Goal Setting Revisited

In a previous post, I talked about goal setting, and how CALLI had us make a plan to set goals and follow through on them. This exercise was extremely helpful to me and has helped me reach some more professional and personal goals in the last few months. One of the most helpful parts of the process was having a goal coach. My goal coach and I just caught up on the phone a few days ago, and we had both reached the goals we set for ourselves at CALLI. We agreed that having each other, having someone we knew we would be accountable to, really gave us that final push to accomplish our goals. We didn’t want to let someone else down.

photo credit: viZZZual.com via photopin cc

photo credit: viZZZual.com via photopin cc

As November comes to a close, I’ve found myself reflecting on goals quite a bit, as I’ve been working on NaNoWriMo over the month of November. The goal of NaNo: write a 50,000 word novel over the month. This ends up being about 1,666 words a day. 50,000 words sounds a little daunting when you look at it as one big chunk, but when you break it up daily, it isn’t nearly as scary. As of today, I’m at a little over 45,000 words (and I haven’t done my writing for the day, yet), and I’m confident I will hit 50,000 words by November 30th. NaNo, in many ways, is the definition of a SMART goal. It’s specific (write a novel); measurable (a 50,000 word novel); attainable (break down the writing into smaller daily chunks which is hard, but doable); realistic (again, not easy, but not impossible if you chip away at it a little bit every day); and time-bound (over the month of November). This was exactly like the goals we worked on crafting at CALLI. Another common factor with my CALLI goals: I told people. I told everyone I knew that I was writing a novel. That again kept me accountable, and meant I forced myself to write even when I didn’t want to. I promised the people close to me I was going to do this, and I wanted to follow through.

Another of my goals for November: to take a break from Facebook. I didn’t want it distracting me from my writing. Again, I told people. I made sure everyone I knew understood I wouldn’t be on Facebook for the month. And (hopefully you’re sensing a pattern here) I stuck to it. I haven’t been on Facebook for the past month.

All of this has gotten me thinking about goal setting and the importance of just telling people my goals. Being accountable to another person, and feeling like another person has a stake in helping me reach my goals, clearly makes me more able to reach them. I’ve found that even in small ways this works. Say I want to get one thing done at work one day and it’s essential. Just telling my coworker: “This is what I want to get done today” means it pretty much always happens. Do you have a goal you’ve been thinking about but slacking on getting started? Tell someone. It may be what helps you get started on the path to accomplishing it.

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