.
Having recently recovered from depression, I’ve learned to enjoy the immeasurable things in life: Pursuing my beliefs, practicing my own virtues, and growing as a person, etc (basically all that zen stuff). But what hope theory in Positive Psychology suggests is that when you do not measure your goals, it becomes easier to give them up. So how do I measure the immeasurable?
“Exams to test for knowledge, lmao.” don’t get me started.
When I was asked what my measurable goals were, I was stumped. I wanted to enjoy the year, the process of trying to attain them, failing, and trying again. But I realized I was scared of setting them because I saw them as my passing mark in life. Not attaining my goals to me meant I was a failure because they were set at the bare minimum.
But I might have had a distorted view of goals. With this kind of mindset, I would never find myself enjoying the year. All I’d ever feel is the fear of failure, while forgetting entirely the possibility of success.
Goals are like the mountains of life, and you are at ground level to begin with. Or maybe goals are like the tree stump that the baby panda is trying to climb in the picture – they look easy but they’re actually still kinda hard for the panda. My point is that just the attempt to climb it itself is already passing life and surpassing yourself. Scaling it is living life to another level. Maybe great things, such as virtues cannot be measured on a scale at all, but you can definitely count your attempts, failures and successes with a ruler or meter in your heart.
And maybe that’s how I’ll measure my goals.