03 January 2011

Goals (or the lack thereof)

I am not really one to write and post about my goals. Or to really even make goals. In 2009 and 2010 I made a goal to read 52 books, and I accomplished that both years. (Receiving the Little House series at the end of 2009 really helped me accomplish that goal. I wasn't rushing quite so much at the end of 2010, which was nice.) Reading 52 books was my only goal both years. In 2009, I didn't even mention my book goal on my blog until the end of May. That was because I didn't want to not accomplish my goal and have everyone know about it. I'm not sure why I care about such things, but I do.

As to why I'm not more ambitious, I think I've figured that out.

When I was in high school, I set a goal to give a speech at my high school graduation. For my high school, that would mean graduating as either valedictorian or salutatorian. At the end of my sophomore year I was ranked seventh in my class. I worked my tail off the first semester of my junior year. I also started working that semester. I usually worked about 20 hours a week that semester, many nights working until midnight. I was also the color guard captain that semester and spent a good 10-15 hours per week (sometimes more) with associated practices and performances. I was taking fairly challenging classes, but I still managed to keep my grades up. At the end of the semester, I was third in my class.

I was also dead tired, unhappy all the time at end the end of my rope. It was bad. So bad, in fact, that my friends frequently asked me if I was okay and told me they were worried about me. So I quit.

Well, sort of. I didn't quit working. I did quit color guard (it was only for the first semester anyway, but I knew at the end of the semester that I wouldn't be the captain the next year, and by the end of my junior year I knew that I wouldn't be rejoining the team at all). I didn't quit any of my classes, but I did decide that being in the number one or number two spot just wasn't worth it.

Sometimes I'm still a little bummed that I didn't stick with my goal, but only a very little. Ultimately I realized that the motives behind my goal were not particularly noble and were entirely related to bolstering my own pride.

Since then I've been really hesitant to make ambitious goals, so I generally just don't make any at all. And when I do make them, I don't really publicize them. I have a hard time making goals that are quantifiable and still practical. I want to make sure my goals have a greater purpose than simply fulfilling my vanities or impressing other people. I was a little tempted to write a post about my "goober goals" a la Jana, but I couldn't even think of some good goober goals. Anyway, this year I'll be reading 52 books again, and maybe some other stuff, but I don't really know what.


Melanie said...

My entire goal throughout high school was to get a scholarship to BYU. I took 3-5 AP classes per year (which these days is nothing), was editor-in-chief of the yearbook and an officer in a couple of other club, and served on the early morning seminary council. My high school experience was by no means horrible, but by the time I got to BYU (on scholarship, by the way) I was done doing things to pad a resume or application and just wanted to have fun. I did well in my classes, took some fun courses, and was really active in my wards, but I kind of wish that I had been a bit more involved in clubs and councils in college . . .because it would have added a lot to my resume and it would have been enriching.

I like the concept of goober goals. My New Year's "resolutions" last year were more like bucket list items - some serious things but lots of fun things as well. This year I'm scaling down on the specific, measurable goals that I've always been taught to make and instead focusing the year on a couple of themes. We'll see how this goes.

Jenny said...

Really, your first goal should be to eat dessert. LOTS of dessert. It's not terribly lofty, doesn't require great amounts of pride, and it makes you feel GOOOooooood. Win-win!

Then organize and get lofty. It all works out~

Happy 2011!

Ann said...

Good luck on your goal, after all this year will be a bit more challenging with the little one and all, unless his books count... in that case i read hundreds annually (if i'm allowed to count the same one multiply time ;) )

Packrat said...

You did really well in high school. Be proud of your accomplishment. (Now, if there were only three students in your class and you received just barely passing grades, we'd rethink this. LOL)

Happy New Year to you and your family.

John said...

My High School goal was to be in the top 10% of my graduating class. When I made the goal (in middle school), it had no bearing on college, it was totally for selfish vanity (there's a longer story here). By my sophomore year, I realized that my class placement could have a real benefit to my college choice, I really went after it, and nearly got into the top 5%. I'm glad I did, I needed that type of drive and success at that time in my life.