At the start of every year, pressure to set goals both personally and professionally comes flooding in from the internet, television, and magazines. I want to share a few tips to help make your goals a reality.
Four years ago, I realized I was stuck both personally and professionally. I was physically out of shape, and was in an unfulfilling relationship. I realized I had been checking boxes off on an imaginary “Adulting To-Do List” in my head rather than creating a life that was engaging and uniquely mine.
I turned my realization into an opportunity to pivot my life entirely. I quit my job, moved across the country, and started my life over at 27. Today, I’m in the best shape of my adult life, proud to be part of the Southwest Family, and I am very clear on the types of behavior I will and will not tolerate in relationships.
I help others do the same every day in my role as Human Resources Business Partner at Southwest. I’m determined to inspire, challenge, and help our People develop into the best versions of themselves. The great news is that becoming the best version of ourselves not only strengthens our work life, but also naturally enriches our personal lives. Remember, we have to put our own oxygen mask on first before helping others.
Turning Your Vision into Reality
Whether you want a dramatic reinvention like I did or simply need to acknowledge some exciting forks in the roads that lie ahead, personal goal setting can be powerful and life changing. I hope you’ll start today with these quick tips to help you turn visions into realities:
Be vocal. Don’t keep your goal a secret because sharing it with others will make you feel more accountable.
Reward yourself. Along your journey, you will have many different accomplishments and hit milestones—both big and small. Find small ways to reward yourself.
Baby steps. Don’t feel as if you have to accomplish everything all at once. Layering small actions over time can add up to big changes in the long run.
Be specific. Passive goals simply don’t work. For example, simply saying, “I’ll lose weight” isn’t good enough. You need to be specific with your goal and say what you will do to get there. A better goal statement is: “I will lose one pound a week by tracking my food and exercising for one hour, three times a week.”
Don’t get stuck. It’s easy to get stuck and sidetracked while trying to accomplish a goal. The most important thing is to recognize when you are stuck and to get yourself unstuck and moving forward as quickly as possible.
Share your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to brag a little about your achievements. After all, your journey might inspire others to follow their own dreams.
The Power of a Bucket List
I’m a huge fan of creating a bucket list whether you’re 25 or 75. Documenting your wants forces you to address the reasons why you haven’t accomplished these dreams. Then, you own the choice to take action and strike through that item or let it continue to elude you.
The neat thing about creating a bucket list is that it keeps our focus genuine. Thinking hard about the things we want to experience in this life silences any other voices in our heads. Your bucket list won’t contain the dreams your parents, spouse, or children have had for you; the list will be uniquely your own.
I even upped my own bucket list game and challenged myself to a solo international trip. I remember landing in Edinburgh feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. After a drool-inducing jet lag nap, my host recommended an incredible band that was playing at the pub around the corner. At the pub, I met a group of Spaniards and we spent the evening telling stories and chatting in Spanish (our only common language). I heard Scottish harmonies that night so beautiful that I still get teary-eyed thinking about them. These are memories that I will always treasure.
If you don’t already have a list, start yours today! I credit taking control of my health and writing down my target accomplishments as the two most important keys to my ongoing transformation. Instead of floating through life with a vision of unmet resolutions on the back of my mind, I stay actively engaged in writing my own story. The next time someone asks if you’ve made New Year’s resolutions, I challenge you to smile and say, “I don’t do annual resolutions. I’m working on my bucket list and it’s an ongoing adventure.”