People with written goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than people without written goals*.
That’s well and good, but sitting down to plan out my goals for 2022 has been really challenging. I don’t know if my lack of enthusiasm is because of the endless uncertainty caused by the pandemic? Or my feeling that many of last years goals resulted in epic fails. They failed for good reason, endless lockdowns have that effect. And I live in the most locked down city in the world. But I still feel flat from the lack of progress.
So where does the pressure to set goals come from?
Where does all the goals setting pressure come from?
It seems I can’t escape the constant reminder to set my goals down onto a page. Does anyone else feel like the pressure to have goals is coming from all angles?
The combination of email newsletters from people I subscribe to reminding me to:
- Set my goals
- Buy their new goal setting course
- Promotions for goal setting journals
- Podcasts discussing how to set your goals up for success
- And on and on
The result of all this for me has been
…drum roll…wave magic wand…ta da…..I’ve not set any…
There, said it. I’VE NOT SET ANY.
But it’s niggling at me that I haven’t.
I have goal setting withdrawal guilt.
Normally I love writing up my goals. It’s fun to sit down with my new year’s gaols journal, fresh pages, clean, empty and waiting to be filled with endless possibilities. I’m a stationery geek. Does anyone else remember when office stationery cupboards were a thing? But, in an era where you don’t need stationary anymore, hello paperless office, the goals journal is kinda my last bastion of stationary lust fulfilment.
So when someone in an online business group I’m in, put up a post to ask if anyone would be ‘interested in joining a goal setting group’, I leaned in and then… I hesitated. Pondering whether or not to reply took me through a range of emotions.
Fear of missing out.
A sense obligation to kick myself in the butt and get going on this year’s plan.
And then, finally, resolve.
I need this. So I replied ‘yes’. And just in the nick of time too because so many others had already replied, I nearly missed out.
Perhaps accountability to get me back on track and out of my funk is the answer. And I might meet some fun new peeps in the process.
I have always been into goal setting, so my recent withdrawal from applying myself to writing them and the sense of failure has been really unsettling. Is this covid hangover still clouding my sense of the future? Possibly it’s fatigue or burnout? Or am I just listless and bored generally and simply craving a change in the rhetoric?
Then I read a blog by Leonie Dawson, and the way she framed the experience of not achieving a goal made so much sense to me and alleviated my sense of failure. (Thanks Leonie!) I’m paraphrasing or perhaps even misinterpreting to suit my own needs. But the gist of it is that, when you set a realistic goal, perhaps it’s not always as realistic as it sounds when you plan it. I have a list of goals a mile long, so is it realistic to achieve each individual one of them. Probably. But I give them each of them reality test when I set them.
So, is it realistic to think that I can achieve all of them in a year? Especially a year like 2021 was.
Expectations vs reality
Oh my god, expectations vs reality. Sometimes, life does not unfold as simply as you thought it would the day set your goals down on paper. ‘Bring on 2021’ remember that sentiment at the end of 2020.
Well here we are in 2022, and who the f*ck knows what this year has in store for us all. None of us knew 2020 was a trilogy.
And that brings me back to the listless, restless, unmotivated slump I’ve found myself in. So can this accountably goal setting group get me out of my funk? I’m not sure but I’ll keep you posted as the year goes on.
*People with written goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than people without written goals. Telling a friend increased this rate to 78%!!!!
I’ve been on a break this week and gently taking notes on my phone about what sort of goals would be meaningful to me to achieve this year. And then I’ll prioritise which ones I really really want to achieve.
Then I will commit them to paper and follow Leonie’s SHMART goal system.
I already do the SMART, but I’m going to add in the H for Health component. (Check out Leonie’s blog if you want the full low down on what the Health bit means). Again, I’m paraphrasing but basically, add in some analysis to your goal setting on whether it is healthy to achieve the goal you’re setting. i.e. if you’re really stressed and under pressure, is it healthy to set a goal to run a marathon for the first time into your already packed schedule.
Is that goal really helping you move in the direction you want your life to take?
Or should you scale back the goal- work up to a 10km run perhaps. Probably more realistic and attainable and will not add more stress to your already busy life. Is your goal to run a marathon really a goal to get into shape by exercising more?
Let me know how you’ve gone with your goal setting for this year? Comment below.
And if you’ve gone into a state of overwhelm with all this goal setting talk, you might find my blog on overwhelm helpful.
Til next time,
*Study by Dr Gail Matthews, psychology Professor at the Dominican University of California.