How I set value-driven, meaningful goals

This suddenly felt a little personal

Vanessa Qin 🌾

Mar 26, 2020



As a kid, I always rolled my eyes when teachers preached "SMART GOALS" or "GROWTH MINDSET." But, in recent years, I've found a method for goal making that actually works for me. It's not exactly smart goals, but rather meaningful goals. The term "values" has always stood out to me throughout life, in conversations, articles and moments of reflection, but I never saw how my own values manifested as tangible parts of myself. So, at the end of my summer before junior year of college, I decided to sit down and write out what I felt were my core values, and what were values I really wanted to embody.

Finding my values: Authenticity, Balance, Community, Positivity

I thought deeply about who I was and who I wanted to be, and came up with these 4 values I decided were going to be my "pillars" for the indefinite future. I wanted these pillars to hold me up to the best person I could be, and guide my goals and actions. In the end, I decided it was Authenticity, Balance, Community, and Positivity (in my head I referenced to them as the ABC's, or building blocks for the person I wanted to be). I set concrete, purposeful goals based on each of these values, and set clear reminders of these goals throughout my life so I would be motivated to make little changes in my daily routine. Example: I put the actual word "authentic" in my Instagram bio (LOL) as a constant reminder of my purpose on the platform. This made every goal feel meaningful, because they were tied to one of my core values. If you want to hear more about my explanation around the time I actually created these goals.. you can watch one of my old youtube videos here (cringe but tru)

Now: Intentionality, Communication, Empathy, Health

Those values have been in the back of my head constantly, and I think I've gotten to a point where I do feel like they have genuinely helped shape a lot of my growth over the past two years, and it's time to build new pillars to guide me through my next phase of life, post graduation & semi adulthood. Albeit this reflection is being forced upon by Day 6 of the 14 day blog challenge.. but based on some self reflection and reading over core values lists, this is what I want to embody moving forward into the next phase of my life: Intentionality, Communication, Empathy, and Health. (I haven't come up with a catchy acronym for it yet.) These are areas I value in myself that I want to grow over the next year.
I'll explain why each of these values matter to me at the place I'm at right now, but I have yet to set concrete goals or daily habits to adopt in order to make them happen (this whole post is basically a brain dump now).
Intentionality- I realize as I get older that my own priorities must be clear in order to make the most of the time I'll have at work and after work. Because of this, I want to be intentional with the things I do and decisions I make.
Communication- A lot of things in my life have shifted over the last two years. Finding friends who felt really right, joining a great team I love, and being in a healthy relationship have begun to teach me how I am as a communicator, how much I value good communication, and how much room I have to grow in this area.

Empathy- I think the last couple years of my life have been self serving – I worked tirelessly towards personal goals, and now I want to take a step back and understand my place of privilege and how I can contribute to improve the quality of life for the people around me.
Health- The last month or so was really, really tough for me. I had my first debilitating physical injury that taught me how capable our bodies are, how lucky I am that my body is so functional, and how our world is not designed/built for those with disabilities. I lost a family member; even though we weren't close, it's tough to see your loved ones grieve, and it resurfaced my own grief of a close friend. With coronavirus now taking over our people and healthcare system, this month has shown me how crucial physical and mental are. 
Anyway, that feels like a good starting point for my next phase of self reflection and growth. I'm not sure how to end this one.. so that's all for now :)
btw, cover pic was actually made from yours truly this time (in 2018 lol shhH)