On adjusting goals

// 2.47 min read

Goals are for creating movement. They’re the flight plan that gets you airborne. Once you get moving though, you must remain aware of the direction you’re heading, and make further adjustments as soon as they become necessary.

Like a pilot flying from one airport to another, you can’t just rely on the initial course you took off with. You need to monitor your course and adjust for the way the wind is pushing you around in the air. You need to observe the weather and fly around any storms you encounter. You need to listen to the radio in case there’s an issue on the ground at your destination and you need to divert.

You shouldn’t be held hostage by the goals you set in the past. If they stop serving you, if priorities change, or if new information becomes available that affects your path, it becomes your duty to stop and reassess.

A personal example

In my case, I made a goal on January 12th to write a blog post every day for six months (I also wrote about that a few days later). For me, the purpose of this goal was to prove to myself that I’m able to beat the resistance on a daily basis, if I choose to. In just under two months since making this goal, I’ve written 50 blog posts, and despite also shipping my book, completing Seth Godin’s altMBA intensive, and taking a vacation, I only missed publishing on a handful of days. I consider this a significant achievement.

Watching myself produce post after post has been a profound experience. I’ve learned that there is no shortage of things to say, and that I’m capable if I show up and do the work. I’ve obliterated the boundary between my old comfort zone and this new one, and it sure feels mighty comfy.

Now that I know I’m capable of beating resistance daily, it’s my duty to reassess. Sure, it hasn’t been six months yet, but everything else about this goal feels like it has served its purpose. Instead of spending months doing something just because I said I’d do it, even after the original function has been fulfilled, I’d prefer to spend my effort beating the resistance in new ways.

What next?

Going forward, my aim is no longer to publish a post every day. I’m still going to write posts on a regular basis, and I may return to a daily schedule sometime in the future, but for now I’m going to relax the pressure a little.

Instead, I’m going to spend some time reflecting deeply on the past couple of months, exploring what else this new adjacent possible holds for me, and planning which direction I’m going to expand my comfort zone next.

I hope that seeing me go through this process of both setting and adjusting goals helps you in some way. What goals are you working towards? Do any of them need adjusting?

Coby Chapple (@cobyism)

@cobyism—a.k.a. Coby Chapple is an autodidact, systems thinker, product architect, pixel technician, full-stack algorithmagician, multi-media maker, cryptography geek, aspiring linguist, and generalist Designerd™ extraordinaire. Read more »