Do We NEED to Be Goal Oriented?

Ooh, this is a controversial topic in my family right now. When I first started this blog, I wrote that my main goal was to live in the moment. I’m basically sticking with that one, along with:

  • Keep learning
  • Be kind
  • Like myself just as I am

There. I’m done. My yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals are right there.

On the other hand…

Ah. Blank.

My Cameron housemates, Lee and Kathleen, are very big on goals. They have fancy goal-monitoring journals that take a long time to set up. The journals help them set their goals for every period of time, and encourage them to evaluate how they are going, whether they are reasonable or not, and whether they need to be changed, due to life or whatever.

They love their journals. Lee took at least a week to set his up over the holidays. It involves many different colors of pens, too. I like pens, so this makes me jealous. Lee and Kathleen encourage and support each other in their personal and business goal-making and keeping. Since Lee has so many businesses, the thought of making goals for each of them for each period of time tires me out. (I do like all the bullets, though; if I had a journal it would be a bullet journal.)

Pens! Bullets!

It seems to invigorate him, though. He seems happiest when he is starting and ending his day with his day-starting journal entries and his day-ending journal evaluations. He has a purpose now, and claims he is able to get a lot more done, because he doesn’t get lost doing things that aren’t helping him achieve his goals. The journal really helps him keep focused and motivated. Hooray for him!

Lee’s favorite. SMART.

Lee’s always been big on goals. He’s been working on them since we were first starting our Hermit Haus Redevelopment business with Carol and Russell. We spent months having meetings where Russell told us about his goal-setting system and how important it is to have goals.

Russ has goals like “learn Mandarin Chinese” and “memorize and entire book.” Lofty goals, which he tended to achieve, too. Here are some of Russell’s thoughts on business goals (with a weird line break, sorry). He and Lee are both fond of SMART goals, which you hear a LOT about in business. If it isn’t measurable, it’s not a goal! (Oops. My goals suck. But I don’t care, I love me anyway.)

Lee’s ideal morning, minus milk in the coffee

How Can I Not Have Goals?

Well, of course I have things I want to do, desires, and wants. I’m a person, after all. They just aren’t my laser focus of every day. I don’t judge myself a success or failure if I do or do not meet those goals. Even my beloved Exercise app on my watch is just something I enjoy doing, not the goal I measure myself by.

What I DO have are daily to-do lists. I have a little notebook that, on most days, especially work days, I write down things I don’t want to forget to do, like make a doctor appointment, call the lawyer’s office (stops to call lawyer’s office in the middle of blogging), finish a document that needs editing, etc. If I don’t do it, I write it down the next day. These are reminders, not goals.

It would be nice not to have a to-do list, but I figure that even if I retire, I’ll still make a plan for my day (take pictures of trees, visit the horses, feed chickens).

Why Don’t I Like Goals?

There are many reasons why I prefer to not create yearly, quarterly, monthly, etc., goals for my personal life (I am required to make them for my job, since businesses LOVE them; they define success by things you can measure, not internal things like learning, getting along with coworkers, and being a good team worker).

mountain and dude
I’ll just see what happens

First, I feel really constricted by goals. Like I said above, Lee is trying to eliminate things that aren’t part of his stated goals. Well, I LIKE to do random things that just come up. I learn a lot by being spontaneous. That’s why I’m working so hard on going with the flow. If I only stuck to the things that are part of my Official Goals, I’d get frustrated. (Some would say, then I just would need to re-evaluate my goals a LOT, but that’s annoying.)

Second, it seems to me like the people who are very goal oriented spent a lot of their time making and thinking about goals, which takes away from time they could be spending on doing things to meet those goals. Lee tells me it really doesn’t take that long. My observations differ, but I admit I’m prejudiced.

Third, I’m just not extrinsically motivated. My personal “goals” don’t involve achievements that others can measure, count, or verify. I’m the only person who knows if I’m learning. Only I know if I like myself. I’m the one who knows if I’m living in the moment or dwelling on the past. I guess people can tell if I am being kind, but they may have different definitions and certainly don’t know my motives. Who knows, I could be being kind in a passive aggressive manner! Yep. I’m motivated by me.

om
Om. I wish I were all Zen all the time. But, it’s a goal. (HA HA)

Conclusion?

I guess it’s pretty obvious, but it appears to me that living life focused on specific goals work great for certain kinds of people and just aren’t appropriate for others. I’m one of the others. Don’t think I don’t have things I want to do or that I don’t want our businesses to succeed, but how I’m going to support these things won’t be written down and will not be my daily focus. I’m going to try to live in the moment as much as I can, while learning lessons from the past that I can use to enjoy the future as much as possible.

Thoughts? I bet Jean has thoughts. I bet Lee and Kathleen have thoughts (they all use the same journal). Any of the rest of you?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

6 thoughts on “Do We NEED to Be Goal Oriented?”

  1. Time crunching is my way to get a lot done in a day . Other than that, some days go by when I do nothing but feed dogs and maybe watch some neat shows like recent Time Machine and Logan’s Run.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have goals but I don’t think much about them. I end up living for the moment and like you, will focus on being kind, considerate, patient and understanding. I have had so much disappointments in my life that I don’t expect; I only hope and if it that expectation comes true, I will fully embrace it. If it does not, I’ll proceed to the next. Happy New Year, Suna! And all the best in 2020! MZ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Since you “called me out” (LOL), I’ll answer here. I was just getting around to working on today’s entry in my planner when I got a phone call. During the call, I learned the caller was in my driveway, and I said, “Well, come on in!” and I put my unfinished planner aside (I had written one thing — the one word I wanted that would describe me today (Present). I’m now back in my “recovery office” and reading your blog instead of “working on my planner.” I tend to write the same thing in “Today’s message to myself” — some variation of “God’s got this” to remind me that no matter what I think I’m supposed to be doing, I will be redirected if necessary. I guess that’s another reason I didn’t worry about my planner for the last two months. That phrase was first and foremost in my mind while I was figuring out how to move without excruciating pain.

    Since I was out of commission for the last two months, I have one complete planner I didn’t even fill in — I didn’t feel a need to document “only screamed in excruciating pain twice today” and “managed to remove three more days of appointments from my calendar.” I saved the Blue planner for March and April and shifted up to the originally scheduled Black planner for January and February.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, life does get in the way sometimes, doesn’t it? I’m so glad the screaming in excruciating pain rate has gone down.

      Like

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