To set or not to set? A goal is the question.

Goals and I don’t get in sync. Too many times in the past I have set a goal and failed to reach it, way too many.

Goal setting connotes to me with frustration and failure.

It seems like the magic of goal setting, of writing them down eludes me.

I hardly remember the last time I met a deadline. Oh, yes, I met it with my first book. It was at the end of May 2013. In September 2013 I wrote a short philosophy work—a week before the deadline.

Falling short of…

My list of unaccomplished or delayed goals is long and miserable.

I wanted to reach 144 lbs on the 1st of January 2013. I was close, but not yet there. I achieved it on 12th of January, a couple weeks later.

In the past year, I set myself a goal of saving $5k. I fell short $2k of it. I did what the gurus say—set a goal which is ambitious, which will make you stretch a little beyond what you think is possible now. I felt like I might as well set a goal of saving a million dollars.

I created an Excel sheet with the publishing schedule for my books. After the first, each and every one of them has been delayed.

I wanted to read 700 words per minute at the end of 2013. My best result was at about 520 wpm.

As I said, goal setting is very frustrating for me.

Achieving without goals

There is another school of thought which I believe was born quite recently, The goalless school.

My experience is in accordance with it. I’m a firm believer in a daily sustained action. It will lead me somewhere, that’s unavoidable.

I didn’t plan the specific metrics for my fitness progress this year. All I really planned and wanted to stick with was my weight in a range 138-146 lbs. I barely managed to meet this goal during Christmas.

Anyway. I had no plans, no goals, no metrics to achieve. I just had my daily disciplines—pushups, pull ups, chin ups, dips and a light morning workout. Nonetheless, I beat about 40 personal fitness records in 2013. The most impressive example—I did 40 consecutive chin ups at the end of the year compared to 24 at the beginning of it. 66% progress.

Vague plans sometimes yield amazing results. I have no budget for my books. To publish the first one I spent only $5 for the Fiverr-made cover. My English is far from perfect. I couldn’t afford proofreading. I’ve come up with the idea of sharing my book with the people I met virtually during the Transformational Contest. A lot of them were native speakers.

Diane Arms volunteered to edit it. She also edited 3 further books. A friendship blossomed out of this venture.

I met more people willing to add to my work voluntarily. Hynek Palatin remade my ugly covers. Chris Bell edited my latest book (number 5), which will be published very soon. I didn’t, I couldn’t plan all of this.

My books were selling poorly in the middle of 2013, at a rate of about 1 copy per day. I had 3 titles published and the results were discouraging. I dreamed about selling 5 books a day. I didn’t set any deadline; I just wanted to reach that record for one day. I published two more books and the sales in November and December were almost exactly 5 per day.

I had exceeded my dream multiple times over. My best daily sales were 18 copies.

I see the merit in what Leo Babauta says.

Back to goals

But Jim Rohn said that a man without goals is like a kid playing around with a tennis racket, without a net, scores and an opponent.

And I have experiences that prove he was right, that deadlines enhance productivity. In October 2013, I participated in the monthly writing challenge organized by Steve Scott.

It was my most productive writing month ever. I exceeded the threshold I set for myself—22k words—and I wrote a little over 25k words. To give you a picture,in December 2013 I wrote 15980 words, almost 10k less.

Goal mechanism is useful sometimes. Even for me.

I’ve joined, a couple days ago, a group of people who want to hold themselves accountable for their goals, sharing their daily progress. The group rules assume members have goals in place.

My goals for 2014

So here are mine:

1. The unity of my marriage.

This is my most important and the toughest goal. I’ve been married for more than 13 years and still our relationship needs a lot of attention. Clearly I didn’t master this area of my life.

2. Quit my 9 to 5 job.

My job slaves me for 12 hours a day, 5 days of the week. I want my life back; I want to see my kids growing up!

My only idea for the new source of income is selling my books on Amazon. To replace my salary I need to sell about 130 000 books a year, 10833 a month, 356 a day. I sold just 145 during the whole of December. Here is where skepticism for the goal settings kicks in. I need “only” 7123% growth.

3. Growing my mailing list.

Right now it consists of only 47 addresses. A mailing list, your own audience, is a great tool for a Kindle author. I want to grow it to a billion or two That’s the wish.

The goal is, let’s say, 1000 people.

Feedback

What do you think about goal setting? Have you got goals for 2014?

8 thoughts on “To set or not to set? A goal is the question.

  1. Goal setting is worrisome. We have just one life that’s one long or may even be a short journey. To be the happiest person and enjoy each day as a gift All I have is daily check points improving / moving forward one step at a time whether it’s spiritual, health, wealth, social etc Embrace each day and the future gets brighter & bigger When we begin to love every step of this journey it is then we add to this world being a better place. Just by expanding beyond we will touch many lives along this journey
    You are not only transparent you are awsome & amazing
    Thank you

  2. Thanks for the praise Ludvig.
    My point was that I sometimes exceed my expectations without goals and deadlines, too. Then what’s the reason for goals?? As I said, it’s confusing and frustrating to me.

    As to the transparency. I follow Jim Rohn’s wisdom. He said the best thing to do is to face the reality. There is no advantage in making it a little bit more colorful for the sake of audience. An exaggeration or dupery will backfire sooner or later.

  3. Transparent indeed. That’s very brave of you Michal.

    “I did 40 consecutive chin ups”
    —> Impressive!

    “The goal is, let’s say, 1000 people.”
    —> Interesting. I’ve got a guest post coming up about this. Getting to the 1000 true fans and nurturing them.

    All in all, I think goalsetting is excellent. Even if you don’t reach the specific goal you will definitely make a better progress than if you hadn’t set the goal in the first place. And, as you say, sometimes you even exceed your expectations!

  4. Hi Michal. You never failed to amaze me. As Montina mentioned above, you are so transparent…..thats on my 2014 goals top of the list ….to be transparent. You are an inspiration , thanks . Keep going my friend….you will be there!…<3

  5. You are so transparent! I really enjoyed this. Have you heard of Mark Gungor? Helped me a ton in my marriage. I’m quitting my 9-5 this year! You can do it! If you’re on YouTube you can grow your list there. You are going to rock out 2014 because you put first things first.

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