Tips on how to keep it realistic and productive in a healthy way.
I managed to fall asleep at around 10.00 p.m. yesterday and woke up around 04:00 a.m. today. I’m not feeling that tired, I just feel like I have been sleeping enough over the last few days so my body didn’t want to rest anymore. So I got myself up and made some coffee. Yes, I’m that kind of writer, the coffee type!
Anyhow, one of my goals has been just that, to get up when I feel like my body has had enough sleep. I’m trying to not sleep too much or too little. Maybe this night was a little too little for me personally, because my body generally prefers 7–8 hours of sleep, but 6 hours aren’t really that bad for me either.
So now I want to talk about my specific goals, how I manage to keep them, and how you can set your own realistic goals.
Remember that these are tips from my point of view and nothing I say is a universal fact that will work for everyone. Simply take what works and leave the rest.
Why goal-setting? What are healthy goals?
My personal “why”
I’ve always been a person that sees change easier in results than anything else. I’m quite frankly results-driven as a person. That means, setting goals, tracking them, and planning how to keep them is crucial for me. If I have no meaningful activities and nothing to do, my life often takes the wrong turn — in one way or the other. It can be self-destructive behavior or thoughts, and I really don’t want to be there again since I have struggling with self-harm and depressive episodes since I was only 11 years old.
When I have a meaningful purpose, often some kind of goal(s) that leads to something I achieve, it keeps me on track and makes me happier.
You have to identify your own “why” though. Why do you want a certain thing? Ask “why” until you really get it.
Making goal-setting personal
Although I work this way, I’m realizing that not everyone can do everything. Some people think that “If I struggle but if I can, you can as well!” and that is not even remotely true! It’s kind of an ableist mindset, to be honest.
So make sure to measure what you can and cannot do according to you and not to anyone else’s, or the standard that is “normal” for “everybody else in your age range”. We need to remember that society is built for abled-bodied, cis-gender, heterosexual, mentally well people with a good set of “starting points” such as having money, access to education, safety, food, etc. Not everyone has all of these things, so it will work differently from person to person.
If something works for you, then it works for you. You don’t need the same amount of goals as x person or y person. You can start small. That is okay!
“Goals” and “habits” go hand in hand
Some people don’t like the word “goal”. It sounds too big for some reason. I used to think like that. But think of it like something you want to achieve — no matter of size — and the habits you have are going to build up to that goal. If your goal is to have a healthy day routine, your habits can be waking up on time and eating enough.
A goal is something you want to achieve, and it has no rule in size. Your habits are building up to your goal.
The first step how to set healthy goals
Start with a goal that is small — even slightly under your ability to achieve — and gradually aim higher. If you feel stressed, stop right where you are! Don’t push your limits, because it’s a difference between pushing your limits and stepping out of your comfort zone. The last one is healthy in the right circumstances and situations, but pushing yourself is nothing I personally recommend.
Examples of my goals for the rest of 2023
I have set up 3 daily habits I want to keep, which I know is kinda easy for me to do. And I have 6 overall goals I want to do and/or keep before the end of this year.
- Wake up around 8–9 AM every weekday
- Journaling every morning
- Meditate for at least 5 minutes each day
- Start freelancing — with a maximum of 7h of work each week though.
- Study for a maximum of 13h a week (monday-friday)
- Release either the new music EP I’m working on or one of many ebooks I’m currently writing somewhere in December (but maybe even earlier since I’m in the finishing phase right now, both on some of the books and my EP!)
- Become an “essentialist” — which means not a minimalist but not owning too much either. This means I need to discard a lot of things and tidy up at home a bit…
- Read more books! At least a couple of pages in a day for like 3–4 days in each week.
- Keep uploading to Youtube and maintain my online presence.
Tips and resources
If not every goal goes as planned, I don’t beat myself up though! It’s natural to learn how you yourself work as a person and you need to start with what you have and slowly build yourself up. If I realize some of these goals were too big, I just make them smaller, and it’s also the other way around.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all here, you really need to feel what is safe and not safe, what is realistic and not realistic. For me, I cannot work or study full-time due to living with several disabilities for example! That’s why I set my goals of freelancing and studying so they equate to around 20h altogether, so they make part-time as a whole. Because I think that is what I personally can handle. For you, this might look very different!
Further tips and information
I know I’m late to the party, but I’m currently reading “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and I can really recommend that book and his website with articles and a newsletter at JamesClear.com . The book is surprisingly adjustable and is not just for neurotypical brains! But again, take what works, and if this is not a book for you, then that’s also totally fine!
Also, if you’re a student, you might want to check out the Academic Planner by Ruby Granger on PumpkinProductivity.shop. It’s actually surprisingly good and I use that planner myself!
My own resources
I’m currently building a new newsletter separate from this blog, for anyone focusing on self-care, self-development, and creativity, especially for neurodivergent people, but really for anyone who has trouble with the “ordinary productivity methods” out there. You can check it out here: https://trixjoyce.ck.page
Also, I have a digital bullet journal which you can purchase on my shop: http://trixartstudio.com/shop
Youtube channel recommendations
Some Youtube channels I really like that talk a lot about healthy creative habits and productivity, and/or psychology and well-being are: