Goals & expectations

One of the challenges of my new private accountability system is that it gives me concrete goals. When I’m on track or ahead of the game, it’s great – I’m more productive when there’s some pressure, but not too much pressure. But when I get behind…

My muse I don’t do creative work well under pressure. The key, then, is to give myself plenty of time and get ahead of the game, because then I’ll fly along. But with a full-time job, side work, writing for RandomC, a social life, and everything else I do, this doesn’t always work. And when I get behind, I begin to flounder.

Here’s what I do when this happens: I remember that goals are me trying to impose my expectations of the future on the world. That’s great for getting things done, but reality is under no obligation to hew to my wishes.

When my expectations are helpful, I hold onto them tightly and let them propel me along, but when they’re not helpful, I let them go. I remind myself that my expectations were likely unreasonable, and it’s unreasonable to expect things to always go my way. I remind myself that getting mad and frustrated doesn’t help anything. I let go of my disappointment, my condemnation, my self-loathing. I let it all go, and then settle down to focus on what’s important.

I had a goal. If that goal was worthy, I’ll still work towards it, even if I have no chance of reaching it anymore. I let go, sit down, and do the work…and what do you know, my work invariably improves. I fail by less, if nothing else.

If your expectations are getting in the way doing what you want to do, let them go. You’ll be happier for it, whether you reach your goal or not.