Goals: How to Pick a Goal

The Alphabet Issues is a series of articles discussing issues that is inspired from one word, and will be published alphabetically (A, B, C, etc) on MichxWanderlust. Some lesser-used alphabets (X, Z) will be skipped due to a lack of word usage/ inspiration from any words beginning with that alphabet. 


November was Nope-vember for me, with how busy work got. Next thing I know, it's now the first of December.


Words cannot describe how stunned I am that it is now the end of the year again. This year has felt simultaneously long and short at the same time. Despite everyone else banging on about how it's the most magical time of the year (sure, for capitalism and consumerism), I am mostly very glad to see this year go.

On 1st December 2018, I am just a much more exhausted shell of my former self. So much has happened in the past year that the idea of running away from my current lifestyle is so much more attractive than ever. Yet here I am, still a cog in the wheels of society, doing my best to keep everything afloat, still working at being a "responsible" family member and functioning member of society.

Maybe I'll leave the running away to 2019...


The topic of the day is "goals" (no, running away is not a goal... yet).

For most of my life I have believed in setting concrete goals and reaching for them. Having goals gives life focus and purpose - to have something to strive for, whether it's passing an exam, getting a promotion, writing one blog post a week, or whatever else that you are aiming for.

Each year since I started working, I've always had several concrete goals.  It usually involves travelling to another country for at least ten days, and it would be my goal to save up enough money to arrive there and recharge myself.

Then there would be others, ranging from passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3, to winning a story-telling competition, to reading more, and etcetera - goals which I have achieved.


For most of this year I have felt "goal"-less.

I did write down my goals for 2018, but most of my drive died early this year when illness and death afflicted my family. Ever since early February from the first hospital visit, my SOLE goal this year was really to "remain sane in the face of tragedy and conflict".

It isn't a concrete goal, but it is one that I need for my mental health which has taken such a battering this year. Honestly, though, I have doubts if I have succeeded, considering all the people who sought to drive me crazy even during the lowest moments of my life this year. ๐Ÿ™„

Now that a new year is arriving - and will probably be here sooner than I am mentally prepared for - psychologically I feel like I should reflect and work on new concrete goals for myself again.

What are my hopes and dreams for 2019? What do I hope to achieve in the new year? What will I learn, what will I do, how will I improve, how will I contribute to self-growth?

These are questions I have tried asking myself tentatively as of late, in attempts to rise up from the mental fog that I have found myself in this entire year. I have gone along with the waves of life this year, to recover and "remain sane" one day at a time.

I don't want to JUST remain sane, though. I want to give more purpose and meaning to my life again, and it's not achieved by just "remaining sane" and "going along with what life throws at me". Maybe I even have to go a little insane and break some societal expectations to do the former.

The way I pick my concrete goals are closely related to my main interests (but of course, I am not going to suddenly be a botanist just because I have a passing interest in plants), and I have some of the same goals yearly.

I love hanging out in nature (but not too much) so -

Goal 1- I want go hiking in the hills at least once every two weeks in 2019.

I love reading and want to read more, so -

Goal 2 - I want to read at least one book a week in 2019.

I also want to keep working at my writing, so -

Goal 3 - I will complete the first draft of this new story idea I have in 2019, with the writing skills I have polished in the past few years. For people who remember my old fantasy story which I shared before a few years ago, it will remain in storage for now until I have the courage to edit it i.e. I reread it and cringed so much I am not sure if I have the skills to edit it to be something I like better currently. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Goal 4 - I want to take (and hopefully pass) the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1 in 2019, and

Goal 5 - I want to travel to a new country in 2019.

These goals have been such constants in different variations throughout the years, it's just a given that these goals will exist as soon as I start thinking about "goals".

The harder thing would be to pick goals that are different, such as learning a new skill, or trying out something entirely alien to me. Plus, with only 24 hours a day, with most of it having to go to MAKING MONEY, there's only so much I can do in this short life of mine - and this is truly the year that I have felt so much the proverb that "life is short".

One of the new goals which I gave myself last year was briefly achieved - to lose 7KGs in 7 months. It was a catchy soundbite, but in actuality it was really for me to go back to a size that I was most comfortable with, especially because all my clothes were in that size. I felt very uncomfortable I could not fit in those clothes anymore.

The body positivity side of me says: "Just buy new clothes which you fit in!", but the thrifty side of me says: "Um, no, you are capable of staying this size in which all your clothes are in, and it's still a healthy size, you aren't some fashion social media influencer where blog shops give you clothes so just workout more!".

Now that I'm back at the exact size I started out my early 20s with, it doesn't really matter that I didn't lose those 7KGs to achieve this. On the plus side, I am now so much more physically fitter that it doesn't even faze me to walk 30,000 steps in one day - and this is the part of my "lose 7KGs in 7 months" mantra I like most, and intend to continue.

If I have to pick health or wealth, I'd pick health anytime - and that includes mental health.

^helping my mental health by connecting with nature, which is why maintaining my hiking routine is a goal for 2019. 

I'm still thinking about this new goal that I want to achieve in 2019 that will help either my physical or mental health, still swishing around a few ideas in my head. I think it will be a more concrete goal than "remain sane", but I am unsure yet.

Whatever it is, though, it will be a goal that honours the life I was given - one that helps me live life more fully and happily.

That, I think, should be the basis for picking goals for yourself, and then to stick to them, and to change them as necessarily for wherever you are in life.

Where do you aim to be in 2019?