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What Are Your Goals?

11 December 2015

I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions. To me, a resolution means something is already decided. It’s resolved. All the investigation and thinking is done, and action plan is charted. All that’s left is the work. This is how to propose a federal research grant, not how to decide to arrange my life for a year. Resolutions are setting myself up to fail. I can’t predict the future, I can’t know how things will change over the course of the year.

But I do set goals, as everyone who reads this regularly knows. I set ambitious goals, that I don’t always achieve. What’s the difference? Well, to me, the difference is about allowing for the possibility of change, and reframing what happens if I don’t achieve it. Failing to achieve a goal doesn’t mean the same thing as failing at something I’ve “resolved” to do. If I had injured myself and been unable to run my marathon, I’d still have achieved a lot just by training for it.

I’m still in the process of setting goals for 2016. At work I want to continue to grow as a manager and employee. I want to find a way to exceed the expectations put on me by my director. I would like to finally find a way to get an Adjunct Professorship at VFU, so I can call myself “faculty”. I would like to run another marathon, break two hours in the half marathon, and visit another country.

And as always, my fundamental goal is to stay sober and enrich my life, personally, spiritually, and in my relationships. But those are more one-day-at-a-time kind of goals. I don’t set a goal to be sober all year. I’m sober today. Tomorrow looks good. Sunday can take care of itself. I’ve been doing well at that for almost 8 years now.

What about you? Do you set goals? Do you make resolutions? Care to share any?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 11 December 2015 23:40

    I’d agree that goals and resolutions do have different connotations. I’ve started setting monthly goals for work (no. of papers to read, study timeline goals, info to find resources on), and usually do season goals for running/fitness. Yearlong goals are tough for me – not sure if I lack focus or just have a tough time thinking that far ahead. Monthly goals have been very helpful though for focusing on ways to improve & grow with purpose.

  2. 11 December 2015 23:42

    Also, I like your take on still getting something out of the marathon goal even if unforeseen circumstances had interfered. Easy to lose sight of that part!

  3. 28 December 2015 14:03

    I discovered your blog a little while ago. I enjoy reading your thoughts. How did you ever start getting into running after becoming sober? How did you keep up with it? Was it kind of like replacing a drink with a run instead? My goal for the new year, which I have already started, is to replace the want of having a drink with something more productive like walking, running, etc. The want is always there, mostly when I don’t have anything to do, like say, it’s 8:00am on a Saturday, I’d really like a drink. Ugh.

    • 28 December 2015 14:52

      Good luck. I strongly recommend you find meetings and a sponsor, and work the steps.

      As for how I started running, it took time. I waited 18 months from getting sober until I quit smoking. Then another 18 months before starting to exercise. It was all about becoming healthy. One step at a time.

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