original post date - may 26, 2019
#GrabAPen - Write It Down, Make It Plain
You have to write the vision down and make it plain. In this blog post, I talk about goal-setting, it's importance, and give some tips on how to stay on track while being on your grind.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you've seen me say this phrase a lot. Over the last few weeks/months, I've noticed a shift in myself and I feel like I'm entering a new phase of this thing we call life. I'm still a firm believer that adulting is a Grade A scam, but I still wanna do my best at it while I'm entering and adjusting to this new place. How do I plan to slay while adulting, you ask? By setting goals, well at least that’s part of it. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and that thinking has turned into a lot of writing. I told y'all that with this new place I'm in, I'm wanting to be more private. That means I'm talking about the super important things with less people and I'm writing and working a whole lot more. If I’m out or not with my journal (bc I LOVE a good journal) and something comes to me, I just jot it down in OneNote or the notes app on my phone so I don’t lose it. But, I’m always sure to physically write it in a journal because it hits different that way. It feels more real. If I see it, I write it down. I'm a strong believer that you have to write the vision down and make it plain.
I've told y'all before that I'm hella Type A. I need to have order and structure to function at my best, so if you're wondering why I'm so organized, that’s why. It's not a hobby, it's a necessity. Writing things down helps me feel like my brain is less cluttered. If I can plan for something, I will. If I can't plan for something, I'm gonna plan for it anyway so I'm somewhat ready for all possible scenarios I can imagine. One thing I LOATHE is being caught off guard or feeling blindsided by something I feel like I should've been prepared for. Like when I forget a new month started and Apple Music comes to snatch that $5.34 out of my account, or when I forget to cancel a free trial for something and then I get charged for it for another month. But I digress.
Part of me planning and trying to get my life together includes setting goals. Before I embark on every new chapter or phase of something, I set goals. I do this before the start of every school year and individual semester, and before the start of each new calendar year. I write them down with boxes next to them so I can check them off as I complete them, BECAUSE I AM GOING TO COMPLETE THEM. Brena Brink Goal-Setting Tip #1: If you're not going to put forth your best efforts to do it, then don't bother to write it down. Life is too short to be out here half-assing. That being said, make sure the goals are realistic. Many of us have heard people tell us to make sure we set SMART goals. It fells played out the more you hear it, but it's true. The goals you set need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. It's true, I promise. Sometimes these adults really know what they're talking about. To keep it simple, setting goals that aren't "SMART" can lead to preventable disappointment. That was something I had to learn the hard way. I only have one "amendment" to this rule of thumb -- the time part. Some of the goals I set don't have a time stamp or deadline. Like when it comes to how I want to feel about myself or comparing myself to others or dealing with certain hurts I'm still working through. The time part of the goals like these is me getting up and trying every day. Every day isn't a good one, but part of my goal is to go every day until I get to where I want to be. Another thing to consider when setting your goals is your reason for doing it in the first place. Don't do something for the clout it may bring you. Do it because you feel like it's part of the reason you've been put on this planet it when you were. Above all else, do it for you.
Once you have your goals written down, you need a plan. Brena Brink Goal-Setting Tip #2: Figure out what you want and then figure out the necessary steps to go get it. Do the work. You either grind or you become another gimmick. A goal without a plan of action behind it is just a wish, and we are not Ray J. Dreams are okay, but I feel like dreams aren't enough to change lives. Auntie Yoncé already told us. You dream it, you work hard, and you grind 'til you own it. Nothing worth having comes easy. Whether it's something as monumental as me getting into med school or something as small as me not being Mirror Missy for 6 hours out of my day, each of these goals have the steps that need to be taken to achieve them. Even the Bible says that faith without works is dead, so who would you be to think that just because you want something it'll happen. Sometimes goals you have will be dependent on other people to an extent, and in those times you just have to do your part to make sure when the time comes you're prepared. Stay ready so you don't have to get ready.
Okay, so you wrote your goals down and you figured out what you needed to do to achieve them. What's next? GO GET IT. Depending on what the goal is and how heavy it weighs on you, this may not be easy. When you write your goals down, don't write them down once and never look at them again. Use them as monthly, weekly, or daily reminders of why you're doing what you're doing. It's not going to happen overnight. Brena Brink Goal-Setting Tip #3: Trust the process. I touched on this in a previous blog post, but those three words carry a lot of weight behind them. Everybody's timeline is different. Comparing your timetable to someone else's is only going to affect how you feel about yourself. The person or people you're comparing yourself to are not worried about you. Stay in your lane and flourish boo. Trust me, I know it's not easy. I'm going through it right now. I've been real down on myself lately because I keep comparing myself to the same handful of people when I know I'm comparing apples to oranges. The only people we NEED to compare ourselves to are the people we were the day before. We can only live one day at a time, so you have to do what you can in those 24 hours. Some days will be good. Some days will be bad. Some days will be ugly. There will be times when you see other people with the things you want or things similar to then and you'll question if your time is coming. It is. There will be times you question if you're good enough for what you're working for. You are. There will be days that you feel like you have it in the bag, and there will be days that you wanna quit. Don't. Brena Brink Goal-Setting Tip #4: Remember your "why". There have been times where people have asked me what keeps me going or what I do when I feel unmotivated, and every time I tell them I check in with myself and remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing. Times will get dark. Believe me, I’ve been in them before and I’m in one right now. There will be times that all kinds of negativity will bombard your mind and giving up will feel like the only logical solution. In those times, you have to muster up all that you can and fight the negativity with the hope found in your “why”. Your “why” is the light at the end of that dark tunnel. Chase it. Hold on to it. Use it to help you rebuild yourself when you find yourself in a dark place. If you don’t have a solid "why" as your foundation, then what you're trying to build won't stand through the test of time.
While you're working and waiting, don't forget to clap for others in the meantime. Focusing on yourself doesn’t mean you can't celebrate others. It'll be hard sometimes, but nobody wants to be in the winner's circle alone. There's room for all of us, so why not encourage somebody else while they're on their way up? Idk about y'all, but for me, seeing people reach their goals and do great things is so inspiring! It gives me a push I need to keep going. That's part of the reason I loved "Homecoming" so much. Yes, I love Queen Bey, but watching the documentary or listening to the live album don't make me want to be her or one of the performers she had in the show. It makes me want to be the best version of myself because I know there are people out there watching and there are people out there who need what I was put here to do. Brena Brink Goal-Setting Tip #5: When you reach your goal(s), celebrate yourself, but don't stop the work. Outside of career and family and all that, my main goal is to be the best version of myself. As I continue to grow, that woman also evolves for the better. The only thing that’s constant in life is change. Life isn't a run on the treadmill or a 5K around your neighborhood. When you're able to check the box next to the goal you've completed, by all means celebrate. You worked hard and you deserve it, but the work doesn’t stop there. The marathon continues.
If you got nothing else from what I've said, get this. Goals are important to have and I feel like they're necessary for growth. They give us hope, direction, and purpose in some way or another. The magnitude of all of your goals won't be the same. Some will take longer than others. Some will take years and even decades to manifest, and that’s okay. Some will have more obstacles, and that's just part of life. When you write down what you want to do, don't write it down and forget about it. I do weekly check-ins, whether that's physically writing or taking time to think about it, to see where I am. Sometimes I know I didn't do what I should have and I don't want to do it, but I still have to. Don't be scurred. Don't let the fear of failing stop you from doing what you really want to do. The only way you truly fail is when you give up on yourself. Dream your dreams. See your visions. Set your goals. Write them down. Make it plain. Go get it.
Until next time, grab your pens. Live life. Be great. Flourish.