If January is the month of setting resolutions, than February is the month where they go to die.
Gyms get empty in February. Classes get dropped in February. Unused hiking equipment gets returned to the store in February.
And the strange thing is, I’m OK with that. I don’t care if you drop a resolution, as long as it’s on purpose. Actually, I’d encourage you to murder a few of your resolutions this month.
Because goals you don’t really intend to meet become anchors.
They become tall tangled weeds that grow up around the goals you actually care about.
They become distractions and sources of guilt, and they’re just getting in the way.
You’ve had 6 weeks of living with your goals (or maybe longer if there’s a list you’ve been working on for a while.) It’s time to take that list out and send a few of those goals to an early grave. Here’s the three types of goals you should kill.
1. Goals designed to impress other people.
I once wrote a post where I shared my “40 before 40 list,” a collection of things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 40. Some of the items on the list were great. Others? Not so much. For example, goal number 33 was to “help 100 people build 100 amazing blogs.” Looking back on that, I think I wrote that down just to impress people with my generosity or kindness or other words that mean “Jon sure is a great guy.” The truth is that I’m not good at individually helping people with blogs. I love speaking to groups about social media, but I’m not a great one-on-one blog coach. I have failed at that in the past and will probably fail at that in the future. That was a fake goal. Look at your list, and make sure that you didn’t write any goals down just to impress your friends, your family, your blog audience, etc. If you did, then delete those goals.
2. Goals you thought people like you should have.
One of my goals on my 40 before 40 was to sell 500,000 copies of books I had written. Why did I have that goal on my list? Because I thought writers were supposed to have goals like that. But the truth is, reaching that number isn’t one of my core desires. It’s not one of the driving goals that jumps me out of bed in the morning. It was just a goal I thought I “should have.” It’s not that I don’t want to sell a lot of books, I do. If anything, I want to sell more than that. But I’ve only got so much passion and energy to divvy out to these goals. There’s no room for “should goals” on my list. (If you hate blogging and despise social media, but put “start a blog in 2012” on your goals list because you’ve been told everyone has to have a blog, that’s a “should goal.”)
3. Goals you picked to fill out a list.
This one is so dumb I can’t even believe I’m writing it and yet, here it is. Sometimes, we’ll add goals to our list just to “fill it out.” We feel like “10 goals” would sound better than “9 goals.” Or we’re afraid to look lazy to our friends so we take our meager little three-goal list and spruce it up a little with some supplemental goals. I have a list of 6 things I committed to finish this year as part of FinishYear. I thought long and hard about adding a seventh goal. Why? Because who has a list of 6 items? What am I? The devil? It’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It’s the Seven Deadly Sins. Seven is God’s favorite number! And here I am with my stupid little six-item list. But, I narrowly avoided this obstacle and am proud to say I stuck with my original six.
I hope you get your list of goals out for 2012 and there’s not a single fake goal on it. I hope the awesomeness of your goal list makes you laugh at the ridiculous advice I just gave you.
But if not, if you’ve got some fake goals squatting on your list, don’t be nice to them. Don’t let them tell you why you’ll maybe, eventually, really care about them or how they’re great goals.
Kill them. Kill them now. Kill them with fire.
Your time is too valuable to be spent pursuing something that doesn’t matter.
Is there a goal you could drop from your list this year?