Goal-Setting (in the mind of a 15-year-old)


Around the end of the year, I remember how much I love reading about self-development. And the nice thing is, people go crazy about goals this time of year, so the blogs share a lot of reading material. I like setting goals because it makes me feel like I’m a growing, smart, wise person. Just for setting a goal. If I actually work on it, that’s a bonus. But simply setting the goal will give me little endorphins in the brain. (I always think of dolphins when I hear that word. I think we should rename them “brain dolphins.”)

This year, on December 31st, as the clock neared 10 pm, I decided I should set some goals. Here’s how I did it:

  1. I grabbed my sketchbook and drew up a few columns.
  2. On the first column, I wrote “Habit Goals”
  3. On the second column, I put “Number Goals”
  4. On the third column, I wrote “Identity Goals”

Using these columns, I came up with three goals and wrote them in each of the three different ways. Take my “reading goal,” for example. Under the first column, I wrote “I want to read every day for 30-45 minutes.” Under the second column, I wrote “I want to read 50 books this year.” And under the last column, I wrote “I want to be a bookworm.” Next I drew a picture of a worm reading a book, with the usual glasses.  See what I mean? Statistically, I have a better chance of achieving this than others who set goals. Not only because I wrote it down, but because I looked at the same goal from different perspectives. Also, I drew a picture. That’s worth ten points. Now I don’t have to actually work on my goals, because they will just magically happen by themselves.

Just kidding. I knew that wouldn’t work. So last night, I wrote out a few “daily’s” (things I want to do everyday) and a few “weekly’s” (you get the picture.) Then I decided to put all of these in a binder and review them every week. My idea is that I can check up on myself and be sure I’m completing what I want to complete. I don’t want to be obsessive about doing a list of things. But I do want to make sure that I am doing them most of the time. Alas, this probably won’t work either. So… What are goals? Why do we set goals? Do we only set them for that rejuvinating rejuvenating (that is a difficult word) feel of self-betterment? Or are we actually accomplishing something? That is a question I don’t know the answer to.

Here’s what I hope to enter the new year with: (of course, we’ve already entered the new year, but you know what I mean) I just want a passion to do and be better. Not because I have some high and mighty idea that if everyone improved themselves we’d make the world a better place, (maybe I should have that idea) but because I like being better. I like knowing more and having fun through fiction, so I want to read more. I like being energized and feeling refreshed, so I want to walk and exercise more. I think we set goals because we really just want to like ourselves better (at least, most goals are like that).

But the replacement for that is not to simply refrain from setting goals. Or even “decide to like oneself and then move on.” The solution is to stop thinking about ourselves as much. As CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of…” What’s that last part? That one always confuses me. I’ll Google it. Here it is: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Isn’t that great?

Please, set goals this year. But remember this: even if you never attained physical fitness, academic stature, or a perfect social status, you could be awesome. Just by focusing on others. The moment we give up on dying with an impressing legacy, we get a lot closer to dying with an impressing legacy. People care about people who care. Not about people who are smart and cool and always on top of things. So… This year, purpose to be better and not focus on yourself as much. This blog post is all the retrospection I get for like, a whole month.

Thanks for reading this blog post. If nothing else, you got a really good CS Lewis quote. Hopefully you gleaned some other benefits too.

Happy New Year!






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  1. Thank you! I appreciate hearing that. I like writing that way, but I think it’s a little bit harder to skim through. I told Lissy that if I could write this way all the time and people liked it, that’s all I would write:) I just thought… I’m writing a little sci-fi/mythical fantasy tale that I think you would enjoy reading. I’d appreciate your input on it, too. You should get a link to view it and comment on it via Google docs soon.


  2. I’m the same way. I hear those statistics about 70% of people not finishing their goals, and I’m like “I don’t want to just do that.” I think we just have to really ask ourselves if we want to do something and will do it. If the answer is a firm “yes,” we’ll probably get there. Even though I am often annoyed by super-crazy self-development people, Michael Hyatt has really shaped my thinking on goals through his podcast and blog. Also, Leo Babuata from zenhabits.com is a good thinker on setting goals. Love you, Grandma. I love seeing comments from you. And this Christmas was a really sweet one. Many gifts. You seemed to enjoy watching my movies with me:) I loved talking over food at Qdoba with you. Hope to see you soon.


  3. I Googled that quote, and I found that Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That is truly a wonderful quote, and really true. She also said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” That’s a good one too:) Angelou was an authoress and poet, and died on May 28th, 2014. Thank you for your kind words, again. I really appreciate your comments.


  4. I totally enjoyed your article~it actually made me want to set some goals for myself. However, I don’t want to make New Year’s resolutions that I do not intend to keep. So, reading through your article was insightful! Sure enjoyed spending time with you over Christmas! Love you~Grandma G


  5. I love the C. S. Lewis quote; it is so relevant and will be a part of my goal setting–to think of myself less. I like the saying too, and don’t know who said it, but it is, “people don’t remember what you say but they remember how you made them feel”. Isn’t that good and true! I know it is for me. Thank you for your thoughts on goal setting. I always appreciate your ideas.