the goal list
February 14, 2014
I’m a big fan of setting goals. I’ve written about it, given talks about it. Since I was a teenager, I’ve used a goal-setting technique based on a timeline: where do I want to be in ten years? What do I want to have accomplished in five years? By the end of the year? I’d review my goals every year, adjust as needed. This was a good way to make sure I was doing the little stepping stones that were necessary to achieve my long-term goals.
This method has fallen apart for me over the last few years. Mainly because I did it all. Just about everything on that long-term goal list? Making a living as a writer, my house, etc.? Done. My “where do I want to be in ten years?” list had turned in to “Same as now, only more so,” which is too vague to be useful. “Just keep doing the same things I’ve been doing” might be accurate but it feels…stagnant.
This year, I hit on a new way to handle my goal list and goal setting. Instead of setting everything up against a timetable — which simply isn’t as useful at age 41 as it was when I was 20 — I’ve set up a rolling list of projects: things I want to write, things I want to try, places I want to travel, and so on. Because that’s where I’m at now: I have this whole big list of things I want to do, but they’re not dependent on time or place, they’re just things I have to decide to do either now or later. And I don’t have to do them all at once. Every month or so, look at the list: what am I going to do next? What projects are ongoing, and which are do them and they’re done? What makes sense for me to work on now?
I think this is going to be a good way to make me feel like I’m still making progress without imposing the stress of an artificial timeline. I’m excited. Let’s see how this goes.