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Setting Unreachable Goals

This is my first post of the new year and it’s almost mandatory that I write about goals. šŸ™‚

And I will write about goals, but I’ll do it my way.

To start I want to say that this year I have a goal of posting a new blog post every week. And announcement posts don’t count. I’m talking about a blog post on a particular topic that I want to write about, not that one of my books is on sale.

If you take a look at my archives, you will see that posting on this blog for the last five years or so has been intermittent at best. Once I got started writing fiction and definitely once I started indie publishing, this blog went onto the back burner and I simply didn’t write for it as much.

As a side note, this blog turns 10 this year! I started it in June 2008 with a somewhat-vague idea of it being a personal development/inspiration type blog and it was really fun and interesting for a while, especially considering that blogging was really popular then and I met a lot of other bloggers doing the same types of things that I was. But then I started writing fiction in the fall of 2009 and that quickly became my main focus. I knew I wanted to keep the blog, I just simply wasn’t as active on it.

But anyway, back to the goal of posting once a week: Here’s the thing, I know right now that I probably won’t hit it. I’ll be close, but will I put up 52 new blog posts this year? Unlikely.

And that’s really the whole point. To pick something that is out of my reach and try to get as close to it as I can. In setting a goal you know you won’t reach, you often end up further along than having set a more manageable, measurable goal.

Having a goal that’s measurable is a goal-setting best practice, but I have always found this limiting because there is so much that can’t be measured really. Setting a purposefully unreachable goal leaves room for more possibility, more things to surprise you.

I also have a tendency to slack off when it comes to meeting milestones. So, for instance, maybe posting 40 blog posts is actually a more manageable goal, but I’ll see that 40 and hit 35 (I’m not sure why, it’s just a personality thing I think), but if I see 52 then I might hit 47. So the goal that I know I’m not going to meet will take me further.

I have a friend who has a goal of being 100% serene all the time. Anyone who has lived on this planet for any length of time knows that this is completely unrealistic, but again that’s the point. If that’s the thing she’s aiming for, she can continue to get closer and closer to it all the time without ever being able to reach it, but it keeps her progressing.

I guess it’s like that quote about shooting for the moon and falling amongst the stars, unreachable goals have their value, even if you can’t really measure them. And depending on your own personality you may actually find them more motivating.

Another great example is NaNoWriMo. Having a goal of 50,000 words in a month is a lot and out of the four times I’ve participated, I’ve only hit the goal once. But in the other years, I may have hit 25,000 or 35,000 and that’s still a lot for a month (for me), so having that big goal keeps me moving along and ends up being very productive even when I don’t meet it.

So in a year I’ll see where I am with the blog posts. But I can tell you this, I’m going to be blogging a lot more this year and you never know I may just hit that 52, and next year I’ll have to double the number.

Any alternate ways of setting goals out there? Does something work for you that goes against best practices? Let us know in the comments.

Published inPersonal Growth

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