Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goals and Gaols

Many folks have goals—lose twenty pounds, exercise more regularly, write a novel every three months—but when's the last time you hit a goal? (Okay, so I finally made some recipes last night that I've been meaning to for a while, but that's more needing to use the food before it goes bad and your money is wasted.)

You can probably think of some goals you've hit—small ones, perhaps—but likely, you can think of more that you've failed to hit, or that you faltered in and gave up on.

One…trick to goal-setting is to set gaols, too: accountability partners, personal punishments, and the like. But the trick mainly works when that the punishment has to weigh heavily enough that you'll take it seriously and endeavor to avoid it—which can cause problems if you have something like a family emergency and need to postpone the goal for a week.

Permit me my word fun, and I'll permit you to mock it, kk? ^_^

Personally, if a demand is made, my instinct is to dig my heels in and refuse. (Requests are another story.) My natural response isn't always appropriate, so I've learned to curb that instinct. I'm not perfect, but I do my best.

Unfortunately, that instinct also applies to when I make demands of myself.

If I make a demand of myself and set a punishment, I will flunk the first test. I will. I'm not fond of that about myself, but it's something I've not yet figured out how to break.

Thus why, when I've tried using StickK recently to set monetary penalties for failing to hit a goal, I set the goal low and for little more than a month (so I wouldn't be penalized too much in case of illness, emergency, or need to revise the goals). I flunked the first week, as expected, and I've actually hit every week since, much to my surprise.

See, the goal didn't hurt much at the time. But now, due to some minor family emergency stuff, I can't comfortably afford the goal I set, which is some incentive for hitting my goals. It'll hurt if I flunk.

When the time comes to renew, I'll be revising the goal: to be more specific. Because I have a project that I very much want to get done, but I'm currently fighting the "fear of finishing" blues. I need a good kick in the pants.

I'd like to even set the goal to hit harder, but I expect I'll chicken out when the time comes.

In any event (and I am loving those introductory modifiers, this morning), StickK is working for me, so far, for goal incentive. Much more effective than accountability partners, for me.

What do you use to encourage yourself to hit your goals? Do you use anything (and do you hit those goals)? Does StickK sound like something you might like to try?


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