Am I Setting Myself Up for Failure?

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Boats Looking Out to Sea

Goals are targets.  Targets are things that get missed.

Sitting myself down and deciding what I want to plan for and aim for just seems utterly pointless to me.  I know that I will fail and having a list etched in black and white as tangible proof of just what I set out to do but haven’t achieved just overwhelms.  I am defeated before I even begin.

But I also recognise that without goals and plans my life will have no direction.  Perhaps it never has had direction.  All I aim to do is get through each day, one day at a time, with the minimal stress, pain and failure.  However …

I’m not keen on boats and being in them but as anybody who hasn’t even been in a boat before can tell you, it’s best to have a compass.  At the very least, it helps to know which way you’re facing.  And after a compass, comes maps, or charts as they seem to prefer to call them in the nautical world.  You mark where you are and where you want to end up.  You make a plan.

I need a plan if my life is going to find direction, if I’m going to try and be someone, not something, just someone living their life.  But as they want to.  The directions that I go in, that I take are entirely dependent on the winds and whims of other people.  I place pleasing other people far above my own happiness.  And I think that’s something that needs to be adjusted.

It’s been a deep winter for me; I have been lost and absorbed in reflection.  But it has been a good thing.  I know and I can see that I am progressing.  I am making progress.  I don’t think that I’ve recognised that before.  I’m starting to realise that the future isn’t quite the menacing monster that I always believed it to be.  I am beginning to think that I might be able to.

Able to do what?

Well, I guess, eventually, anything that I set my heart and mind to.

But to get there I’m going to need to take some smaller steps.

I can cope with small steps.

And setting goals isn’t just about failure.

I’m not a failure.

I could succeed.

I just need to believe in myself.

And give it a go.

And throw off all the stupid beliefs and complexes that hold me back.

Ballast can be a good thing; it can stabilise you, if you’re a boat.

But there can be such a thing as too much ballast.

It just becomes stuff, junk, weight.

Redundant and not serving any purpose.

It shackles you and helps you sink.

(I do believe in mixing metaphors, it seems).

So my first goal is this:

I need to dare to risk and I need to risk to dare.

(I couldn’t decide which one made the most sense, let’s live dangerously and go with both).

Taking risk has always been something very dangerous and even alien to me.  I actively avoid risk.  Risk is just about setting yourself up for failure.

I need to adopt this new attitude, I need to be brave, I need to believe, I need live.

So this year, I hope to move forward with that motto.

But measuring success, quantifying achievement can be difficult.

How do I know if I’m moving ahead or succeeding?

I need specific goals, targets to aim for.

Marks on a chart, plotting a specific course that I can follow.

I know that I may not always be able to meet them.  But as the Jester Queen once reminded me, many wise people think that failure is only a step to success.

For example, when it comes to blogging, I now have a goal.   I’m going to aim for three posts a week.  Nothing too hard to achieve, if you look back at most months then I’m already meeting this target.

So why set a goal that I’m already perhaps reaching?

I need to do this with baby steps; I first need to confirm to myself that I’m not failing before I take any further, more ambitious steps.

I don’t want to tie myself down though, commit myself to a statistic.  I want to write because I want to.  I don’t want blogging to be about numbers, although numbers can be nice and reassuring.  I’m going to be reasonable on myself.  I’m going to set a goal which is reachable, attainable, possible.  I won’t set myself up for failure.  And especially because of life and health, it’ll be an average that I’m working on, I’ll average it out across the entire year, some weeks the words and posts may come more often than others.  I want to write a minimum of 156 posts this year.  We’ll see how it goes.

Talking of health leads me to another goal, perhaps a harder one to measure or assess.

I want to be honest.  I want to be honest with myself.

For example, when I need to rest, I will rest and when I can’t do something, I will accept that I can’t.  I will listen to my body.

And of course there’s another big thing in my life:  knitting.

How do you set goals in knitting?

Well, I suppose you could aim for a certain number of stitches per week or month.  But that is highly variable, depending on yarn weight and my rather suspect tension.  Five stitches can be very little or an entire row, depending on the project.  And I know that there are people who can calculate how many stitches there are in a particular project but I’m not one of them.  Actually, frankly, I don’t think I’d want to know.  I get demoralised by numbers higher than what I can count to (normally about 30).

Each month, I’m going to write a list of the projects that I want start and finish.

I also want to start a new project from my Knit Now magazines each month too.  As someone pointed on the Ravelry forums, it’s so easy to open a new magazine issue and go ‘ooh’ and promise to one day make this piece or that, but do we ever?

Well, the magazines are sitting on the shelf, the patterns are still there.  And it’s about time I got on with it.  I’ve lined up my favourites in my Ravelry queue and I’ll slowly tackle them.  One project at a time, one month a time.

I’ve already noticed that my knitting goals are also tied to my goal of honesty.  There days and even weeks when I can’t knit as fast or as much as I would like.  It can be bitterly disappointing and frustrating but that’s why I have got to be honest with myself.

I’ve never shared my goals with anyone.  I’m not even sure if I’ve set goals before.  But here are just a few and I know that you’re all prepared to take yet another (long-winded, I’m sure) journey will me.

I wonder how I will do.

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12 thoughts on “Am I Setting Myself Up for Failure?

  1. Love your self-reflection and your goals. Last summer I took a month to just “sit” and do nothing. You know, because I never get to do that. At the end of that time, I was depressed and stagnant. I needed a kick in the pants to get me moving again.

    Direction is good. And yours sounds reasonable, positive and well thought out! Good for you :)

    • I think we need to always find a balance, sometimes we do need to sit still and take it easily or quietly but we still have to find a way to keep ourselves moving forwards. Thank you ever so much for visiting and commenting. :)

  2. You’ve got a good attitude and a plan, so yay for you! I just started doing something at the beginning of the month that is helping me tremendously. I have a different issue than you, but my solution might work for you, too. My problem is that I waste an inordinate amount of time each day. I never seem to accomplish much, and then I wonder where the time went when the end of the day comes. So I’ve been keeping a little journal. I write in it twice a day. In the morning I write down four goals I want to accomplish that day. In the evening, I evaluate how I did. It has really kept me honest, and I’m getting so much more done because I’ve written it down and feel accountable.

    • Oh, I’m the master of lists … of losing them and making them far too big and scary! But I do like the goal idea, I’ll bear it in mind for when my confidence is a little braver! Thanks for sharing. :)

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