Career & Education
Reevaluating Your Life Goals in Your 20s
Goal [gohl]: Noun. The result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end. The terminal point in a race. An area, basket, cage, or other object or structure toward or into which players of various games attempt to throw, carry, kick, hit, or drive a ball, puck, etc., to score a point or points (thanks, dictionary.com).
My definition of a goal? I’m not sure, I forgot. I was busy reevaluating mine.
In general, goals are considered something we don’t “change.” We accomplish them and then establish new ones. Fitness goals are relatively pointless if we are constantly changing them, as are goals in school.
However, keeping the “goals” we’ve had for ages when they no longer suit our desires can do more harm than good. Sometimes, it’s better to just bite the bullet and reevaluate our life goals. Below are five suggestions for making goal-reevaluation a little easier. Enjoy!
Evaluate Your Priorities
In my opinion, this is the first step to making all decisions. To do this, it’s best to start either at the very top or very bottom of your list. If finding a spouse is at the bottom of your list of priorities, keep this in mind when creating realistic career goals. Some career options involve lots of traveling or moving, a viable option if finding a spouse and having children are not your primary goals at the moment.
Likewise, if getting in shape is your number one goal at the moment but you’re suffering financially because of it, adjust your goals. Make a short-term goal to find inexpensive workout classes and a long-term one to save money on exercise. Some things are high-priority, but we should avoid letting other areas suffer because of it.
Make It Fun
Deciding to “reevaluate your life goals” may sound like a synonym for “life crisis,” but it doesn’t have to; reevaluating your goals can be fun! You can create a vision board of yourself over the next several years or even your apartment over the next few months, you can use a jar of marbles for your weight loss goals and a piggy bank for your financial goals; get creative!
Self-rewarding is also a great option. Accomplishing one of your long term (or short term) goals is no small feat, so set up a reward system for yourself! Whether you’re treating yourself to a donut at the end of the week or treating yourself to vacation after getting a raise, self-rewarding is a great way to make goal setting fun.
If you need to just focus on setting goals, I recommend using a cute notebook to help you do it (especially if reevaluating your life goals involves research, which career goals often do) My favorites are these simple ones from Muji.
While it is important to maintain the mindset that you can do anything, being realistic is a crucial habit to develop in your twenties. If you hate the idea of having to regularly reevaluate your life goals, this step is particularly important for you: being realistic is the key to making goals achievable.
Being realistic could mean setting the bar a little lower. It could also mean creating a series of short-term goals to help you reach your long-term goals. Losing 30 pounds in 60 days may be unrealistic, but you can give yourself a longer time span to lose weight.
Likewise, paying off your student loans in a year may be difficult, but making a financial goal for each month of the year might help you reach it. The key to goal-setting is to be realistic about your capabilities and push yourself a little harder from there. Goals are pointless if they’re totally unachievable.
Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself
Reevaluating your goals can be a stressful and frustrating process, but it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself when reevaluating your life goals. When you’re reevaluating your goals, you may realize something you once thought was within your means is not (like buying a house or paying off student loans), or that something will take much longer than you expected (like weight loss).
While hold-ups when trying to accomplish goals are frustrating, sometimes we need to reevaluate and change are goals. If you wanted to pay off student debt in six months, give yourself a longer deadline. The goal doesn’t need to totally change, but reevaluating sometimes involves flexibility. You can’t put pressure on yourself to work rigidly when reevaluating your life goals.
Reevaluating goals can be overwhelming, and there is no shame in seeking help when reevaluating them. No matter which goals you are trying to reevaluate, there is someone to guide you. Trying to clean up your eating? Talk to a nutritionist. Interested in altering your career path, even within your own company? Talk to your boss, or another mentor.
If you’re still in school, there are countless resources for you if you’re looking to discuss reevaluating your goals, especially if you’re interested in changing your major or altering your career path.
If you’re struggling emotionally with the process of reevaluating goals (it can be crazy stressful, especially if you’re making a big change), consider seeking unrelated help. Talking to a counselor or a therapist (even just a friend) can be incredibly beneficial. Reevaluating your goals can be a big deal, and finding someone who can talk you through dealing with it (not just doing it) can be extremely helpful.
Sitting down and reevaluating your life goals may not be fun, but it is important; one of the keys to success is having goals and achieving them, so it’s important to stay positive when goal-making. In my opinion, goal reevaluation should be done frequently, especially in your twenties (even if you don’t change them). Chances are, as time passes your values and priorities will change, and your goals may have to change with them. No matter how close or far achievement may be, it feels amazing, even if we needed to alter the path when getting there.
Resources: Miss Millenia Magazine