The world is pretty obsessed these days with goals, targets, productivity and what not.
We create things to do and achieve, by specific times or restrictions. And then stress out if we can’t achieve them.
I generally don’t do goals. Lacking goals does not mean I don’t have ambition or drive to do things. Those that know me know that I certainly keep myself busy and proactive on ‘all the things’.
I like what Leo from Zenhabits says on having no goals. And I think it mostly matches up to how I live. He talks about just doing stuff, which is kind of what I do, but I also like tracking things and having loose ideas of where I want to head to. The tracking of things is not to help me get somewhere, it’s more to help me see where I’ve come from and see the change or progress I’ve made.
I’m also very highly committed to my business and I have some specific yet loose things that I’d like to see happen there. I check in there and do stuff, whether I want to or not. I can’t (yet) just follow my natural energy in doing stuff when I have certain and fairly big existing commitments.
I love logging stuff that has meaning to me.
I love tracking my running on Strava and with photos. I use the information as something to refer back to to see how much I have improved. It is all too easy to forget where I was and where I am now.
I take and publish photos of my family moments to help me remember and see how far I’ve come as a parent. Also, just to watch my kids grow up. They change so damn fast. I never once regret taking family photos.
I tweet and sometimes blog about things. I wish I blogged more, but hey. Looking back helps me see, who I was…and cringe! And see how far I’ve come.
I’m always working at improving things and myself, but I don’t write my goals down. Mostly they exist in the now and they change as I see fit. “In the now” usually means between now and the next 12 months.
So at the moment, I have a mental goal to run faster (a 30 minute 5k would be amazing for me), lose weight, become physically stronger, spend more time on personal unschooling projects, become better at food making for the family, make myself redundant from day to day MoT, become more financially stable, be mortgage free, blog more (hello!) and learn to switch off more.
I’m working towards all these things, and probably more that don’t spring to mind right now. They all lead to the ultimate goal of leading a better life, but what that actually looks like is not defined. There is no deadline date that I’ve set. And obviously some things will take longer than others.
I think the best way to look at it for me is that the logging I do of my life that I do gives me instant satisfaction and pleasure. And because of that I feel there is a higher chance of me repeating it. So, for example, I run then take a post run selfie - it makes me feel good and I am proud of that single run, now matter how well I’ve run. I therefore end up repeating the process. The repeating of things is generally what ends up helping us get towards our goals.
What I’ve definitely found, over the years, is that it is all too easy to forget how far we have come as individuals or as families. For me, I look back at the many photos I have published on the likes of Flickr and Instagram to remind myself of where we were before.
Things like Instagram and Strava are great and easy recording tools. Blogging is harder. When I’m feeling down, or not so sure if I’m doing good, then I look at the data to remind myself that all is ok and I’m actually doing pretty ok. Not because I’ve set goals, but because I can see I’ve grown as a person.