#Protip: Setting Unrealistic Goals and Why We Fail

Embracing How Much You Suck At Life

Picture yourself on New Years Eve.  You’re fat.  You’re a fatty and you love food.  You hate yourself.  When you look in the mirror, all you see is a rhinoceros: flabby, with it’s belly dragging on the ground.  But you love food.  Gosh darn it, you love food A LOT.  You made promises to yourself every year you would do that “cleanse.”  You would count calories.  You even bought a juicer.  You promised your spouse they won’t be ashamed of you anymore when you go to the beach.  But, it never happened did it fatty?  You inadvertently flaked on your own goal!  And so this year (whatever year it was you looked in the mirror and saw a rhinoceros), it’s the final, finalFINAL resolution.  The resolution of all resolutions!  The weight loss resolution that would put Richard Simmons to shame and send P90x into bankruptcy because your resolution is thee BEST!  And…It didn’t happen again did it fatty?

So how does one solve this goal problem?  Goals can be met.  We know people meet goals because they like to brag about it after they’ve been accomplished.  But, who can argue with them?  I would do the same.  When you look at the above scenario, one has to concede to the fact that this is the same song and dance we all know.  The song I  just sang is more played out than anything ever written by Hootie and the Blowfish circa 1994.  The sitcom like scenario is more played out than syndicated episodes of Friends.  We all commit to challenges and sadly, most of the time, we are never able to reach the goal.  Not like we don’t want to.  We just don’t have time.  Life gets in the way.  It could be anything really:  your job, a new love interest, children, or all three.  I think, though, the biggest hindrance in meeting a goal is not being supported by the right people; which I will get into later.

The Birth of the Goal

Obviously, I blog.  This makes me a writer of some kind.  Good or bad at writing, I am still equated to something of a writer as opposed to someone who does not blog or write.  I would like to think what I write is read in a way where people interpret it as something I am articulating to get a message across.  This is a writer’s goal, for the most part.  One of the plights of writing for me is always having these ideas floating around in my head.  I wish I could write them all down on paper, but I cannot.  I should though.  This blog is the end result when my brain defecates at the end of a rough day or week.

Recently, when I was in deep thought about wanting to write a short story, an idea came to mind.  A story.  In the beginning it was just a small plot, but, as I obsessed more about it – it became much bigger.  “Bigger” meaning, it wasn’t a short story idea, it was a full on novel.  I quickly began writing the ideas down that were relevant and worth meditating on.  As time went on, I began developing characters, plots, sub plots, opening lines, time lines, opening chapters, etc.  I then wrote an outline and began writing.

Setting One Goal that Greets the Real World with a Smile

I haven’t set any goals when to get the project done.  I don’t think I need to as there is no deadline.  One of the deterrents of setting a goal, to me, is haphazardly setting an unrealistic deadline.  This is a huge deterrent actually.  When you set an unrealistic deadline, the goal also becomes unrealistic.  Think about it for a minute:  You want to lose weight, say 40 pounds.  You have 2 kids in school and weekend sports.  You also work 40-50 hours a week.  You then say, “I want to lose these 40 pounds by June so I can have that ‘beach body’.”  Realistically, do you really think you can drop the 40 pounds in six months, not knowing what the future has in store?  Also, when you made such a bold statement, did you plan your gym visits around the 20,000 other things you have to do during the day and evening?  You probably forgot to factor in that you need to make sure you hit the gym because you know you don’t diet very well.  Finally, did you plan for the blatant “falling off the wagon” scenarios?  You know as soon as the Super Bowl happens, you are going to eat every chip in the bowl.  Why?  Because you are human and chips are good.  See how complicated things become?  Goals also become unrealistic when you forget to factor in REALITY.

Back to my novel.  I set one goal:  I want the manuscript published.  I don’t care by who.  I don’t care how it gets published.  I just want it published.  I want to see a book I can hold in my hand with the title of my book on the cover with my name at the bottom.  By completing this goal, it also gives me the right to say in a conversation, “I wrote a book recently, it was published by such and such.”  People will be impressed with that alone.  Yes, most of your typical, everyday, average people are this boring and rarely accomplished.  Plus, it’s not like I hub bub with well known authors or anything so, of course bragging to people (who can read) that I wrote a book is going to definitely give me some street cred!  But notice, I only set the goal to get it published.  Simple and to the point.  Getting it published means I have to finish the manuscript which is a task by itself; so why set more expectations and create unwarranted pressures?  Most people who take on such a timely project, never meet that goal.  I want to at least meet this one goal.  Notice also, I didn’t say, “I want this published by next year.”  Again, why would I want to add more stress in my life to finish this project that I am new and doing, and hindering myself from taking my sweet time to perfect the novel?  Another, less important, goal I didn’t set was making this book the next FIFTY SHADES OF GREY or TWILIGHT.  Don’t get me wrong, that would be really awesome, but the truth is, there are so many books on the shelves already.  I am not expecting my attempt to graft myself into Tier 3 of intellectualism to catapult me into Twilight or Harry Potter territory.  I mean, that is just stupid!  Although, if that did happen, I wouldn’t complain or anything.

Make Sure You Know What Accomplishing the Goal Entails

Knowing your goal is very, very important.  Do you know how long it will take to complete the goal?  Do you know if you are cut out to set the goal?  Do you know if you need other people, places or things factored into your life in order to complete the goal?  I did my research on novel writing.  One of the biggest recommendations was to get a brood of “beta readers” to read as I write and in turn, they give constructive criticism as I go through the process.  I thought this was great because, hopefully, by the time the manuscript reaches a real editor, I won’t look as stupid or inexperienced.  But also, I get to have a manuscript read by a handful of people giving different opinions on what the story should or should not include.  I am noticing it is better to have people involved that care; some will flake out – that’s just human nature.  But on the positive side, at least they went out of their way to give it a chance.  The ones that stick around will be the ones that share the same passion for your goal as you do.

Stay Away From Negativity

This leads to the final tip: stay away from goal hindering twits.  They are those negative people that won’t leave you alone.  You know who I am talking about right?  Those people you excitedly share your goal intentions with and they laugh at you, in your face.  IN YOUR FACE!  I hate that so much.  People like this, they inspire me to set a goal to inflict much pain on them without going to jail.  Having someone encouraging you is probably the most important factor in making that goal happen.  Why would anyone want to complete a goal when you have someone by your side telling you how crazy you are for even trying.  It’s these kinds of people who make me wonder if the only goal they ever accomplished was being a stretch mark on the belly of motivation.  The only people worth taking on your journey to complete this goal are people who share similar passions or people who legitimately encourage you, whether you are terrible at what you are doing or not.  The idea isn’t to lose tons of weight, or write a New York Best Seller, or skip across the top of the Alps.  The idea is to complete a goal because this will open the door to other goals as well as lay the positive groundwork for others inspired by you to the same.

I may, later change much of these as different goals require different approaches.  I am assuming that as I accomplish goals on a greater level, many of these approaches will evolve into something much greater.  Start small right?

I will end this with a fitting quote:

“Well done is better than well said.”

– Benjamin Franklin

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