Goals and Dreams…one of the hardest questions to answer.

So! I haven’t actually made an actual blog post in awhile. I tried to right after easter and unfortunately it got deleted. I had some cool stuff to say, but the important part was getting my thoughts out in some way. Maybe those thoughts and words will come again sometime. But tonight I wanted to focus on a new topic. A very recent topic that has come up a lot in my life lately. And that is the topic of goal setting and dreams. In my opinion, one of the hardest questions to answer is when someone asks me about my goals and my dreams for the future. So this is me explaining why. I don’t think this post will need any huge warnings, it may get semi-personal but isn’t that the point of blogs? To share my experience with the world? Well anyway, I may mention some “heavy” topics if you consider therapy as a really negative or scary thing to hear about but it’s not the main focus anyway so we should be good!! Okay here we go!

I found this quote (see featured image) in some of my photos I had posted on my main about me page and this related well to the topic. Also, I love C.S. Lewis so bonus there. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream…” Wow. I don’t think I’ve met a lot of people who would disagree with that anyway but I suppose when you get to a certain age you may think there is nothing left for you to want to do. Personally, I am sorry if your life comes to that, because that seems like a negative view on life. Every day is a new day, and a new adventure. This quote, when I just read it for the second or so time, actually reminded me of some other quotes: “What if its not everything I dreamed it would be? And what if it is? What do I do then? ‘Well that’s the good part I guess, you get to find a new dream,'” This first set of quotes is from Tangled (and I LOVE that movie so much but mostly I love Disney in general. It also reminded me of another (Yes still Disney) reference “Adventure is out there!!” -Up. This one may not seem as closely related as the first one, but the adventures in life can be your dreams. It was Carl’s dream in Up since he was a child, and Ellie’s, to visit paradise falls. And the fact that he followed that dream even as an old man about to lose his house especially reminds me of the quote. You are NEVER too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. Or even follow an old one. His original dream (for those of you who may not be familiar with this pixar film) was to take Ellie with him to Paradise Falls. He ended up on a slightly different adventure, but I’ll let you go watch it to hear more about that.

Now, I love this quote, but it also troubles me. Some people I feel are very good at pin pointing exactly what they want for their future and what their goals or dreams are. That’s awesome! But I, am not one of those people.  Which is also okay in some senses. It is good to set goals for yourself to improve your well-being, or to become better at a certain activity or sport. But goals can be especially difficult because then they should also be achievable, or realistic. I think that is the difference between a dream and a goal. A dream can be anything you want it to be, no matter how realistic others may think it is. And I strongly believe that dreams are important too. After all, dreams start at a young age with imagination and child-like beliefs that you can do anything. I think that if I didn’t grow up believing in dreams, I would have had a much less interesting childhood. But getting to adulthood, I feel that goals are stressed more than dreams. So often people ask me, “what do you want to do after college” and I’m only a freshman. People are already questioning exactly what I want to accomplish after I get a degree! Those poor seniors must get this question all the time. And if you’re like me, and you don’t exactly know, this question can almost get to the point of being painful.

Why is this painful? Because when people ask me about my goals I think they have to seem plausible and achievable. I don’t want people to laugh at my goals or look down on me and tell me I could never achieve something like that. Already with an extremely low self esteem, this is why I struggle to set goals. I never know what’s possible to achieve, especially for a mere small girl in this huge universe we live in. I actually have already experienced some points where I feel like people are limiting my abilities for me. And they mean well, they are usually what you would call realists. Which is fine, but it hurts, when you feel like people don’t believe in you. How can you be expected to believe in yourself when no one else does?

Then there is also the problem of comparison. THIS is exactly why I have self esteem issues. In the culture I grew up in, it seems like you had to be the “best” the “prettiest” the “smartest” in order to be worth something. Which is not true at all. Now I’m not going to push my faith on anyone here, but as I have grown as a Christian, I have learned that this is not where my identity comes from. It should never come from others, but from Christ. Christ says I am loved, he made me in HIS own image, I am not a mistake. I may have quirks and bruises and differences from the rest of the world, but everyone does. How boring would this world be if we were all “perfect” anyway? Differences make us interesting and unique. I’m getting slightly off topic, but going back to goal setting. Sometimes I have felt that I need to set goals for myself to society’s standards. Which is also not true. Society is such an annoying thing in general for me lately. But that’s another story.

So, why has this come up? Well for one, I just got back into therapy. And my treatment for my mental health issues usually involves a lot of goal setting. This has also come up in welcome week leader training, and of course, academically with school. So I’m actually being forced to analyze myself and think about what my goals really are. Not that I don’t analyze myself constantly anyway.

One other quote or saying that has also stood out to me with goal setting is the serenity prayer. This has been brought up in many areas of my life in the past year. And I am IN LOVE with what it says.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I love this. This is how goal setting should be used. So often I have tried to perfect things and change myself for others or the wrong reasons. I used to strive for acceptance. Now I just want acceptance from myself. Sometimes my anxiety puts the silly thought in my head that I need to fix everything, and I should try to do everything perfectly. But I’m learning to accept that this is not healthy or possible. There are things I cannot change (society for example–not by myself anyway, or even any other person). I am learning to know the difference. The courage to change the things I can, that is the hardest part for me lately. I have no idea why, I’ve tried to think back on my life and discover why I have such a lack of faith in myself and self confidence. There are a few factors I think may have to do with it, but it doesn’t matter why. Just that I do. I know that I shouldn’t be reckless and think I can do anything I want magically or without consequence, and definitely without hard work, but positive attitudes really do make a difference. So, I guess one of my goals is learning how exactly to set good goals for myself. And realizing they don’t always have to be huge. Or that they don’t have to be exactly down to the detail. I should let some things happen the way they will. I have to accept that my dreams are separate from my goals.

My other goals for right now and in my near future:

  1. To create for myself a better self-esteem, and get to the point of appreciating who I am even in my weaknesses.
  2. To accept the things I cannot change. (eg. bad test scores happen, I will learn from my mistakes)
  3. To appreciate my strengths instead of only focusing on my weaknesses
  4. To use whatever abilities I have available to me to do something good. Whether I get into my desired major or not, to find something I can do that I love, and that will have a positive influence on the world.

And my dreams:

  1. To make a difference in the world
  2. To help people in any way that I can
  3. To show the world boldly who I belong to (Christ) and have them notice that difference
  4. To find a husband who will encourage me and help me grow in my faith.
  5. To have a family and raise them to be positive influences on the world.
  6. To see the beauty in everything God created
  7. To travel to distant places and experience other cultures (already has happened a few times!!)
  8. To not only go through the motions, but live every day to the fullest, and find adventure
  9. To never lose sight of my inner child, and to always be imaginative.

And that’s about it folks! Not a super long post, but a reflection on some of the things I have been thinking about lately. Hopefully you enjoy. Here are some more inspiring quotes about dreams and goals:) have a wonderful weekend!

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