I think for many of us as children, we were rather idealistic when it came to our expectations for adulthood.
We had so many ideas of what we wanted in life. We may have even begun to curate “life goals” for when we got to be adults, despite having no clue how we were actually going to accomplish them.
I specifically remember thinking “when I grow up, everything will be great!” I never wanted to nap because I thought adults didn’t need to (anyone else here wish for nap time and recess instead of this adulting lifestyle? It can’t be just me….)
As time went on and I got older, I came to realize a few things about the reality of setting life goals that no one told me when I was younger and man do I wish they would have!
So we started brainstorming some of them and have put together the list below.
These points are ones that I wish I knew when I was younger. My hope is that they will help you come to some relieving realizations on this crazy journey we call life.
What I Wish Someone Told Me About Life Goals When I Was Younger
1) It Is Absolutely OKAY To Not Know
This was really a big one for us which is why it’s first. For some reason, growing up, I had this idea (and maybe even felt pressure) that I had to have it all figured out by the time I was eighteen…
I needed to know what I wanted my degree in if I was going to marry the guy I was currently dating, what my career was going to be, where I was going to retire, and how soon I was going to start on it all.
People expect you to have so much figured out and it shows in their rapid-fire questioning. You just started dating someone? “When are you taking it to the next step? Do you think they’re the one? Do you guys want kids?”…. You just started a new job? “How do you like it? Do you have a good boss? What about your co-workers?”…
Seriously, as soon as something happens, they expect you to have it all figured out.
It’s a lot of pressure and sometimes, I’m over here life “if only I could just figuring out what I want for lunch! (helllllo, Panera!)”.
So if no one else has ever told you this, let me be the first to say: IT IS OKAY TO NOT HAVE YOUR LIFE GOALS FIGURED OUT TODAY.
2) It’s Okay To Not Have An Insta Perfect Life Goal
With social media and all these picture perfect posts that all your friends have, it can be easy to think that everyone except for you has figured out what they want in life. This couldn’t be any further from the truth!
Most people don’t actually know what they want, and those smiles on Insta usually hide a lot of doubt, fear, and insecurity.
That image you are seeing was probably strategically posed for, put through filters, and given the perfect hashtag.
Even IF that is their every day, do you actually want to have to live up to the standards of a perfect life? Because I’ve tried it and it’s exhausting!
3) It’s Okay If Your Life Goals Change
If you were anything like me as a kid, then you probably also changed your mind about what you wanted to be when you grew up a hundred times.
Every person is still childlike in some ways when they grow up. I’m not saying that you are a child, but I am saying that you are continuing to grow and learn and discover new things.
Which is why it is completely and totally okay for your life goals to grow and evolve as you do. Don’t let the fear of what people will think of you for changing your mind keep you from going after the goals you truly desire!
Here’s why, and we’ve seen this exact type of scenario happen countless times: let’s say you started going to school for a very specific degree. At first, it sounded amazing to you and you were really excited about it!… But, then as you started your college classes you realized that you actually kind of hate the topic! Not just, “oh, I hate this…” but an “I’m going to rip my eyes out if I read another sentence on this topic” kind of thing.
In the grand scheme of things, you may have wasted a year going in a direction you didn’t know you didn’t want. Here’s the thing though, it was JUST one year of your whole life that you spent getting a little closer to discovering something you do love. Because chances are, you would have switched directions after this.
So you spent money and time on something that turned out not to be what you were going to do but why spend your life doing something you hate instead of what you love for the sake of a year!?
In the same way, as we get more experience in life, our life goals are going to change…even if just slightly. It’s just a matter of when.
During these times, don’t beat yourself up! Give yourself a high five for realizing what will make you happy…and if you know what makes you happy, then you’re on the right track to living your best life!
4) It’s Okay To Not Accomplish A Goal If You Realize You Don’t Actually Want It
I recently heard about a study stating that setting goals actually makes people feel unaccomplished. While I get what they mean by it, my perspective is a little different.
People tend to set a lot of goals based on social norms or buzzes. What I mean by that is people will see what everyone else is doing or read about something some celebrity did and set that as a goal they want to.
The problem with this is that when you set goals this way, they are often setting them on a whim and not with intention. Then after time passes and they haven’t accomplished the goal they feel unaccomplished instead of just acknowledging that they never truly wanted the goal to begin with.
Intentionally setting a life goal and thinking something would be cool to do, are two very different things. However, they tend to be used interchangeably in many things.
Ultimately, creating a lot of unaccomplished goals and frustrated people.
If this is you, breathe in, breathe out, and forgive yourself.
Forgive yourself for all those goals you said you would do but actually didn’t, and then just move on with life.
Related Post: How My Life Changed When I Started Setting Goals
5) It’s Okay To Ask For Help With Your Goals
Life is a full-contact sport…and nobody ever makes it out alive. This one life we have is so short, and there are times that we are going to need other people’s help!
And you know what….that’s perfectly okay.
It’s totally okay to admit that you don’t have the answer, and need some help or guidance from others. In fact, the very step you took in finding this article shows that deep down you are looking for some.
People have been around for millions of years. There is no reason why we should make the exact same mistakes that others have. We can learn from them, and use those lessons to make our lives even better!
Not having all the answers doesn’t mean that you don’t have it all together, it means that you are human. No one has their life totally together and if it looks like they do, then I guarantee that they have help from someone.
We were never meant to do this life thing alone. If we were, we wouldn’t have been born into families and friends wouldn’t be a thing.
Seriously, if you need help with something, go ask for it. I promise you, your life will be the better for it.
6) It’s Okay To Not Be Okay With Your Current Life Goals
I wish someone had told me when I was younger that on this life journey, it is perfectly okay to admit when you’re not okay.
Doing this can actually be beneficial!
The most successful men and women in the world have all been through stages in their life where they had to wake up and just say, “you know what….I’m not ok.”
Mel Robbins has one of the most successful TED talks in history and is among the most booked female speakers. When she was 41 she had hit a massive rock bottom! After admitting she was not okay, she made changes to be better and is now an inspiration to millions all over the globe. You can check out her TED talk here.
During that TED talk, she mentioned that a third of all Americans are unsatisfied with their current lives.
If this is you, I just want to say first that it’s okay to feel that way.
Second, GO CHANGE IT. Only you have that power. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE GOALS. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
If you feel like you want a change in life, take time to reevaluate your life goals. Simplify what needs to be simplified. Find change for the parts you dislike and start your journey to living a better life!
7) It’s Just… Okay.
Let’s be honest, we put way too many expectations on ourselves and it can be wayyy too easy to beat ourselves up rather than just admit we need to make a change.
Instead of being hard on yourself, just take a step back, breath in and out, and tell yourself that it’s going to be okay.
In fact, it’s going to be amazing because the rest of your life starts right now! The past is in the past, it can’t be changed. Your future has yet to be decided by you.
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Good article. I especially like that you said it’s ok if your life goals change. I personally used to think I wanted to accomplish a couple goals, then realized I hated that line of work!
David, thanks for the comment! We definitely believe in changing your goals as you grow in life. It’s hard to set the perfect goals in life early on. As we get older and have more life experiences, we can begin to hone in on our true dreams more. It’s always great to realize what you don’t want in life as it helps get you closer to what you do want!