I have a secret. I lied when I said I wasn’t making any other personal goals for 2016 (other than the marathon/half marathon) at the moment. Well…sort of.
At the dawn of every year, Goodreads asks users to participate in a 2016 reading challenge. Despite my newly-minted “no goals!” stance, I couldn’t resist the allure of that question on the screen, provoking me with “how many books can you read in 2016?” and leaving me with a blank box where I could fill in any number my heart desired.
Last year I made it a goal to read 36 books. It was ambitious, but I was goal-happy and determined. Predictably, I failed miserably at reading 36 books in one year. I pretty much gave up trying after a few months. So when that Goodreads 2016 challenge flashed before my eyes, what did I do? I typed 36 into that box. Again.
But here’s the twist. Despite throwing my name into the 2016 reading challenge, I am not making it a goal of mine to read 3 books a month in 2016. In fact, I’m fairly certain right now that I will fail at this challenge.
…confused yet? Let me explain.
As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I have one of those pesky success-oriented personalities – I am highly motivated by accomplishment and a sense of achievement. I’m an INFJ and that J part is a desire to structure the world around me – working toward a goal helps me fulfill that need for structure. Hence my constant hunger for success in running and year after year of throwing down a zillion new resolutions.
So, you can see how a year of taking life day by day and focusing on one big thing at a time is a big step outside my structured little comfort zone.
And that was what went through my head as I signed onto that challenge. That and some questions: is there value in setting “goals” you don’t take that seriously? What if I set a challenge for myself and resolve that whether I complete it or not, I’m going to be happy either way? What if I just want to enjoy the idea of it, to put that number out there as something to play with and imagine, and just let it be there quietly on the sidelines as I go about my life, watching the whole game but never butting in?
I call it un-goaling. A goal that’s not a goal. Something I put my name down for without committing to. A possibility with no pressure.
Of course, there are some commitments in life you don’t back out of and some big goals you need to take seriously. But this one is my ungoal. Maybe just putting it out there will inspire me in some way. Maybe, by some miracle from the heavens, I will actually do it. Or maybe it will turn into a forgotten nothing and this post is a big waste of finger energy.
I don’t know what will come of setting a random “goal” I have no intention of “achieving”. And that’s the point. Ungoaling.