When Do You Drop That Goal?


Maybe, just maybe, it's time to drop that long-suffering, well-intentioned goal you have on your List of Things That Will Improve My Life list. There are so many ambitious, creative, disciplined, can-do folks who are often, at any given time, carrying around a goal that they can't seem to either start or sustain. It could be a creative, health-related, physical, spiritual, ecological habit or project.

And we talk about it, struggle with it, return to it, stop doing it, agonize a bit, wash-rinse-repeat.

For example, mine is yoga. For YEARS I've been talking about how I should get back to yoga to keep my body strong for the other sports I love. But I haven't done a regular yoga practice for almost 10 years.

Finally, I said Screw it.   I don't want to do $*&(* yoga. Maybe later. Maybe not. And I got on with things.

Timing and Intentions

Sometimes our best intentions are either proposed at the wrong time, or maybe we like the idea better than the reality.

Here's your invitation to let that Old Goal go, even if it's just a temporary thing. Here are some questions to help you decide:

  • Do you  really, really want to do this? How much of this desire is something you want to do, or something you think you should want to do?
  • Is this the right time? Look around, realistically, at everything on your plate. Are you perhaps already doing e-Superhero-nough? If you got the idea that you have to write a blog, or meditate regularly but after two years you have little to show for your effort, so what? My guess is there's a whole lot of other brilliant shit getting done.
  • Can you delegate? A creative professional had what she thought was an interpersonal blockage, went through a few coaches and then realized what she really needed was a personal assistant to do the admin work she so royally detested. And boy, did she get on with things.
  • Does holding this goal make you feel good or guilty? Does your energy perk up, do you smile when you think or talk about it -- or does your voice fill with anguish and do your shoulders crumble like they're standing in for Atlas? Letting this goal go can give you a delicious sense of freedom, power and ownership over how you choose to steer your boat of life -- the part of it you can control, at least.
  • Is there another way to approach, or frame this Thing? For example, "I want to get in shape but I haven’t gone to my gym in years” may be more fruitful as, “I’m going to find a Walking group on MeetUp."
  • Is there something else you may want to do more? Think about it -- and imagine doing that.

In the end, most of us here are pretty disciplined, ambitious and accomplished. If there’s something we want to do and we’re not, there might be a damn good reason why.

 “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”  ―    W.C. Fields