Last month, I spent some time solo-brunching to do some deep thinking around my goal setting for 2020. I reflected on the beginnings of this process and why it is so important to me.

How it all began.

I started setting goals for my year starting in the months leading up to 2017. Broke as hell, disillusioned, and faced with a huge roadblock on my path to my career goal. I would be leaving my PhD program and a city I had planned to spend the next few years of my life in. Most importantly, my depression was at an all-time high. I needed some clarity and direction.

During this time I worked at a bookstore and it was that time of year where all the good stuff was on sale. I started with the intention to organize my life and clear psychological clutter. I bought a book titled “Organize Your Life” which really had me investigate habits I had for years. After that, I started to read one self-help book after another and pulled out the tidbitsI felt necessary to keep myself accountable to. My goal was to improve my life condition as much as was in my power to do. 

Some of my goals for that year were: 

  • Present at a conference ✔️
  • Get credit utilization down to 50%❌
  • Get my License ❌
  • Save toward car downpayment ✔️
  • Start a blog✔️
  • Get better paying job✔️
  • Transfer schools✔️

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Fast forward to now.  Some weeks ago I lamented on Facebook about feeling unfulfilled while also being cognizant of the fact that I was in a swing of heightened depression emotions. Something changed not long after I posted that status after I regrounded myself in my reality. I referred to my goals for the year and realized that I had neglected them in the fog that was the summer of this year. I reminded myself that it was important for me to invest my best in actualizing very intentional goals. 

I’m very much intrinsically motivated by reaching goals. I’m especially fired up by those that require a bit of discipline and consistency to realize. As I more closely tracked my progress, I became more excited about getting up every day. 

A real turning point was when I started closing in on my goals around my credit. Seeking financial stability has been a running theme since I started tracking goals. There is a direct correlation between the state of my depression and the state of my financial affairs. My time in my 1st PhD program hit my credit score by over 150 points. Ain’t nothing like hiding in plain sight from creditors. I’ve gained back over 100 pts as of last week.

Goal Setting, Refined

This year was the first year I centered my goal setting around a theme for how I wanted to live and it was “Self-Love and Stability”. Revisiting that in writing reminded me that I wanted to be in a place where I prioritize my needs above all else while being in a place that was not as transitional as the previous years of my life since graduating college. I made myself invest my dollars into this. My healthy savings account allowed me to leave a harmful work environment without having a job already lined up. 

Some of my goals for 2019 appealed to self-care by keeping things I enjoy at the front of my mind. One for this year was to attend 3 concerts. The 1st I attended was Anthony Hamilton and Jazmine Sullivan. All know is that I was in tears a number of times and felt like the music was physically embracing me while I confronted emotions. I was not ready.

In August, I saw the Jonas Brothers and it brought me back to a simpler time in life. That nostalgia was a motivating experience after having started a new job following a leap of faith. Next month, I’ll be seeing PJ Morton and I expect to have another experience of emotional hugs that remind me of how love makes the world spin. 

Goal Setting reflections

These experiences have been key to helping me feel like life as it exists in worth living. Suicidal ideation is not just about extreme sadness. It can also be an escape from monotony and not understanding a purpose for breathing. Some people love everyone in their lives but cannot fathom what it takes to be present and breathing in a world plagued by capitalism. Feeling unfulfilled or stuck in a monotonous routine can bring about thoughts of “why am I even doing this?”

Checking back on my 2019 goals those several weeks ago reminded me of my intended purpose for this year. Reminded me that I wanted to start thinking about life as big picture, putting myself in control, and not merely survival. Now, instead of crawling through life one day at a time, I take it one year at a time. I daresay it’s helping to save my life. 

For 2020, my theme will be “Living Well”.

Now I’d like to hear from you: 

  • Do you participate in goal setting or setting intentions for a new year?
  • How do you make those decisions
  • What effect does goal setting have on you?

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