Having goals is important—both long-term and short-term—because they motivate us to keep moving and to keep improving. I always have goals. Sometimes, I like to make a “Goals List.” When I was 24 years old, I made a Goals List, and somehow I lost that piece of paper. A year later, I found it, and I realized that I accomplished every item on the list—it was a long one! That feeling was so amazing! I felt accomplished! Throughout that year, I didn’t pressure myself into completing every item that I wrote on the list. But in the back of my mind, my goals were present. They rested in my mind peacefully, and motivated me to achieve them one at a time.
I am one of those people who love New Year’s Resolutions, but I think we need to make these lists more frequently—not just on New Year’s Day—to remind ourselves of our goals. It’s important to revisit the lists to track our progress sometimes. If we haven’t reached a goal yet, we could ask ourselves, “Have I put enough effort into making that happen? What else is missing? What could I have done better? To improve the situation? To get me closer to the goal? Am I taking small, realistic steps towards the goal?”
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. (Tony Robbins)
If you would like to exercise 5 days a week and keep that goal in the new year, write that down. If you would like to live in a different neighbourhood, a different city, or a different country, write that down on your list. If you would like to travel around Europe or Asia, or around the world, write that down. If you would like to earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a PhD, write that down. If you would like to achieve your career goals, write that down. If you would like to set up a non-profit organization, write that down on your list! They may all seem impossible at the moment, but the minute you are willing to write it down, acknowledge it, and look at it, is the minute you are setting your mind to go for it! Some of the big goals may never come true, but some of them may, after 5 years, 10 years, or more. After all, who knows?
Being able to write down your goals is a kind of self-awareness, which is healthy. It reveals your courage to face your goals no matter how big, scary, or impossible they may seem! Breaking goals down into small, manageable steps can be helpful. Let your “Goals List” be your motivation!
If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life. (Vince Lombardi)
Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe. (Oprah Winfrey)
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. (Aristotle)
Distraction & Binge-Watching Obstruct our Goals
Oftentimes, people can’t keep their New Year’s Resolutions, or their goals, due to lack of motivation, lack of structure and organization, lack of self-esteem, lack of social support, or lack of self-awareness of their own problems. Sometimes, there are serious underlying issues, such as depression and anxiety. Many individuals with deeper issues get by because they use distraction, such as watching TV for hours each day, to cope with their problems.
Distraction is a helpful coping mechanism, but it is usually a temporary solution to problems, and a strategy that is used only in the beginning of therapy. With problems such as anxiety, phobias, trauma, etc., distraction cannot be the ultimate solution. Indeed, if distraction is used too much, such as watching TV for hours every day, it can become another problem, or even an addiction. With such addictive behaviours, people lack self-regulation to stop the unhealthy behaviour.
Many years of research have shown that excessive TV watching is linked to poor mental and physical health (Hamer, Stamatakis, & Mishra, 2010; Robinson & Martin, 2008; Sun et al., 2015). Recent researchers suggested that binge-watching, which is defined as watching two to more episodes of the same TV show in one sitting, is associated with mental health problems such as depression, loneliness, and anxiety (Karmakar, Kruger, Elhai, & Kramer, 2015; Kruger, Karmakar, Elhai, & Kramer, 2015; Sung, Kang, & Lee, 2015).
So, it is good to limit our distractions. Enjoy TV and other entertainments, but be careful to keep your eye on your goals, not just on the TV screen!
One of themes that I repeat in my blog is humility.
Being humble is not just a high virtue. It is indeed something that can help improve the quality of your life!
It can be difficult to practice humility: it is difficult sometimes to admit that we have problems, we make mistakes, we are not always genuine, we sometimes lack motivation and diligence, etc. When we forget our humility, maybe when we are trying to save face, we actually cause more problems in different areas of life: it can then be harder to form genuine, meaningful social relationships, to achieve goals, and to form healthy strategies to cope with life problems. Being humble can lead to self-awareness, which in turn can lead to great improvements in life. Humility is the foundation that helps all of us change, learn, and grow! If we believe we already know everything, we won’t be able to acquire new knowledge. If we think we are always right, or we have no problems, we won’t be motivated to change for the better.
Being able to reach and maintain New Year’s Resolutions or goals require more than just writing them down. Seek help, ask questions, take one step at a time, make mistakes, and persevere!
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. (Paulo Coelho)
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. (C. S. Lewis)
Affirmation: I enrich my life when I make New Year’s Resolutions, work hard to achieve them, and seek help if I have difficulty maintaining them.
Hamer, M., Stamatakis, E., & Mishra, G. D. (2010). Television- and screen-based activity and mental well-being in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38(4), 375-380. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.12.030
Karmakar, M., Kruger, J. S., Elhai, J., & Kramer, A. (2015). Viewing patterns and addiction to television among adults who self-identify as binge-watchers. American Public Health Association. Retrieved from https://apha.confex.com/apha/143am/webprogram/Paper335049.html
Kruger, J. S., Karmakar, M., Elhai, J., & Kramer, A. (2015). Looking into screen time: Mental health and binge watching. American Public Health Association. Retrieved from https://apha.confex.com/apha/143am/webprogram/Paper335164.html
Robinson, J. P. & Martin, S. (2008). What do happy people do? Social Indicators Research, 89(3), 565-571. doi:10.1007/s11205-008-9296-6
Sun, J-W., Zhao, L-G., Yang, Y., Ma. X., Wang, Y-Y., & Xiang, Y-B. (2015). Association between television viewing time and all-cause mortality: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. American Journal of Epidemiology, 182(11), 908-916. doi:10.1093/aje/kwv164
Sung, Y. H., Kang, E. Y., & Lee, W. N. (2015, May). A bad habit for your health? An exploration of psychological factors for binge-watching behaviour. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association Conference, San Juan, PR.