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It's OK To Not Reach Your Goals

It’s OK To Not Achieve Your Goals

New year. New you. Etc etc. Blah blah. You know the deal.

We’ve just past the busiest week of the year for online and offline media to fill their quota about resolutions and goals. And boy, do people have polar opinions about it.

Some are all for resolutions, so much so that they enjoy the act of making them even more than following through.

Some are completely against the whole concept. That you shouldn’t have to wait for a new year to make the changes you want.

What’s the correct opinion? Whatever you believe. Certainly what I type isn’t going to change that.

And like you, I’m a firm believer in my own thoughts. Let’s see if we have anything in common.

Everyone’s right.

Like everything, I think there’s a middle ground. There’s nothing quite like the start of a year, month, week or even a day to get things off on the right foot. Sure, you can set goals at any stage of the year, but new year goals give you a time frame: 12 months to attempt them and reflect on how you went. It is in my experience that goals without deadlines or review periods often fizzle out. We just forget about them!

Do your goals need to be attainable? I think that sure helps, but I don’t believe they all need to be. Yes, attainable goals help you sense achievement. But when else can you make crazy, lofty goals, when only a glimmer of chance to fulfil them exists? I think a new year is the best time to be setting those goals too.

Last year I set a goal to run 1000 km in 2016. Long story short, I did not achieve it. Am I disappointed? Sure. Am I disappointed in myself? No. I gave it, what I thought was, my best effort. But something else happened along the way, that no new year goal would have discovered.

Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes it tickles.

I set a goal of 1000 km in a year. Just under 3 km a day. It was certainly physically possible. In the first 2 months I was going strong. But all told, after 12 months, I ran a total of 153 km. That’s 847 km short of my goal. Certainly 153km more than if I hadn’t set the goal in the first place, but that’s not the interesting part. There was a side benefit.

At the 2 month mark I started to realise that I wasn’t feeling the desire to get out and run like I had in previous years. The underlying theme of my goal was not necessarily to run per se, but to make exercise a habit, and force myself to, heaven forbid, enjoy it. But the truth was that I felt like riding my bike more. So I made the decision, just 2 months after publicly announcing my crazy running goal, to unpublicly give up on it. And so instead of running, I started riding. Sometimes I rode by myself. Sometimes with my housemates and other friends. I have an app that tracks my rides, and I just checked to see my stats for 2016. No joke, the total distance was 1091 km. The irony alludes even me.

Make sure you get my good side.

In the current world of social media, it is all about success. Showing your best side, and all that you achieve. We post snapshots about our lives in a single moment that is meant to portray an ideal lifestyle that is no more sustainable than the lofty goals we set. We all do it. Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. Each to their own. What it does show is that the person in question has intention, ambition, and hope that they can live a life they’re proud of, no matter how fleeting that desire, nor how far away or close that is from where they might currently be.

I had other goals for 2016. Some I achieved. Some I didn’t. Rather than getting hung up about the ones I didn’t, I’m appreciating the small changes that just setting them have made me make. I’ve written my goals for 2017 in the Pooch Patrol forums, you should too! Don’t be shy, download the free app on Android or iOS and come share your goals too.


The point is this: I think you should set goals. Yes, make some that are achievable. But don’t forget to set big goals. Huge, unattainable goals that you dream about, that are even a bit embarrassing to admit to others. Aim for the stars.

The best case is that you’ll grow up to become an astronaut and get the rare opportunity to travel to these distant planets. The worst case is that you get half way there, start falling, and find a cloud with a silver lining on the way back down.

Who knows, there might even be a double rainbow.