I have a confession to make. I royally suck at setting and reaching goals. Whether it’s related to my blog, my freelance writing, or losing the 50 lbs. I’ve gained since high school (sometimes I think I’m the one that’s pregnant), I tend to make tentative goals and then I move on with my life and forget about them. I actually decided to be brave and take it one step further last December and even shared some of my goals for 2014. I’ve only reached a few, and that’s mainly by coincidence, not because I’ve been trying. And ironically, one of those goals was to set better goals. Oops 🙂
I Have No Time
This is my biggest excuse when it comes to asking myself why I don’t put much stock in setting and working toward goals. It’s true that I don’t have a ton of discretionary time. I get up between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. every morning to write before going to work. I spend all my breaks at work writing, and when I get home at night I try to spend as much time as possible with my wife. And there are so many other things to do along the way.
Even if I do take the time to set goals, I struggle with the follow-through. For example, I signed up for a 5k scheduled for October 18th, but I’ve had a hard time holding to my training schedule because I’m so busy I feel like I have to choose between running and all the other billion to-do list items I have running through my head at any given time.
So I always have these daydreams of a time when I’m a full-time freelancer and I have all this extra time to invest in my life goals. But if I’m honest with myself, the “no time” excuse is just a facade. I have just as many minutes in my day as everyone else. It’s simply a matter of how I manage it. And when it comes to the little ways of wasting time and killing productivity, I’m a champ.
I think the real issue I have (at least one of them, anyway), is that I am that person who gets discouraged when I’ve been exercising for a month and haven’t lost a pound for every day I looked at exercise equipment. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the result without doing the work. I just want to work really hard so I can get the result ASAP. Most of the time it just doesn’t work that way, so I give up and move on to something else.
In the end, I still get a lot of things done. I was fortunate to go from making $0 a month writing a year ago to almost $2,500 last month, and I’m still growing that. But there are several other aspects of my life where I feel like I’m just scraping by, and when I actually take the time to think about it, it drives me crazy.
Too Much Going On?
Managing a full-time job and a part-time freelancing business is stressful enough on its own. Add to that building this blog, trying to get back to a healthy lifestyle, finding a better job, keeping myself spiritually connected, participating in my local church congregation, spending meaningful time with my wife, and managing all the other little to-do items that are always floating around. It’s hard to have the desire to be fully invested in any of them sometimes.
For example, it’s so much quicker and easier to make a plate of nachos for dinner than it is to make a gourmet, veggie-rich meal. I’d honestly prefer the latter if I had both sitting in front of me, but I just don’t have the oomph to spend 30-60 minutes making it when there are so many other things to do. Every single one of those things I listed are extremely important to me, though, and it would kill me to get rid of any of them (except the healthy lifestyle, apparently. I’m doing pretty darn good at keeping that in the background).
Fear of Goals
In all reality, I think my biggest problem is my fear of failure. In some ways, it’s easier to fail without trying than it is to try and fail. At least it gives me a better excuse. I’ve become so use to just winging it due to my impatience and out-of-practice time management skillz that I’m afraid that I’ll just disappoint myself over and over and over again by trying.
I guess I’m also afraid that if I really set goals, you know those SMART goals all those weird productive people talk about, that I’d be tied down to a certain way of doing things every day, and that kills spontaneity, creativity, and more realistically, my ability to just be lazy sometimes. I makes me feel like I have to always be on my game, no matter what.
So I don’t know what I want to do right now. Maybe I should just start by reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (not an affiliate link, but 100% recommended) again. But then again, that would just be adding to the list of four other books I’m reading right now. I have a problem, people!
What do you think I should do? Do you have problems setting goals? Are you a goal-setting champion? If so, what do you suggest?