WHY I PREFER TARGETS OVER GOALS

Monday, January 2, 2017


I love planning.

Penciling dates, times, and goals gives me a heady rush like no other. I love the feeling of seeing all my planning laid out before me, the feeling of being organized, the feeling of having my life together.
However, that feeling lasts about two point three seconds before I somehow manage to mess it up. As much as I love planning, I’m terrible at sticking to plans. The past couple of years, I’ve planned out my life to a T, and by the end of the year, my well-laid plans and good intentions have always imploded and drifted away in fragments.

Because, see, as a person, I’m always changing. In 2015, I wanted to have an agent by the end of the year; about three months in, I realized that my writing majorly sucked and that there was no way on earth an agent would pick me up for my writing. So I went on a fiction-writing break, focused on my blog, and poof! all my dreams and plans were for naught.

In 2016, I started Silver Mess in hopes that it would be a blog about creativity. Further along, I realized that I wanted to have a less-structured approach to blogging. Again, my dreams and plans were for naught.

So, this year, instead of setting goals for myself and making meticulous plans for achieving them, I’m setting targets for myself. What’s the difference between goals and targets? you ask.

A goal is something you want to achieve specifically. Finish a book, get an agent, hit 1000 followers, etc., etc. It’s specific. Usually there’s a plan you can make for yourself to achieve it. Up until now, I’ve been setting goals for myself--goals that I usually don’t fulfill.

A target, however, is something that you just generally want to aim for. The mindset required to aim for targets is a completely different mindset than the one used to achieve goals. Life constantly shifts and changes; different things happen on different days, and sometimes you just can’t get stuff done. If you have a goal, you’ll be disappointed if you can’t get things done, because not following your plan can be detrimental. But having a target is different in that it’s okay to make room for more pressing matters. Having a target is knowing that as long as you work whenever you can, you’ll achieve what you want to achieve. Having a goal is following a set plan in order to get something done. Both use deadlines and time frames, but targets are more flexible and overarching (I often set goals for the purpose of fulfilling my target), and for my own personal year-long planning, targets are better.

Deep down inside, I usually know if I’m going to get things done or not. I always know that I’ll get the essentials finished, that I’ll finish things that I need to finish eventually and in a timely manner. But I can’t follow a plan. I get distracted, I have to do chores, etc.--setting times for myself just doesn’t work. I’m a fairly busy person, and things come up. My best bet at avoiding frustration is to not allow the opportunity for frustration to arise at all.

So instead of making enormous plans and not sticking to them in the end--because I know I’m not going to stick to them--I’m going to set targets for myself and keep them in my mind at all times, to remind myself what I’m working for. Obviously, I’m going to have to make lists and plans and things in order to hit my targets, but not having goals lifts a ton of the pressure off my back.
Here are my fairly general targets for this year:

  • Drink more water, eat more fruit and vegetables, sleep more, and learn to love to exercise. I used to set goals for myself: not eat any sugar at all, get abs, lose ten pounds. But then, in order to achieve the goals, I crash dieted, then binge ate, which ultimately resulted in me gaining more weight, failing at accomplishing my goals, and generally not having healthy eating habits. This year, I’m resolving to snack less, and to be more mindful of what I eat. It’s a target I want to hit, and I’m willing to work at it little by little.
  • Read more, and read better. In order to write well, I need to read good books. I’ve been slowly but surely trying to expose myself to more classic literature: in 2016, I read several classics, my favorites of which were The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, and Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Every time I go to the library, I’m trying to get into the habit of going to the classics section and picking out one or two to take home.
  • Polish and finish my middle grade book by the end of the year. I’m hoping to in-depth edit the book, take it through the whole nine yards and make it as polished as I can possibly make it. I want to pay for a professional critique of it and just to make it as good as I can. I don’t expect to publish it; I just want to be a better writer.
  • Write more purposefully, more consistently, and more creatively. I’m aiming to post at least once a week on this blog. I was rolling out twelve posts a month around this time last year, but I don’t think I can do that anymore. I’ll post what I want when I want, but the topics will be anything from creativity to Christianity to more senior updates to honestly whatever. Who knows what this blog is going to evolve into. I’ve stopped trying to force it into a box.
  • Become more laid-back and less judgmental. Someone told me that I was hyper, and another person told me I was kind of immature, which was eye-opening for me. So this year, I’m going to read my Bible more and try to focus on loving others over myself. 2016 was a big setback for my spiritual life, and I need to get back on track (not that I ever really was).


Those are my targets for this year. Whether I hit dead center or barely on the target itself doesn’t matter to me; these are the things I want to work on. Life isn’t a checklist, and I’m a work in progress. I’m just thankful God allowed me to live another day, week, month, year, and I want to use the time I have for His glory.


SO WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you like targets, or goals? Or do you use a mixture of both?

17 comments

  1. I love this so much, Rachel. I usually fail to accomplish my goals, but I love how the idea of having targets helps set an area to improve in and reach for. :) Anywho, lovely post, and happy second-day-of-2017! (also I really hope I'm not the only one keeps writing the year as 2016 XDD)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy 2017! I'm pretty sure you're not the only one who's going to be writing the year as 2016, haha :) thanks for reading!

      Delete
  2. I love the idea of targets. I'll have to try them out. I would love to read your book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. woooo!! i'd love for you to read my book...once it's actually decent, haha. thank you so much!

      Delete
  3. What a cleaver idea. I think we should all use targets instead of goals because when you don'tget to your goal it's oh so disappointing. This way you can be happier with results! This is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Targets are so much better than goals, for sure. Also, we're all expecting that middle grade novel so even if you can't publish in the next three years, it's okay because we know you're working hard on it and we can wait patiently. Happy New Year, Rachel!

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think use a mixture of both. I'm pretty bad at setting goals, but I do think it's a good thing to do. Hope your 2017 is fantabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. same to you! and i'm definitely going to be using a mixture of both. thanks for reading!

      Delete
  6. wow I love these lots brb stealing ur mindset and targets

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really mainly do targets (although I never actually called them that), with a few goals sprinkled in. I've still got to write out my full goals for the year.

    LET'S ROCK 2017, RACHEL!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like both but now I have a bullet journal to accomplish small tasks. Whoop! Whoop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooh yes, bullet journals! i've considered starting one, but i don't know that i'd have enough time, unfortunately :(

      Delete
  9. This is beautifully eloquent, Rachel. xx

    ReplyDelete

Latest Instagrams

© SILVER MESS. Design by FCD.