New Grad Perspectives: Goal Setting

My name is Meg Runyan. I'm a recent graduate of the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and am pursing my massage therapy license in IL. I'm excited for my new career of of helping people find relief from pain and reconnection with their bodies and I invite you to join me. Over the next several months I will be documenting my journey on the ClinicSense blog.


As I wait for my massage therapy license I’ve decided to spend some serious time working on my goals. It’s a struggle for me. It feels like pulling teeth. But I know it’s important. Goals help us find direction, inspiration, and organize our actions. But how often do I write my goals down or make a plan to achieve them? Rarely, but now that I have time, I am going to do the teeth-pulling work of setting goals and making a plan.


Goals tend to live in that nebulous world of ideas and dreams, fun to think about but hard to nail down. I hate writing ideas down. It makes them so concrete. Setting goals and planning can be boring or at worst intimidating. How do I take an inspirational idea and turn it into a plan without killing it? What if I find out my goal is impossible?


And to all that, I say, “So what?” So what if setting goals is a struggle? It’s worth the struggle! There is some sort of magic in writing something down. It becomes more real. Making a plan helps organize my efforts and actually gives me more confidence in my goals. I start to see my goals as more than inspiring ideas, but as future realities. And that is empowering!


So I have been spending time brainstorming, writing ideas down, and asking myself what I really want out of life. First, I write down my values, those ideas that are important to me. Then I write down different goals that I have, things I want to do, places I want to go, things I want to have. Next, I compare them to see if my goals reflect my values. If they don’t I’ll set those goals aside for now.


The goals that do match my values then get some work. I make sure the goals are specific and measurable. I give them a timeline, (e.g. 6 months). For example, one of my 6 month goals is to see 10 clients each week. In 2 years I want to be trained in Lomi Lomi and Shiatsu. I then list steps to reach my goals. I think about possible obstacles and possible creative solutions. I even write down something I can do within the next 48 hours to move towards my goals no matter how small that step may be. Over time I check in with my plan to stay motivated and to check off what I’ve accomplished. It’s gratifying and empowering!


On days when working on my goals is extremely difficult, I give myself a break. I go clean my refrigerator (How long has that green slime been lurking back there!?), a closet or a junk drawer. These activities give me a sense of release and strength. It’s a breath of fresh air and sometimes that’s just what I need to get my butt back in the chair to work on goals and planning.


If it’s been a while since you’ve worked on your goals, start today. What is it you want out of life? And if that’s a bit overwhelming, then go clean out your fridge! I’m serious. It’s amazing how good it feels!