While cleaning out an old moving box recently I found a list tucked inside an old diary. It was a to-do list of sorts and the three top items said:

  1. Get a summer job
  2. Buy/find/make a pair of black pants
  3. Cut hair short

I was 14 when I wrote this list and I did get a summer job and I sewed myself a pair of black pants. I am not so sure about the third item, I think I cut my hair the following summer. But still, two out of three goals achieved, isn’t all that bad.

Most of us have goals of various kinds, long-term and short-term, big and small. Some of us write down what we want to accomplish, how to go about it and by when. Taking stock of our goals however, is something that often falls by the wayside as we get busy with everyday life. So what better time to think about the things you’d like to do, change and experience than during summer vacation? After all, this is the time when routines are shifted and time slows down just a little bit, leaving room for reflection.

As an expat you may feel like you have to examine most everything in your life and reconsider all of your previously set goals. Perhaps you are thinking that since your circumstances have changed drastically, maybe your goals should as well.

That can be a jarring and overwhelming thought and I would say one that isn’t really true. Sure, you may find that some goals need to be adjusted, and you may discover a whole new set of goals simply because you have new perspectives and inspirations. For many however, the immediate goal when first arriving in a new country is pretty given as you are trying to adjust to a new culture and learn to speak a foreign language.

However, once the moving dust has settled, taking a closer look at your goals is a good idea. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started, such as:

  • What are my short-term goals?
  • What are my long-term goals?
  • What goals have I achieved so far this year?
  • What am I struggling with in terms of reaching set goals?
  • What kind of adjustments do I want to make?

Lastly, having a plan for how to achieve your goals is important. Goals without plans become wishes more than anything else, and wishes are subject to luck and the benevolence of others. A goal with a plan is your own creation all together, and one you can make happen!

By: Felicia Shermis

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