Discover more from Intimations: A Writer's Discourse
Goal check-in as a romantic date with yourself
At the beginning of this year, I announced some goals (setting goals for me is a little like sex—the world suddenly becomes full of marvelous expectations).
I also meditated on the nature of goal-setting, titling the piece Failed Resolutions Are the Most Important Ones. I’d set a goal of 10,000 steps per day for 2021, and I hit a 10K average for the first six months of the year, but then as a lyric poet once said, “shit happens,” and I finished the year with just over 9,000 steps a day.
I wasn’t entirely unsatisfied with that because the benefit of a goal isn’t necessarily in achieving it—it’s how the goal takes you beyond your normal level. I wrote:
I think the main point of a goal is the aspiration, direction, and focus it gives you—even when you fail. Now as I set out to hit 10,000 steps/day this year, I’ve got so much more knowledge of my daily patterns and shortcomings to work with. It’s like I took a course in my goal last year, and now I’m taking a higher-level course on the way to mastery.
The new “system” I put in place this year was to shoot for 11,000 steps per day so that if/when “shit happens,” I’d have a cushion of steps.
The result is (drum roll): at the mid-year point my average was 10,400 steps.
So a goal bears repeating and augmenting. It also bears applying to other goals (think writing). And there are few things so delicious as a goal achieved.
My other goal
My other goal this year was to write this newsletter once a week, which I’ve achieved every week except one.
Since I’ve had a lot of new readers sign up this year, I wanted to share my top three posts in case you missed them (or check ‘em all out).
I didn’t have just one other goal, I had two more: 1) to establish a daily meditation practice; and 2) to learn a new musical instrument, which then changed to just doing something musical every day, even if it was just strumming the ukelele I didn’t know how to play and singing “You are my sunshine.”
So … I’m revisiting those goals now as I write, and I’m now holding myself to a public update on them to you by year’s end.
The update is key because achieving a goal relies on a system of accountability. We’re a group species, and we’re wired to not want to let other people down, so telling others our goals is better than any app you can buy. Expect an update at year-end.
Because a quote about goals
“A deadline is, simply put, optimism in its most kick-ass form. It's a potent force that, when wielded with respect, will level any obstacle in its path. This is especially true when it comes to creative pursuits.”
— Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month
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Because more about me
I am the executive director of National Novel Writing Month, the co-founder of 100 Word Story, and an Executive Producer of the upcoming TV show America’s Next Great Author. I am also the author of a bunch of books and the co-host of the podcast Write-minded.
My essays on creative writing have appeared in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer.
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