Wednesday, October 8, 2008

On Setting Goals

In this post I have something to say, but mostly I want to listen.

When I set out to write at least 1k words per day, it seemed like an achievable goal, but I knew I wouldn't do it all the time. I knew that sometimes I would do my best, but it just wouldn't work out. I'd get lazy, or I wouldn't find the time, or my hands would abruptly fall off or something (I hate when that happens). The plan was to admit it here, pick myself up, brush off the metaphorical dust, and try again.

The idea was to set a goal that was reachable, but also a stretch, and to be understanding that since I was stretching, I would sometimes fail. I suppose there was also the germ of the idea that when the goal became too easy and I was hitting the mark effortlessly, I would move the goalposts up a little and make it, say 1.5k a day. Or, alternately, I might reward myself with more flexibility and change my goal to 5k a week rather than 1k every weekday. Or a little of both: 7k a week, to be written whenever I choose.

But hearing about this goal, some have said that I am setting myself up to fail. The philosophy they espouse is to set goals I can achieve now. Certainly, the goal should be a reach, but only in the sense that I will have to work for it, not in the sense that I will fail very often. These people suggest 3k a week, with flexibility, as a good starting point.

I am currently inclined to remain with my initial goals and write 1k a day, every weekday. I like the structure and the regularity of it. As writing has become more routine this past week, I have become increasingly happy with myself as a writer. I also suspect that my writing is better, but no one other than me has actually read it yet, so who knows?

Anyway, I'm interested in hearing what my readers (assuming I have any; my Blogger dashboard says I'm being followed by one person, so 'reader,' at least) have to say about this. How do you pace yourselves, set goals, and try to achieve them?

* * *

Speaking of wordcount goals, I failed in my goal Monday and Tuesday of this week. My lame excuse? I was driven to work on Monday and drove myself to and from work on Tuesday, which ate up most of my daily writing time (my hour and a half train commute).

I have sinned, I have sinned *thud* *thud*!

And speaking of *thud*, the captain of the burning zeppelin (that's me) is of the Jewish persuasion and will be fasting and begging forgiveness of his sins tomorrow, so don't expect a post until Friday.

1 comment:

dannielo said...

Great article.

If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A mobile version and iCal are available too.