Looking at your list of ambitions for the month, you might feel overwhelmed and unmotivated instead of excited. Why?

A person writes their goals in a notebook

It could be the list itself. What if you filled your life with FUN goals? FUN goals are...

  • F: flexible

  • U: uplifting

  • N: numberless

The acronym comes from Emily Ladau, a disability rights activist.

Use the FUN strategy to transform your goals from rigid to super rewarding!

Make Your Goals Flexible

Maybe you planned to practice guitar after work, but you had to pick up some extra shifts and couldn't find time.

Or you were excited to journal but found it tedious after a few days.

Don't beat yourself up!

Jimmy Fallon says,

Allow for the unexpected:

  • Give yourself permission to change your mind and make room for new goals.

  • Think of approaches for different circumstances (e.g., practice guitar for 10 min. vs. 30 on busy days).

  • Ask "How might we?" to find fresh solutions to obstacles.

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Jo wants to save for a down payment on a car. After some surprise expenses the past few weeks, they're off track. Jo made their goal more FUN by adding flexibility:

  • Jo decided to look for a certified pre-owned car instead of a new one, lowering the down payment.

  • They found a temporary side job as a tutor to help them save more per month.

  • After a "How might we?" brainstorming session, Jo is thinking about opening a high-yield savings account.

Make Your Goals Uplifting

You've been trying to cope with stress in healthier ways, but ironically this goal has been causing angst — especially on tough days.

As Ladau wrote on Instagram:

Bettering myself isn't a punishment. It's a process that should feel good, even when it's challenging.

Against a yellow background, a large blue ribbon says

Seek joy:

  • Celebrate small wins.

  • Adopt a growth mindset.

  • Align your goals with your values.

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Maria is working on being more self-compassionate when stressed. She wove uplifting elements into her pursuit of this goal to make it more FUN:

  • After using a breathing exercise in an anxious moment, she rewarded herself with a cup of her favorite tea.

  • When Maria started to beat herself up for overcommitting, she channeled a growth mindset and thought, "I haven't mastered saying no to coworkers...yet."

  • Maria values kindness. She decided to see every self-compassionate act as a way to give herself the kindness she shows others.

Make Your Goals Numberless

Numbers might not be the most useful indicators of progress. For example, if you're aiming to prioritize time with family and friends, quality likely matters more than quantity.

A clock face has

Question the need to quantify:

  • Focus on the present moment and the process of pursuing your goal instead of being overly concerned about the end result.

  • Write a personal mission statement to guide you instead of hard numbers.

  • Look for qualitative gains like increased resilience and self-belief.

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Damian wants to get better at public speaking, and he's been using scores on his performance reviews to gauge progress. The numbers haven't budged. Frustrating!

He decided to make his goal more FUN by reframing it as a numberless one:

  • Damian concentrated on finding flow when presenting (which involves focusing on the task so fully that time seems to melt away).

  • He zeroed in on a mission to inspire audiences with new ideas.

  • He reveled in feeling more confident at the podium.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Your friend has been trying to write a novel. They confide in you that they're stuck and ready to give up.

You ask for more details and learn that they

  • set a target of writing 300 words per day

  • are hard on themselves when they get writer's block

  • won't change the story's focus even though it doesn't interest them much anymore.

A blue notebook opens and becomes a laptop


What would make this goal more FUN? Select all that apply:

Take Action

Michael and Dwight from The Office raise their hands in the air in celebration

Get in the FUN goal mindset!


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