It’s the New Year. By now, you’ve probably been making new goals or even reflecting on old ones. As you really think about and imagine your past beginnings, what comes to mind? Do you recall your journey toward certain goals and aspirations? How have these changed over the years, and what progress have you made toward them? Have you had success? Are you lingering on failures?
If you think in HD (like I do), you’ll possibly remember many fads from years ago–clothing, hobbies, or entertainment–and my all-time favorite: jelly sandals. It’s definitely amusing to think about the things we used to say, wear, and do, but did you know there’s a valuable lesson we can learn by comparing goals and fads? By finding the right combination of the two, you might just find the balance and inspiration you need to allow for the long-lasting change you’ve been wanting.
So what is the difference between goals and fads?
Think of goals as your destination. They are the endpoint of your values, and guide the direction of your life. For example, you set the goal that you’ll go back to college to get your degree. For some, the journey is more important than the destination. These people think in terms of nomadic goals, such as always seeking opportunities for education.
Use goals and values as your compass while you roam freely. Find what works for you!
Whether a goal is short-term or long-term, what matters is what it does for you, and how it encompasses your values. Find a goal that improves you mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, or socially. When you do that, a built-in motivator is that the goal serves a purpose.
Remember, stable goals that are long-lasting require intrinsic motivation (internal). Having some extrinsic motivation (external) isn’t a bad thing either. It holds us accountable when our own sense of drive runs dry. But what you want to consider is why, how, and when you will reach these goals.
Fads may answer the how.
This article is intended for general education purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please call The Stone Foundation at 410-296-2004.
Lauren Greenberg, MS, LGPC is a graduate of Loyola University in Baltimore. For three years, Lauren provided hotline crisis intervention for individuals with suicidal/homicidal ideation, addiction, panic and anxiety disorders, and mood disorders to residents of Baltimore City. In addition to her work at Goucher College, Lauren provides individual and group sessions on a crisis residential unit. Her professional interests and areas of study include positive psychology, promoting social and emotional competence, and women’s issues.