Goals Can Simplify Our Complicated Lives

Hawken Miller avatar

by Hawken Miller |

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It can sometimes feel like everything is against us when doctor appointments and physical barriers bombard us. If we focus on the day-to-day challenges, we forget what we’re doing on earth.

I recently discovered that practical goal setting helps you accomplish more than you ever thought possible. The mere act of writing something down makes it all the more likely to occur. Science backs this up. Creating clear goals makes you 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to complete them.

Personally speaking, if I write something down, I feel accountable because it’s permanent. It’s as if what I wrote down is staring back at me.

Goal setting lifts some weight off my shoulders. There are so many things I ought to do that float around my head. It’s stressful having to remember it all. Plus, when you write goals down, they don’t seem as bad.

Goal setting helps with mental health, but it also helps with physical health. I have a BiPap, a cough assist, a power wheelchair, and an accessible vehicle to juggle. I regularly go to the doctor and attend physical therapy. Also, I need to stay on top of my nutrition so I remain at a stable weight.

If I can turn broad goals into a specific daily checklist, I feel like I’m in charge of my health outcomes.

How do you set goals?

First, give yourself a couple of hours to reflect and ask yourself some questions. What are things you want to do, but either you forget about them or you run out of time? Do you want to learn a new language, travel abroad, or hang out with friends more?

The answers to those questions become your goals. Make sure they are concrete and realistic. Business leaders emphasize the importance of SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based — goals. Having a focused goal you can hold yourself to that is attainable sets you up for greater success.

Once you have a good list of 20 or so items, categorize them. I broke my goals down into “career,” “faith,” “personal development,” and “health.” Those are categories I’m looking to improve.

Then rank every goal in order of importance. If you can’t get it all done, prioritize what is most important to you. After all, we are humans. Nobody’s perfect.

At the top of my goals list, I’ve written three statements that outline the reasons behind each task. I call them “underlying purposes to life.” If you can tie everything back to those statements, you are on the right track. Without an underlying reason, why do anything at all?

Now just do it!

Writing things down is half the battle. Now you have to develop a plan that works for you. Take your time. Don’t feel like you have to check off everything in one or even five years. Life is a process.

There’s a reason prioritization is important. Knock the difficult and time-sensitive goals out of the way first. The rest will be easier.

I finished writing my goals last week, so now it’s time for me to take my own advice. I felt a lot better after getting everything down on paper. Feel free to follow along and let me know if you have any questions. The more people I can set goals with, the better. That way, I can hold myself accountable.

Let’s get to it!


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


Ethan Brooks avatar

Ethan Brooks

Interesting article, Hawken. I think a lot about goal-setting for business, but never considered how it can make people feel more in control of their health outcomes.

I really love the idea of the "underlying purposes" too! If you have a sec, would you mind sharing an example of what one of those might look like?

Either way, thanks for writing this!

Hawken Miller avatar

Hawken Miller

Hi Ethan! I'll share all 3 of mine!
1) Develop writing and communication skills through journalism to share the Gospel with people that need it most
2) Inspire people with DMD and other rare diseases to reach for their dreams
3) Improve my health so I can happily enjoy life and extend my experience/impact on Earth as much as I can


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