I love setting goals. Don’t get me wrong; nice, fluffy, feel-good goals like: “someday I’ll try oil painting” or “someday I’ll get a book published.” But goals like that aren’t helpful. They do little more than convince me I’m going somewhere without giving me the means to measure how (or even where). All the worst goals start with “someday.”
Real goals are specific, concrete. They include a time frame (deadline) and a way to measure when they’ve been met. Real goals are terrifying. After all, goal is just another form of commitment. And commitment is a very scary thing. Putting your entire self into something and saying, “Yes, I will.” That’s a big deal. Why? Because what if you don’t?
If you don’t make the goal, you’re a liar, an idiot, a hypocrite or just a flighty person who goes back on his or her word. I’ve learned the hard way what it feels like to miss a goal. And so to save myself from all manner of humiliation, I’ve found one simple solution: keep my goals private.
Sharing goals with others? That’s crazy-talk! Why would I want to take the hard road when I can take the easy way out? I’m not mental. I won’t be committed.
But there’s one problem with all of that. In keeping a goal to myself, I have absolutely no accountability. I might meet the goal; I might not. What’s the big deal? No one will know the difference except me.
What have I just done? Sucked all the commitment right out of my “goal,” drained it until it’s nothing more than a good intention. Which, in my book, doesn’t amount to much more than poo (and I’m not sure what that’s going for on the black market). I’ve had about a bazillion good intentions but few of them have amounted to anything without first becoming a goal. Good intention = non-goal.
Making a public goal is a very dangerous thing. A written goal is even worse. Why is it so dangerous? Because there is power in setting a goal. That accountability I mentioned? It’s the driving force that makes things happen.
“But goals make you have to work, and stuff,” you say. “I can’t just zone out in front of the television when I get home from an exhausting day.” And you’re right. That icky feeling nagging me whenever I start to slack off? It may not make me feel blissful but it’s my MVP for getting my goal accomplished.
Becca Is Certifiably Insane
So here it is, folks. I’m going out on a limb…way out. Call me crazy, but I’m going to make a goal and state it RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. (Yikes, that was a scary enough statement without the all caps.) Okay, here it goes:
I am going to finish the first draft of Flawed, Book 2: Outcast (my WIP) by the end of the month.
Ack! Now that I’ve stated such madness, my entire inner being is cringing with dread. It’s reminding me that I’ve only written 16K words on the thing in the last six months…that I still have (approximately) 14K words remaining…AND that there’s only twelve days left in the month. Ack!
All kidding aside, I honestly don’t know if I can meet this goal. It’s daring (kind of like when I thought I could jump my bike off a ramp when I’d never had any training or experience in the area). I may very well be humiliated on my own blog. The next two weeks will be very telling. But at least I’m not relying on good intentions alone. So there you have it. I may be crazy. But at least I’m gutsy.
What “goals” have you made but kept to yourself? What progress are you hoping to achieve? What goals do you need to commit to in order to make that happen? Now’s your chance! I invite you to join me in the madness.
*In the photo I look boss. Don’t let it fool you. This picture was taken approximately .8 seconds before I landed face-first on the pavement with a bruised pelvic bone, a bloody forearm, and grease-stained jeans. Which is why there is no photo of me .8 seconds later. Had this only photo of the event been instead a video, there would be no doubt of my stupidity.