Giving Up On Goals

Post-it Monsters
Credit: flickr / zarprey

I’m not doing my weekly review at the moment. At first it was in part because I was ashamed to admit that I hadn’t yet unpacked my apartment (it’s done now). But also, I showed up to the coffee shop to work with my mentee and something exciting had happened to her, and she said, “I just had this feeling, when I woke up, that I should get here as soon as possible”. So she did. And she was there in time to make a great connection with someone.

That exchange inspired me to go with my feeling of leaving the week open to see what happened. In fact, a meeting came up and Ali (my TA who is taking over) and I ended up writing a proposal for a conference on my workshop. It was good – I had a productive week.

I’m using Health Month to track my health and fitness goals, and what I’m realizing is that I used to use my weekly plan to balance the different areas of my life. Volunteering, work, studying. At the moment, I have no different areas of my life. It’s pretty much the gym, my thesis, and hanging out.

This is pretty nice – and probably very necessary at this stage in my masters. And it makes goal setting in that way overkill. There’s something freeing about deciding the day before what my one important thing is, and then working on that.

I still believe in goals. I still believe in structure. But – if there is only one significant thing to work on, arbitrary goals can be a distraction. It’s actually about progress. I don’t know what I will get done on my thesis next week, but I do know what my next task will be.

Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep ticking along, carving out my space and routine in this new place. AY has this idea called “restful acceptance” – I love it. She says, your todo list will still be there tomorrow. I just think, I can make a new list, tomorrow, if I need to. But when what I need to do is this clear, and I don’t. Why bother?

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