Week 14 – The Importance of Achieving Truly Individual Goals

Odds are that if you’ve gone to school or listened to any sort of “successful” person on the radio/YouTube/etc., then you know that goals are important. You also probably know that achieving goals are important. It’s fairly common knowledge. But what’s not as well known is the importance of achieving truly individual goals, which can propel you to accomplish other tasks.

Now when I say truly individual goals, I don’t mean plain old individual goals. To be more specific, I don’t just mean the goals you have for yourself such as getting an “A” in a science class or starting on your basketball team. Why? Because these goals, while dependent on the individual’s effort, are not solely based on the individual. Each of these goals have an interpersonal variable that can either work for or against you. If the science teacher loves you because you always give your best effort, they might give you the benefit of the doubt in certain areas that they don’t give to other students. Similarly, if your basketball coach hates you or doesn’t like you as much as another player, he might have you start on the bench no matter how good you get. Indeed, with these individual goals you are, to a certain degree, reliant on others.

Thus, when I say truly individual goals, I mean goals that start and end with you. These goals might be things like reading one book a week outside of school, waking up at five in the morning every weekday and exercising, or writing a short poem every week. In any case, their being accomplished is solely dependent on you, the individual.

Why are goals like these important? Simple. Accomplishing something that’s success or failure was completely up to you and your actions brings about a sense of fulfillment that many other goals (especially those practically given to you by another) simply don’t. In my experience, it doesn’t bring about the same joy as overcoming goals with interpersonal obstacles, but the goals are nonetheless extremely encouraging and go on to boost your self-confidence. Because of this, it is often easier to tackle other, often typical, individual and group goals. It’s similar to basketball: once you win one game, it’s easier to win another, then another, etc.

Personally, my truly individual goals are often writing related. Recently, as in about 1:20 this morning recently, I just accomplished another one: the first draft of my first novel.

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I’ve written other works before (YA, novellas, fables, screenplays, etc.), but this is the first time I’ve finished a novel. I can say without a doubt that it is by far the longest and hardest thing I’ve ever written. Throughout the whole process, it was solely up to me to find time to write, to then use that time to actually write, to cut words in some places and edit them in others, etc. There was no external force forcing me to continue or to quit. The whole process was dependent on me. And because of that, my accomplishing my goal is that much sweeter.

It’s that much more encouraging, and I have that much more self-confidence in my ability to not just write, but do that which I set my mind to. Given my past experience with achieving these truly individual goals, I know that this high will carry me for a while, propelling me to perform better and achieve other goals of mine for quite a while.

That’s why these truly individual goals are important. They encourage you and help you believe in yourself enough to propel you to achieve your other goals.  I’ve been doing this for a while now

I’ve been doing this for a while now, and it never ceases to help me. If anything, it’s helped even more since I’ve been in college and more and more goals are on some level dependent on others. With that in mind, I encourage you to give it a try. Your truly individual goal doesn’t have to be as difficult or time-consuming as writing a novel, but pick something that you want to accomplish that is solely dependent on you and your actions. And when you achieve this goal, I think you’ll be surprised at how much it helps you achieve in the rest of your life.

Until next time.

– JP

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