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How To Make Huge Goals Less Overwhelming

May 5, 2017

Hi lovelies ♥

Who are you?

How do you define yourself?

The only immediate answers I would give to that question are “daughter” and “sister”. Those are factual and very hard to deny.

At the beginning of this year I was doing an internship at a TV station. Once or twice during that time, I said the words “I am a reporter at a TV station” to someone, but it always came with a profoundly weird feeling. It was almost as if there was a derisive voice in my head asking: “And what on earth would give you the right to call yourself a reporter? Silly little girl.” When factually, that’s what I was doing. I was researching and editing news segments. I was doing the work of a reporter. And yet, calling myself a reporter seemed absurdly presumptuous.

I would call myself a “psychology graduate” but never a “psychologist”. I currently work in communications but I feel odd calling myself a “spokesperson”. I always say “I work in communications”. I have published a few articles but feel uncomfortable calling myself a “journalist”.

(Interesting side note: there is a condition called “impostor syndrome” that comes with very similar emotions, in which high-achieving, highly qualified people, who objectively fully deserve to be where they are, feel inadequate or do not feel like they belong. It mostly affects women, for obvious reasons.)

Per se, this reluctance to define myself through my work is not too problematic. It becomes a problem when trying to set goals. I would like to be a journalist, and even more so, I would love to be a presenter or TV host. But those feel like such crazy goals that I barely dare write them down, let alone pursue them properly. It takes such an incredible amount of luck and work, especially considering the state the media industry is in, to be a journalist, and it takes even more luck to become a presenter.

So how to set long-term, overarching goals? I’m very good at setting daily, monthly, even yearly goals. But how can one define long-term goals so that they are not too scary (“be a journalist”) or don’t hinge 80% on pure, dumb luck or set one up for disappointment (“become famous”)? “Make X amount of money” didn’t seem meaningful or motivating enough. “Work for company / magazine / publisher Y” seemed way too specific and limiting.

I had my “why”, but I needed to define my “what”.

I had a conversation about this with my good friend, Philip. I don’t know whether Philip reads my blog, but I like him either way because he’s one of the smartest people I know and he listens to my whining (which is very nice of him) and actually offers useful solutions. Philip suggested that if defining goals in terms of “what I want to be” limits me so much, why not define them in terms of what I want to do?

I thought that was a brilliant idea. So I did just that. I made a list of “Things I want to spend my ~85 years on Earth doing”.


list of things i wanna do

This is the list.

And there it was. After a suitable amount of brainstorming, I made the list you can see in the picture. If it’s too hard to read, here it is typed out:

  • research and write stories
  • host events, TV shows, present things
  • speak in public
  • have photoshoots
  • make the world a fairer place and fight injustice (I guess I kind of drifted off into my ‘why’ there)
  • meet people and talk about interesting stuff
  • learn about politics, history, policy making, law, international relations
  • create – take photos, make videos, blog
  • write poetry and fiction and share it with others
  • dance
  • kickbox
  • cook
  • cuddle
  • travel
  • read interesting things
  • spend quality time with friends
  • exercise (If I’m entirely honest, I added this mostly out of a sense of duty)

(I did not include “raise children” on the list, on purpose. It seemed too overwhelming – even though I am working towards raising at least one child. More on that in my next post.)

That’s it. It gave me such a renewed sense of clarity to know that if I’m spending most of my time doing things on the list, I’m on track, and if not, I need to change how I spend my time. It also removes any temptation to chase things like wealth or fame, which we are often made to believe are valuable and worth aspiring to, but which I find sort of meaningless and superficial (in and of themselves – I am not denying they can be used as means to some very worthwhile ends). As long as I am spending most of my time doing these things and I have enough money to live comfortably, everything is fine.

I just wanted to share in case making a list like this helps anyone else 🙂

Have a perfect weekend ♥

PS: If you aren’t yet, go follow my instagram @damitablogs. I post every day, and I alternate between photography and poetry/creative writing. So if you like poetry/photography/quotes and/or want to make my day, follow me 🙂 I always appreciate feedback on my writing as well.

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