Miss Every Deadline. Hit Every Goal.
Setting my own deadlines was stressful. A goal with a deadline is a chance to fail where previously no failure was possible.
You’ll need to make a big commitment in order to reach a big goal by the deadline. This can feel like too much. Is this the right goal to commit myself to?
It might be risky and not work out. It may be embarrassing or make you question your own abilities or self worth. What will you do if you set a goal, work towards it diligently, and then fail? Setting another goal and deadline feels hopeless.
A lot of emotional baggage went along with my goal setting process. In 2018, I got rid of a lot of that baggage. I was able to separate the utility of the productivity tool from my negative emotions that aren’t a necessary part of the goal setting process.
Setting Goals Is A Productivity Tool, Not An Opportunity For Failure
I had 2 big financial goals.
“I earn $4,000 per week net profit.”
“I amass $200,000.”
My deadline was January 1st 2017.
January 2nd 2017 was a painful day. I’d set a monster goal and deadline. I had full faith in my ability to do it. I put myself in the game emotionally and physically. I played to win. Hard. Every day. Then, it didn’t happen. The New Year passed like any other day.
When you dedicate yourself to something and don’t get it, everything comes into question. Are you really as capable as you thought you are? Have you been deceived? It’s enough to make you cynical, and most importantly, make you want to get away from the painful goal setting process.
I felt pretty bad about having made virtually no progress towards my very definite goal and deadline. I reset the deadline for January 1st 2018. Stay positive!
It’s January 2018. I still don’t earn $4,000 per week and I don’t have $200,000 in the bank.
Again, I see a deadline missed. A goal not reached. I don’t feel the pain.
What was so painful in 2017 wasn’t even uncomfortable in 2018.
Goals And Deadline Setting Shouldn’t Involve Negative Emotions
In 2016, setting goals filled me with fear. Approaching deadlines stressed me out.
Missing my big financial goals… twice… helped me realize that this isn’t necessary.
Goals and deadlines are productivity tools. They have utility. They are unemotional.
They aren’t even an opportunity for victory or failure. If you reach a goal, you are only victorious over something of your own creation. If you fail, you’ve failed at an idea in your head or some words you wrote down on a page.
You are victorious or fail at material objectives, but the goal you set in your mind is only a reflection of possible objectives. It’s a mental tool to help you reach real world ends and it is nothing to be afraid of. Failing to reach real material objectives may have material consequences, but failing to reach mental goals only leads to self-imposed mental consequences.
If avoid goal setting because you are afraid of negative emotions, such as stress or anxiety about an approaching deadline, then you are disregarding an very valuable and unemotional productivity tool because of your emotional reaction to it. It has utility. Goals and deadlines help you accomplish real things and reach material objectives, and when you don’t use them you’re left with a productivity handicap.
Once you decouple your fear, anxiety, pressure, stress and worrying from your goal and deadline setting, you can begin using these productivity tools the way they are meant to be used, without the emotional baggage.
You can clearly see and measure your progress.
You gain time-perspective. You know the length of a week, month, and year, and what it’s possible to achieve in that time.
You can analyze your current strategy. Is it working? Is it flawed? Does it need to be changed or thrown out entirely?
You learn which goals and deadlines are reasonably optimistic and which are overly optimistic.
You re-define your goals. Aiming more accurately while removing ambiguity.
You work towards your goals and make progress. When you’re not making progress, you’re learning. With feedback, you get smarter.
Make 2018 The Year When You Set Deadlines Without Fear
I thought that negative emotions were a part of the goal setting process. In 2018, missing my goal yet again proved that the emotions were a part of me, my story, my reality and not the goal and deadline setting process.
A missed deadline doesn’t need to hurt. It’s just neutral, unemotional feedback. You can miss every deadline and still hit every goal.
Set some big goals this year. Set goals with deadlines in 6 months. Set goals with a deadline in January next year. Set goals you might fail at. Set goals that scare you.