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Reframing Your Goals

Reframing Your Goals

Just about everyone will tell you that is important to have goals. You hear it in school, from your parents, from well-meaning friends and co-workers, and on just about every motivational/well-being website. Seriously, the message is everywhere. And for some people, the process of setting and achieving goals is quite simple – they decide what they want and work diligently until they get there. Those people are go-getters, and I admire them. For others, like myself, the prospect of setting goals – and then achieving those goals – is daunting (read: nearly impossible).

It isn’t that I choose goals that are unattainable, or that I am overwhelmingly lazy. But there is definitely a disconnect between myself and my goals, and I have spent some time recently trying to figure out why that could be. I think I may have stumbled upon an answer.

Typically, when I go about writing down my goals for the next month or next year, I pick common goals, vague ones that most people probably relate to. This year I am going to be healthier, eat better, exercise more, and procrastinate less. I would also like to keep my room clean for a week straight, if possible. And I think, “yeah! These goals are good – they will make me a better/healthier/happier person and they are totally normal…” The problem is that I don’t care. I would love nothing more than to want to be healthy for the sake of being healthy, but I’m just not that good.

What I need to do is make myself care about the goals that I set. Make them personal. Frame them within the context of my life and the things that I care about. So, rather than just deciding that I would like to eat healthier I should reframe the goal using my interest in sustainability and environmental health. I will make it my goal to lower the environmental impact of my diet. Not only does this mean less eating out (all that waste!), but it significantly decreases the amount of unhealthy options available to me. Instead of wishing that eating healthy was something I valued, I have to recognize that it isn’t and reframe the goal based on something that I do value.

Goals are tricky – they can either serve as daunting examples of our own incompetencies, or they can keep us from becoming complacent and encourage us to live to our best potential.  However, it is important to frame our goals in a way that works for us, not for others, and not choose goals because we think that we absolutely must be a certain way.  

Now I just need to find a creative way to reframe the ‘clean room’ goal. Wish me luck!


Ariel Benwell