When it comes to goal setting and accomplishment I don’t think I’ve ever hit a bulls-eye. Nonetheless, setting goals and tracking my progress is the most surefire trick I have to change or improve my habits.
I made it my goal to write a blog post everyday in the month of January so that I would get back into the habit of blogging, which I love, and expressing myself, which I find freeing, and honing my writing skills, which were growing dull from lack of use.
It’s only the 12th of January today and I’ve missed three days of posting. On the one hand, I feel a twinge of disappointment at my shortfall, and that’s a regular part of tracking goals because I never score 100 percent. But the disappointment is chased away at the gladness I feel when I realize that with the 8 posts that I have written comes the changed habit. I’m back into blogging. I do revel in that certain free and happy feeling that arrives in my soul after I write, and hopefully, well, theoretically, my writing is automatically improving from practice, even if only imperceptibly at this point.
A couple of years ago I found the same thing. I was working out more often and at one point I had the goal of going to the gym 5 days each week. I hardly ever hit my target. But I was going to the gym at least three days a week, sometimes four, and occasionally 5. That was a huge improvement over the zero, one or two that visits that would be my habit without a goal to improve. I’ve only just been coming aware of this pattern and am looking forward to employing it to my own benefit over the course of the next 11 months of resolution setting.
There must be some weird psychological reason why I don’t ever actually meet my goals. I don’t understand what that is, and it would be interesting to figure that out. In the meantime, I will try and manipulate myself based on what I know about myself. I won’t set realistic goals. It simply isn’t realistic for me to blog every day without fail. The other afternoon I had visits with six different individuals that I love and care about and don’t get to see often enough. And when I got home, my husband wanted to hang out. I willfully said no to blogging that day because in order to do it, I would have had to say no to something better – spending time with the people I love. When setting my January goal, I knew there would be days like that, but I set the blog everyday goal anyway. Some people say that the route to success is to set realistic goals, but I have found that no matter how high or low I set them, my success rate is about the same. So I aim a little higher on purpose.
So cheers to my ninth post in the first 12 days of January. Cheers to goal setting and chart keeping. Cheers to the unending quest for self-improvement.