This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Feel Positive in Tough Times

Power Skill 7

Set Short-term Goals and Build Resilience

Challenge yourself

The only way that anything changes are if things change. If you want your life to look differently, you can take decisive action to build the life you want.

First comes willingness and then comes action. If you’re willing to make the changes you want to make, you’re halfway there. 

Taking action requires commitment. Making this commitment in a way that can hold you accountable (to your community or family) is an excellent way to ensure you follow through.

The only way to get better is through continuous practice. You can achieve goals and make progress. You don’t have to be the best. The most important thing is that you gain enjoyment. 

Seeing yourself get better at a new hobby is rewarding and motivating. So, set yourself up for success by setting goals and overcoming small challenges.

Building resilience happens when you challenge yourself. Challenge yourself to be more compassionate, more mindful, or more active. 


Set Goals

The best place to start challenging yourself is by setting goals. Goals are a necessary component because they help you track progress and stay motivated.

You can start your goal setting by thinking about your wildest dreams. What would your life look like if you had no limitations? 

Create some long-term goals based on what you want your life to look like. Then, set short-term goals that support and lead up to these long-term goals. Setting these short-term goals enables you to take one step at a time toward a fulfilling life.

A large part of resilience is seeing the bigger picture. Think about what you can learn and move from there.


How to set short term goals:

1. Make your goal specific. For example, instead of saying, “I want to do a lot of push-ups,” you can say, “I want to be able to do 45 push-ups in 6 months.”

2. Set yourself up for success by setting reasonable goals. If you set a goal that isn’t realistic for you, you’re less likely to achieve it. You can get to know what you’re capable of by starting small and working your way up from there.

3. If your goals are time-oriented, you’re more likely to get moving on them. It’s a good practice to set two or three small goals each week. Your goal can be, “Make my bed 6 days this week.” If you want to have a project done by a specific time, set small goals to help you take it bit-by-bit.

4. When you vocalize your goals to someone else, you’re more likely to achieve them. This is helpful because you have someone on your team rooting for you. You also have an opportunity to share your success with someone and have encouraged you when you need it.

5. Acknowledge your effort. If you don’t meet a goal one week, think of it as an excellent opportunity to practice positive self-talk. When you achieve your goals, no matter how small, celebrate! 

Take yourself out to a nice dinner or watch your favorite movie. Tell your community, and they can celebrate with you. 

As you think about your goals, keep your values in mind. What are the things you value most? How can you live by those values? 


Live According to Values

 Using values as a guidepost is a great way to motivate yourself toward your goals. This is a valuable tool to implement because it will help during times of stress, confusion, and decision-making.

Your values help you determine how you want to live your life.

For example, if you value your community, you may invite your friends over for dinner once per week. Or if you value education, you might take a class at a local community college or read exciting books. 

By having a consistent set of values, you are moving towards consistency and meaning in your life. Values promote self-motivation and confidence. Your life is more fulfilling when you know what’s important to you.


Values can help light the way when you’re not sure what to do.

For example, if you apply for two jobs, and one of the tasks requires moving away from your family, you might choose the position that enables you to stay closer to the family if that is what you value.

If you value financial success, you might choose the job that pays more. Values are a concise guide to living your life. 

When you’re visualizing your values, it’s essential to imagine what they look like in action. It’s one thing to value kindness, but it’s another thing to use that value to help you be kind when you don’t want to be.

It may be helpful to write down various scenarios in which you might be able to apply your values. 

For example, the value of honesty might look like speaking up when you’re nervous or taking responsibility for behavior. The importance of safety might look like evaluating risks carefully or putting on your seatbelt. If you value health, you might get yearly check-ups and eat your vegetables. 


Follow this process to determine your values: 

1. Begin by making a list of ten things you value.

2. Next, shorten that list to 3 – 6 values and begin visualizing them in your daily life.

3. Write down each value and post the values somewhere where you see them each day.

4. Refer to your values frequently and check-in with yourself to see if you’re living up to them. If you’re astray, non-judgmentally bring yourself back to your values.  

Setting your values helps during times of stress because they give you a guideline for how you would like to live. Before you make any big decisions, pause in a moment of mindfulness, and consult your values. They often offer a stronger perspective.