Goal Setting for Over Achievers
I’ll admit it. In addition to being a recovering Netflix Addict, I’m also an over achiever. I often set unattainable goals and then become frustrated for not achieving them. Here are some of the goals I’ve not attained: Losing 10 pounds in a month, making 20 marketing phone calls a day, going to one live networking event a week, making X amount of dollars a year, walking the El Camino Santiago by 2017.
About a week ago, I decided to publish a blog post every day. This means, rain or shine, sickness or health, holidays and birthdays, I will share 600-800 words of wisdom. Today is Day 5. So far so good, right? Only 360 posts to go!
I am a writer and a writing coach, so this over achiever’s goal is not unreasonable is it? During my writing workshops I always advise people to get into a writing habit. Pick a time that works for you and write for at least 15 minutes every day. My time is early morning. 5:30 a.m. to be exact. That’s exactly what I’m doing. Following my own advice.
What makes the daily post even more reasonable, I rationalize, is that I’ve done it before. One year I posted 365 writing prompts—one for each day, but they were short (less than 100 words), and I wrote them in a couple of weekends.
So, what’s the problem?
I don’t need to gaze into a crystal ball to see that I’ve set myself up for failure.
This morning is garbage day. The trucks come clanging down my street at 5:00 a.m. I’m wide awake. The first thing I think about is coffee. The second thing is what will I post about today? And, can I get it done before I walk the dogs at 7:45 and pack for a two-day spa day in honor of a friend’s “big” birthday. We’re leaving at 10:30 a.m. I’m pretty sure I’ll get the post written, but uploaded with a photo….
Then there’s tomorrow’s post? No, I’m not bringing my laptop to a getaway. That’s ridiculous. Day 6 probably won’t have a post either. Aghhhhh!!!
Let’s be honest here. Regardless of our goals and the best of intentions, life can and will get in the way. The flow gets interrupted and the next thing you know, the goal is on the back burner soon to be forgotten. At least that’s how it often goes for me. It’s why I never lose 10 pounds, or make those marketing calls, or go to those events, or make six figures!
What’s the solution?
This is when I take a 15-minute break to tap into my subconscious—meditate and ask for guidance…. And get a second cup of coffee.
Here’s what my wiser self suggests:
- Set more realistic goals. Regarding the blog posts, aim for 3-5 posts a week. Only post on weekdays. Spend the weekend reading and researching content for the next week and having fun. Aim for quality over quantity. Enjoy the process.
- Have a compelling why. Why am I doing this? Good question! I like to write. I like sharing information. To walk the talk. What kind of coach would I be if I wasn’t writing every day? To see what happens when you consistently post on Linkedin. Are these reasons compelling enough to keep it going? Time will tell.
- Practice self-awareness and compassion. What is most important at this point in my life? The truth: I want to enjoy whatever I’m doing and share what I can. Beating myself up for self-imposed deadlines is no longer an option.
So, faithful readers, because my primary goal is to enjoy life, I’m giving myself permission to miss Day 6. And, I’m forgiving myself for all the goals I’ve missed in the past. I hope my insight into goal setting for over achievers helps you too.
Jan Fishler is an author, motivational speaker and writing coach. You can learn more about her work at www.JanFishler.net and www.DontStopNow.us, the site of her latest book.