The Hidden Distraction of Setting Goals for the Coming Year

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Setting resolutions for a new year is a recipe for failure. If you can’t set and meet goals all year long, what will make January 1st any different? But I tend to hesitate to even set goals.

Instead, I just work hard all year long. I regularly do what I set out to accomplish. And I usually complete the things I want to complete. Sometimes, I far exceed them. Other times, I completely fail.

I have set a few goals each year for my other blog, Hip Diggs, around this time of year. Since I’ve just recently revisioned, I thought it would be appropriate to set a few goals here. However, in general, I’m staying clear of specific goals and sticking to a project by project mindset for the coming year.

Imagine Where You’d Like to Be in One Year

To start, it’s good to spend some time imagining where you’d like to be in a year. It’s also important to reflect on where you’ve been. Ask yourself, what has worked and what has failed in the past year?

For me, I’ve decided to spend all of the coming year in this process. Rather than rushing to try to turn into a high-traffic, money-making blog, I’m just going to thoughtfully consider the design of the blog and its content based on what I’ve previously learned about blogging.

One of the goals I set last year was to increase readership by 10% at Hip Diggs. It has actually tripled in a year. That’s great, but I’ve also decided to move in a new direction with my online writing. This year, I’d like to accomplish a few things here, but I’m not going to set specific goals. I’m going to take things as they come during a year of transition from Hip Diggs to this site. Here are some ideas:

  • Continue to work on developing video as a part of my content.
  • Learn, understand, and start creating an online course.
  • Create a regular newsletter.
  • Attempt to reach or surpass Hip Diggs’ global rank without using analytics.
  • Consider the possibility of writing and publishing a new book.
  • Study and begin to implement the art of monetizing a website.
  • Continue to hold true to my core philosophy of keeping things simple. No flashy gimmicks, SEO, stock photos, etc.

Discover the Pros and Cons of Setting Goals

There’s a reason that I accomplish many of the things that I set out to do. There is power in the process. I simply do.

The act of setting a goal and writing it down might make it more likely that you reach a goal. You are more likely to hold yourself accountable.

But goals that are held too tightly can also backfire. The act of goal setting itself can become a distraction. The power in keeping goals simple and loose is that you have more freedom to accomplish whatever you decide to do along the way. You can also learn from the tasks that you don’t achieve.

I want to encourage you to set some goals for yourself, but don’t let the goals become a distraction to getting stuff done. Create some ideas for projects that you’d like to accomplish. But don’t get too attached to any one goal. Keep your ideas simple and flexible.

You don’t have to do it before January 1st, but be thinking about ways you can improve yourself all year long. Spend some time writing down some of your aspirations and dreams. Write down methods for achieving those dreams. Then get to work. That’s how it all starts.