How to Set Goals for Your Passions
Setting goals…its a topic I love to talk about and one that people love to learn about. There are countless articles, books, etc. about setting goals to get further in life, make more money, or to lose weight.
But what about the things in life that light us up? For some, that’s one in the same with what they get paid to do, but for others (i.e. most of us), we put our hobbies and passions on the back burner because we’re so busy with our jobs, families, or other adult responsibilities. We relegate these to ‘someday’.
But, our passions are the things we need to make time for in our lives. In fact, I don’t see why we shouldn’t also be making goals for those passions!
While it may seem obvious, let’s pause a moment and talk about our passions.
What exactly defines a passion?
The things we are passionate about are the things that fire us up and make us who we are. Spending time on things that we’re passionate about brings happiness and fulfillment to our lives.
We hear a lot these days about making our passions our jobs, or if we do what we love, we’ll never work a day in our life. I don’t necessarily believe this. If what you are passionate about can be turned into a job and you have that desire to do that, go for it!
But, your passion does not have to be your job or even your mission to make it your job.
Why we Need Passions
Before we get into my tips for setting goals for your passions, let’s talk for a minute about why we need things in our lives that we are passionate about.
#1 | It Fires us up
Think about the last time you spent time doing something you absolutely, positively love. How alive did you feel?
When we’re passionate about something, it fires us up. When we’re fired up, we feel alive. When we feel alive, we’re experiencing life at our high points.
These activities can take our lives from being rather humdrum to joyful and fulfilling.
#2 | It Feeds our soul
Along with the first point, when we are fired up and lost in the activity that brings us deep joy, it feeds our soul. Our passions are tied to our being.
They define who we are because they represent a core desire or need that is being met when we engage in our passion.
By doing so, we feed our soul and take care of ourselves on a completely different level. Think of it as chicken soup for the inner most part of ourselves.
#3 | It Makes us interesting
Have you ever met anyone that claimed to have no hobbies, passions, or interests? Maybe they’re a workaholic or never take any time for themselves.
Regardless of the reason why, how interesting did you find them?
Our passions, hobbies, and interests are the extra notes that round us out. They give us that extra sparkle in our eye and when we talk about our passions, it’s very common for us to light up while doing so.
This makes us not only infinitely more interesting to other people, but it also makes us a hell of a lot more interesting to ourselves!
#4 | It Challenges us
When we find something that we absolutely love doing, we usually want to do more of it and, depending on what it is, its not unusual to want to do better at it.
That means our hobbies, and especially the things we’re passionate about, challenge us to improve and learn more. This keeps our brains sharper, healthier, and stronger.
It gives us something to work towards, which takes us to setting goals for our passions.
Setting Goals For Your Passions
Most of us don’t think about taking time to set goals for our passions. They’re hobbies or things we do when we have spare time. Plus, most of us have enough goals in our ‘regular’ life to keep us from wanting to add more to our ‘fun’ life! Right?!
But, if you want to take advantage of the fact that you have these activities and hobbies that you so deeply love, then why not set a few goals to help you improve and make time for it?
Setting goals for your passions isn’t that much different than setting them for your job or finances or health (actually…it’s pretty much the same!).
Step 1: Identify Your Passions
If I were to sit down to have a cup of coffee with you and asked you to tell me what you love to do, what immediately springs to mind?
Some of you will easily be able to rattle off all of the things that you love to do, so this would be an easy question for you.
But, for others, this might be your first stumbling block. If that’s you, then consider these questions (hint, hint: these are great journal prompts!)
- What do you love to do in your spare time?
- If money wasn’t an object and you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?
- Think back to a time when you were doing something where you completely lost track of time…what were you doing?
- What did you love to do as a child?
Step 2: Figure out what’s getting in your way
For most of us, having enough spare time is a big culprit of us not spending enough time on our hobbies or passions. But, maybe you have a serious addiction to social media or you binge watch various TV shows a little more than you care to admit.
If you’re not spending enough time on your passions and hobbies, then consider what’s getting in your way. Take a look at how you spend your time and look for time sucks that you can erase from your day.
Is it time, money, self-confidence, something else?
Where can you reclaim some wasted time in your schedule to work on your passions?
Get real with yourself if you really want to make some changes.
Step 3: Identify the first step
Once you’ve identified a few things that fire you up, it’s time to identify the first step in getting there.
But….let’s slow that train down because we have a few prep steps to get to that point.
What are Your Milestones?
The first thing you need to do is identify your milestones. Do you want to learn more, get better at something, just spend more time on it, or something else? Get clear on exactly what you want to do with your passion in order to start setting the goal.
Break it down into do-able chunks
Don’t let your overall goal scare you if it seems big. Big is good! Let that inspire you instead of overwhelming you.
To prevent being overwhelmed, we have to break this bad boy down into do-able chunks. By setting smaller milestones, you will narrow your focus, which will make it less overwhelming and it will feel achievable.
A few examples...
- If you want to learn more, that might mean taking a class, which means finding a class. So…step 1 might be simply researching what’s available online.
- If you want to get better at something, then it might mean practicing a lot more than you are currently. For example, if running a marathon is your ultimate goal, maybe breaking down to a 5K first (if you’re totally new to the running scene) or a half marathon first. Even with those, you’ll have to set some mini goals around your running schedule. Smaller chunks make it all possible!
- If your goal is simply to spend more time doing it, then that means reassessing your time and making it a priority. I recently wrote a post about this, so check that out for more inspiration.
After you achieve your smaller goals, it’s time to raise the bar to reach the next higher level to inch your way towards your big goal. And don’t forget…reward yourself along the way to celebrate your achievements!
Step 4: Make yourself accountable
If you really want to make your passions more part of your life, make yourself accountable by sharing your goals and objectives with a close family member or friend. Pick someone that will be your biggest cheerleader, but will also help you stay accountable.
One of my best friends is so great at supporting me that when I don’t achieve the goals I set out to do, she totally tells me it’s okay and not to worry about it. I love her support, but that doesn’t actually help me stay accountable, so be sure to pick that friend that doesn’t hold back and lovingly calls you on your BS.
Tips for Success
If you are ready to start making goals for your passions, then I have a few quick tips for your success.
Tip #1 | Know Your Why
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again (and again). If you want to stick with something you have to get clear on why.
Without really knowing why you want to do something, you’re less likely to dig in your heels and stick with it through the challenging times.
Your why is your anchor and your guiding light.
Define it and own it.
Why do you want to work on your passion? Is it to turn it into a job, bring in more relaxation and ‘me time’ into your life, get healthier, etc.? Only you know your why, so get crystal clear on it before you embark on your passion filled journey.
When you get stuck…go back to your why.
Tip #2 | Priorities, Priorities, Priorities
The #1 reason we don’t stick to our goals isn’t lack of time or money or any other reason (*cough cough* excuse) we come up with. The main reason we don’t stick to our goals is we fail to make them a priority.
I’ve written all about this in a no-nonsense post recently, so if you want to dig into that further, read my post Taking the BS out of Time Management.
If you want to turn these goals into reality, you have to make the smaller objectives and daily tasks a priority in your life. This is where knowing your why comes into play. When you know your why, making it a priority becomes a whole lot easier.
Tip #3 | Give Yourself a Break
Know your why and make your goals a priority…but…what about when life throws a curveball and screws it all up? It happens and that’s life.
Despite your best laid plans, you will fall off course, you will push it to the back burner, you will lose your momentum, and suddenly you find you haven’t worked on your passion goals in weeks.
Yes…I’m yelling at you. Do not beat yourself up if life happens. It always will. The important thing is to recognize it, recommit to your why, and work it back into your life by making it a priority again.
Don’t stall yourself from getting back in the game by telling yourself you’re a failure for having fallen off course. That’s a waste of energy. Recognize where you are, brush yourself off, and get your head back in the game.
That, my friends, is how you keep moving along.
Tip #4 | Take a Look Back
As you work on your goals, it’s easy to get caught up in looking at the gap between where you are now and where you ultimately want to be. That can feel daunting and unmotivating. We may even feel we haven’t made much progress so why keep going...
If you get to this place, and you will, I want you to take a few minutes to look in the rearview mirror at how far you’ve come.
Sometimes seeing the progress we’ve made is the kick in the butt we need to keep going forward.
Celebrate your achievements and use it as fuel to keep going.
Tip #5 | Share it with Others
Celebrating ourselves is awesome, but having our friends and family cheering us on is also fantastic. If you have loving, supportive people in your life, share with them what you’re doing (However, if you’re family and/or friends are the type to dissuade you or cut you down…don’t tell those folks. Guard your passion and your work on it like the crown jewels!).
Tell them about your accomplishments and let them lift you up and enjoy it with you.
It’ll make the entire process that much sweeter and since this is a passion project or side hobby that you love, it invites them into a new part of your world.
As with anything…achieving goals take a mindful approach. Just because your passions are something that's fun on the side doesn’t mean they aren’t important.
Having a nice balance between work & play is essential to feeling whole and living a full life. Taking time for enjoying whatever you’re passionate about is worth your time, effort, money, priorities, and energy.
Just do it.
Do you need help figuring out what you’re passionate about? Hit me up for some 1:1 time and I’ll help you dig in and figure it out!
It’s common to not know what you’re passionate about since we spend so much time working and adulting…give yourself a gift by making the effort to get to know a new side of yourself!