Setting Goals When the World Keeps Changing

For many people, lives have changed dramatically over the past weeks and months – changes in business practices, changes in how we work, changes in how we connect socially and changes how we think about our health and the health of our families.

How do we set goals when the “new normal” seems so far away and unknown?  Here are some tips:

  • Let go of old goals. What goals or expectations are you holding onto that may no longer be valid? What seemed like a good project or target at the beginning of this year that is no longer realistic, or even important?  Letting go of your past expectations in the “old normal,” may help you look forward in a new way.
  • Pick one problem. Identify one problem that you are encountering more often than you used to encounter. What changes have led to this problem? How could you think about the problem differently? What one action could you take to make a change?
  • Start small. When the future is unknown and the environment keeps shifting, try focusing on short-term goals. What one new action would you like to try this or next week to make something better, either at work or home? Why is that action important to you? Small goals are valid goals – and can make all the difference when the future is unclear.
  • Ask for help. Even when we are social distancing, social connection is important. Talk with someone about your goals, and ask for help if you need it. Just talking out loud may help you find new options, and another perspective may help sort things through.
  • Celebrate goals you have already achieved. Pause and think about the adjustments and outcomes you have achieved that you are proud of over the past few months. You are probably more resilient than you think you are!  Recognize your own power in adjusting goals – even without realizing it in real time.

Goal-setting is not a one-time activity – it is a continuously evolving need. Part of coping with change is being able to adjust our goals to respond to new problems and needs. Picking one problem, starting small, asking for help and celebrating success are important ways to adjust your goals in these unique times.