I have never been a huge fan of setting goals. Whether it was setting New Years Eve goals, goals for school, or even fitness goals. I always viewed them as pointless and rather focused my energy on trying my best, letting that be enough. However, as I have gotten older and have found myself trying to maintain a balancing act with both professional and personal ambitions, I feel setting goals can be an aid rather than a useless promise.
My hope for these goals is to hold them as a reminder for when I get anxious or stressed over life’s craziness. I want to set out a plan and try my best to stick to it but, also always be kind to myself if and when I fail. We are all human and I hope my demonstration of setting realistic goals can also comfort and help you know you are not alone in the chaos of what adult-ing in your 20’s or beyond looks like.
As a recent graduate I have a bit of debt and not a lot of income. In school I was fortunate enough to go to a university that did not expect an outrageous amount for tuition and fees. Since sixteen I have been almost entirely financially independent and throughout college I had to take out loans to both afford classes as well as transportation. This leads me to my first professional goal: set out a monthly plan to pay off loans in order from highest interest rate to lowest.
To pay off these loans I need to get better at budgeting but, like many people, I find it a bit challenging to budget my pay check over two weeks let alone month to month. Although, now I have three jobs meaning more income and more planning. While I know there are many budgeting and savings apps, like Acorn, I have not found these to be personally helpful. Instead what I prefer to do is set a side a notebook for my finances. Once I receive a pay stub I break it up from savings, bills, loan payments, necessities and always a “fun” allowance. I feel it is important to include a “fun” allowance so I do not feel guilty when I decide to be social and grab a drink with friends or see a great sale and decide to purchase a new dress. I believe balance is key and debt is a scary thing but also understanding that I have a plan is great reassurance.
The word career is a pretty intimidating word to me. I’ve always been ambitious and hard working, but choosing one career path that you’re supposed to work towards your entire life gives me anxiety. I have many different passions and hobbies so I would rather follow different paths doing jobs that I love rather than sticking to one simply to for a higher income. Thus for this goal I want to focus on continuing to tryout these different passions and hobbies.
First is my current job. I am currently a wine educator at two wineries in Napa Valley. Here I want to continue to grow my knowledge about wine varietals, develop my palate, and network with others within my industry to see where this path could lead me. As for my other interests in both politics and marketing, I want to speak with professionals in these fields, possibly set up days where I can shadow them or even begin volunteering to assist in a campaign.
I feel that society places a lot of pressure on recent graduates to have everything figured out within months of graduating, but this is not true nor healthy. The world has changed and it’s estimated that millennials will change their career path an average of three to four times over their lifetime. I find this comforting and as a reminder that I do not need to settle for a career that doesn’t make me happy.
Health and Wellness
I am grateful to live in the era of body positivity and with role models like Jameela Jamil. Being a woman, there is an enormous amount of pressure to look like the photoshopped versions of celebrities we see on our screens. This is not realistic nor is this the goal I think anyone should set for themselves. Instead I want to set small goals that can improve my health and increase lifespan.
I have recently been exercising again through a Bikram yoga studio and plan to join a gym. My girlfriend has been a big help in getting me motivated by having us sign up for these plans together. My plan is to work out at least two to four times a week and to live a 60/40 healthy lifestyle. This isn’t a drastic plan but I hope that as I continue down this healthy lifestyle endeavor I will start to have more energy and less sugar cravings.
Another aspect to my healthy lifestyle balance is that I want is to make it a goal to at least have three to four sober days a week. This seems like an easy thing but living in wine country and working where I have wine readily available makes it a bit more challenging. It is vitally important if I want to get healthy to reduce my alcohol consumption to either one glass a night or having these few sober days a week.
This will probably be my most general goal, but as I continue into “adulthood” I want to continue to learn. Whether learning through continuously reading different books, listening to podcasts or simply having deliberate conversations with people from different backgrounds than myself. I want to grow in my knowledge but also in empathy and kindness towards others. I want to continue try to be as good of a person and friend as Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec. While some people may feel like this is just a personality trait, I believe one can continuously work on being selfless and empathetic towards others.
I hope by reading a few of my goals it can encourage you to evaluate your own life and possibly set goals for yourself. Whatever you decide to do, I just encourage you to be as kind to yourself as you are to your friends. I will leave you with this Leslie Knope quote.
“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third.” – Leslie Knope