Setting Goals

Over the last decade, I’ve signed up for Goodreads’ annual reading challenge, and my goal used to be standard 12 books a year. One year I read 15 books (I was particularly free), but most often found myself short (5,9, etc.).

Last year, I wanted to increase the number of books I read each year, and what better way to scale that than a goal that track against the year (so 19 books in 2019,etc.) . I set myself a goal of 19 books (because 2019), while knowing fully well it was above my punching weight (I wasn’t going to prioritize reading over rest of my work/home life). I fell short of the goal but read 17 books. This year, the goal is 20 books(because 2020), and am at 9 done so far, but likely to get much higher than my average from previous “busy” years. While the 12 books per year goal was achievable, it was in some ways holding me back from how much I was capable of reading. Now I’m discovering my own reading appetite.

We often think through goals and make sure they’re achievable before signing up for them. What’s the point of signing up for goals, unless we know it is achievable with some line of sight- Right? The big dreamers and achievers however sign up for massive goals – land on Mars, build the largest company, change the face of poverty ,etc. I suspect these visionaries have made a habit of setting goals bigger than their current lives, and over time gain more confidence in crossing the bridge between their current state and their aspirational goal state.

So, while logic tells you the realm of possible, I think goals help you explore the world of the attainable. Goals shouldn’t be based on logic, and in some way be pulled out of thin air. In order to balance logic and aspirations, I’ve been working on two changes:

  1. Set goals based on instinct – in the realm of aspirational and motivational. Good goals should motivate you
  2. Use logic and planning to work towards them, and to understand how to cover for the short fall (i.e. goal vs. your line of sight)

The line between a large attainable goal, vs. impossible pipe dreams. I think that’s a personal decision. The test is – does the goal motivate you, and push you? If not, perhaps the goal is a bit too big, or often – you just don’t see a path between the current state and the goal. You might need some help to understand that path better.

Keep me honest & share your reading recommendations –


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