When Goals Become Jails (And What to Do About It)


When Goals Become Jails (And What to Do About It) – by Rachelle Fordyce … [Photo by Isaac Smith]

Something interesting that I’ve noticed about the word goal is that it’s an anagram of gaol, an alternate spelling of jail. Sometimes I feel like publicly setting a goal is a sort of sentence for myself, as though I’m putting my self in a restrictive box or jail. This is probably because I highly value freedom and flexibility.

Reminder (to self and others): It’s okay to flow with life and change your goals if it seems best to do so or if you have reasons to do so; or even it you don’t have a “logical” reason per se and it just no longer feels in alignment with you. Sometimes, goal-setting and accountability can be a tricky path to navigate.

Have you ever thought something along these lines? “Is this goal no longer in alignment for me? Or am I just being a flake? I don’t want others to think I’m a flake and that can’t stick to my goals and commitments. Hmm. Maybe I should just keep quiet and hope no one notices or judges me or whatnot.” I know I certainly have. We’ve probably all been there at some point or another.

So to that, I say (to myself and others): Don’t worry about it! Your true friends are not going to think anything less of you if your win is “small” or not as grand as you might’ve initially hoped. Celebrate all wins, large and small! There’s no such thing as failure when you reframe it in a growth-oriented way; only lessons and wins.

The key to successful or meaningful accountability is empathy – for both others and ourselves.

I had a particularly busy July, and as such I didn’t have as much time to keep up with my preferred weekly blog posts. But that’s okay! I empathize with my situation, and I’m picking up the challenge again. I would love to publish 11 more blog posts after this one by the end of October 2019.

[EDIT: Many of us participating in this blogging challenge have decided to be more flexible with the end date. As such, I’m changing up my end-goal date to wrap up this challenge by the end of December 2019 vs the end of October as previously stated above.]

Oh, and on the subjects of goals, jails, expectations, delays, flexibility, empathy, and so forth… Remember that long-time goal I’ve had of writing a screenplay? Well, it’s still a goal of mine! I have consciously put it off for a while as I continue to work on a rather large editing project that’s the equivalent length of three books. BUT! The end of that project is finally in sight!

About a week ago, I participated in a brief Mastermind session which resulted in my commitment to complete at least the first draft of a full-length screenplay (although preferably it will be a more complete version or further revised draft) by January 22, 2020. I’ve even marked it on my calendar that I will start working on this screenplay no later than the 1st week of October. Even if I only write 10 pages a week during the last 12 weeks of this year, I will – finally – complete my goal of writing the first-draft of a full-length screenplay! How awesome is that!?

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Have you ever felt trapped by a goal or commitment you’ve made in the past? If so, have you been able to express empathy for yourself and free yourself from such a goal or commitment? Perhaps that goal no longer served your best interest at the time, or the timing was no longer aligned with the rest of your life. It’s okay. Forgive yourself and carry on, head held high.

If you spend too much time mourning your original strategy or path, rather than redirecting to the destination or the goal (i.e. your desired results), you’re going to find yourself repeatedly sidelined, if not completely stuck. Life is always going to present obstacles. What separates leaders from the rest is how you strategize and implement your reroute, no matter how many times you have to do it. <3

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