I want to be an attorney, always have and always will. I was fortunate as a child, I never had to struggle with something most people do. I have always had some idea of what I wanted to do with my life; yes, it shifted slightly from time to time but I never found myself struggling with finding my passion. I remember being in eighth grade and taking a trip to the local court house like it was yesterday. While most of my classmates could not be bothered with the trip, I found myself loving every moment. I sat on the hard wooden chairs with nothing but pure excitement coursing through me. I had to be a part of this, I discovered my passion. From then on I vigilantly chased the dream of being an attorney and eventually, it took its toll on me.
From a young age we are coaxed into setting major long-term goals. 'What do you want to be when you grow up?', 'Where do you want to live someday?', 'What do you want to do after you are finished with school?'. We are bombarded with a constant stream of questions, some of which involve situations years in the future. It can be overwhelming to attempt to address these questions and that is how it should be. I am sure at some point you wanted to be the President of the United States, I know I did. We all go through this phase where we want to be the figure-head of the nation but eventually we grow out of it. While this may not have seemed to be a big transition at the time, it sets the precedent for the duration of your life.
Learning how to set goals is an essential part of life but learning how to outgrow them is just as important. When you create a long-term goal, you are committing to that dream. While you can always adjust them, you have made a decision to do everything in your power to obtain that goal. I thought my plan of becoming an attorney should be riddled with prestigious schools and internships so I worked according. However, I found overtime the process I had laid out for myself was dangerous. I began to lose the passion I once had and it terrified me. I had pushed myself as hard as I could and I was unable to continue anymore. I had fizzled out. The commitment I made to myself was a burden.
This is what people do not tell you about having adventurous goals, they are a burden. Anyone who tells you differently is not being truthful with you or themselves. If you are striving for a ambitious career be prepared to put in more work than you imagined. I am in no way saying you should refrain from setting goals but I am warning on how they can become tiresome. I have found setting several short-term goals in order to achieve my overall goal has kept me from losing momentum. Rather than focusing solely on the big picture, think about several little pictures. Tackle each one as you see fit and focus on it. Instead of constantly worrying about how you are going to achieve your dream, worry about how you can get yourself closer to a smaller goal everyday. Instead of thinking about how I will become a prestigious attorney, I first think about how I can become a better student right now. If I focus on my current academics, I will be setting myself up for my future academics.
If you find yourself struggling to maintain drive for your goals, set smaller goals to help you along the way. Celebrate each mini-milestone and give yourself a chance to take a breath. Take your eyes off of the prize and set them on tomorrow. What can you do tomorrow to help yourself in ten years? Take some pressure off of yourself and enjoy the process. After all, no one is going to be happier than yourself when you succeed.