Procrastination, Deadlines, and Goals (Prt 2)

What are goals? There are goals in sports, squad goals, relationship goals and more, but what does goal really mean? A goal is simply defined as the object of one’s ambition, or effort. It is anything you strive to achieve. In sports, you strive to put the ball in the “goal” thus achieving your ambition and completing a goal, both in the game and out of the game. Squad goals and relationship goals are both just things you put effort toward seeing in your friendships and relationships.
My point is, when some of us think of our goals when it comes to writing, we think of a certain number of pages or words we want to writing before a certain date. Well, just as with procrastination, most people like to mash the idea of goals with deadlines, but this is not always the case. A writing goal can be a multitude of different things, and it doesn’t have to be confined to the idea of a deadline, just like procrastination as we talked about last week. However I wanted to take a full post this week to elaborate on goals, because it tends to be a little more complicated than procrastination.

One of the most important aspects of goals is the fact that all goals are self set. You make think “Well my goal is for this competition” or “for this homework assignment” but the fact of the matter is as soon as you apply yourself to it is a goal you have set for yourself, and you have full liberty to change or re-imagine it however you may desire. Naturally, your goal may not meet the standard required for the task you have accepted it for, but this knowledge is applicable nonetheless. This is important to remember and will be revisited in a moment.

Some examples of writing goals are things like homework assignments or competitions, and are the reason why most people tend to relate goals to deadlines. These kinds of small goals are the reason there are misconceptions about goals and deadlines being interlinked. There are also larger scale goals, like writing a full fledged book, or a doctoral thesis. More often than not these kinds of goals don't have a deadline, or if they do, they are more flexible. These kind of goals are what I would related to my “Long Term Procrastination” I mentioned in my previous post.

Now that I've defined all my terms, I’ll jump back to what I said was most important to remember about goals. All goals are self set. Now we can examine our goals under this metaphorical “lens” we've created. If you’re having a hard time completing a goal, take a step back and ask “Why did I set this goal for myself?”. Was it a school assignment you were required to do? Was it a just for fun project? Was it a challenge for yourself?

If it was a just for fun project, and you find yourself struggling to complete it, maybe you need to take another step back and ask yourself if you’re even having fun anymore. Because, if you're not having fun what’s the point of writing it at all? Maybe you need to move on to something else, or wait for inspiration to come. Re-imagine characters or scenarios with different context.

If it was a challenge or a contest, and you are struggling to keep up, maybe you need to reconsider deadlines or requirements. Sure, that may mean you’re unqualified for the challenge or contest this time, but doing some form of the challenge is better than not doing it at all, and it helps grow you so that maybe next time you try another challenge you’ll be able to keep up. Don't be afraid to drop it either, just like the just for fun projects, if you're not having fun, then why waste your time? Move on to something else more fun.

Unfortunately school projects aren't as flexible as contests or just for fun projects. If you’re struggling with a school based goal, then maybe you should refocus. Remind yourself why the task at hand is important, and why completion is so essential. If you’re having a hard time understanding the content of what you’re supposed to be writing about, ask a classmate or your teacher for clarity.

Hopefully I have been able clear up some misconceptions about goals, and have been able to provide you with some good advice and a little more piece of mind about your goals, big or small.

Until next week! -Ethan

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