Do you set goals?

I will confess that I have never been much of a goal setter. My husband is just the opposite. He is, in fact, the one that pointed this out to me quite recently. At the time I vehemently denied his accusation.

Doesn’t everyone set goals? How could I not set goals?

The reality is that I have set intentions, but the practice of setting rock hard, concrete and specific goals seems to have evaded me over the years. I am not sure if this is an issue of nature versus nurture or perhaps just a unique personality quirk.

My mom may have noticed this when I was younger, as I do recall her sharing with me a template that she used with her graduate students. The template laid out how to set and achieve short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. It was an excellent template. Not only did it ask you to layout your goals, it also asked you to list who could help you achieve your goals and to think about who or what could negatively impact your ability to achieve your goals.

I completed the worksheet because I like worksheets. I also like tests and questionnaires. I like to fill things out. I like information and writing and feeling like I have accomplished something. And so, I completed my mom’s worksheet. I felt like I accomplished something. And then I went on my merry way. I didn’t commit to achieving the goals that I had set…maybe I didn’t actually complete the worksheet. To be honest, it is all a bit fuzzy.

Measuring Success

There is something about turning 40 that does cause one to look back and assess, to gaze at the navel a bit more than usual. As I mentioned in another post, one mistake that I have made in my life is not doing things because of a fear of failing. Another miscalculation that I believe I have made, is not understanding the relationship between setting goals and having a sense of achieving success.

As someone that appreciates metrics and measures of success in the world, this is a little bit embarrassing to confess. How exactly, did I think I could measure my success if I didn’t have a starting point and an ending point by which to measure it? How can I measure my success or failure in achieving a goal, if I haven’t exactly HAD a goal?

Although I have done many interesting things, learned many interesting things, created friends, won influence, achieved good grades, and so on…I have lacked the feeling of being successful. At first, when I started to study the practice of gratitude, I thought that perhaps my lack of successfulness was related to a lack of self-gratitude. I now realize it is in fact due to a lack of setting goals. By vaguely moving forward based on my interests and desires, I have certainly done a lot; however, without knowing if I have achieved or missed the mark when it comes to specific goals, I have not had a personal metric by which to measure my own success. Oops.

And so, my intention for my 40th year is not just to “set intentions,” such as stepping into my fear but to actually set GOALs. Clear concrete goals. Goals that I can visualize and imagine achieving. Goals that can be used to actually measure success or failure. Or that can be reassessed and modified based on lessons learned. This is quite exciting.