February 2013 Challenge: Reset

You fucked up on your New Year’s Resolutions already. It’s OK. I did too. See, the thing with setting big goals is you might not reach them in the time span you had originally intended. Or the scope of your project/goal might change.

For example, maybe your goal was to get fit. And your specific goal was to run a marathon at the end of the year. But you broke a toe (or pulled a muscle, or hurt your knee, or encountered any number of possible maladies) and that derailed your training. You could, of course, still have the get fit goal, but the scope might need to change based on the extent of your injuries. Maybe you can’t run anymore, but you can do pushups and other upper body exercises. In which case you can set a new goal to do 36,500 pushups. Or maybe you can still swim or ride a bike. In which case you can set a new goal to enter a swimming or bike race by the end of the year.

More likely what happened isn’t something so perfect. You probably didn’t hurt yourself or run into any real trouble. Except your own self. And that’s OK too.

I have a few standing goals, both personal and professional. One of my personal goals is to read 60 books this year. It’s an arbitrary number. At first it was to read 52 books (guesstimating 1 hour of reading per day), but January was a good reading month so I upped it to 60 to keep feeling the pressure of the challenge. (You can follow along on GoodReads.) Another goal was to write 1,000+ words/day. I did well on that for most of January, got sidetracked with something, and failed to reach it for most of the end of the month. I’ll still write more than 365,000 words this year, but it won’t come in a perfect package of 365 one thousand word days. No worries.

You’re allowed to start from scratch. Get back in the saddle on that proverbial horse and keep riding. You only run into trouble with New Year’s Resolutions (or any goals) when you let the guilt of failure hold you back from starting up again. “Well, it’s only February and I’ve already failed. I suck. This isn’t worth it. Maybe I’ll try again next year.” Loser mentality. Snap out of it.

{ 3 comments… add yours }

Celia Jackson

Hi Karol! I didn’t have you down as a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy – you seem so capable, high-achieving and driven that you wouldn’t need NYRs but would set goals as and when appropriate. So that was interesting to read.

My job is currently under threat due to an impending merger with another institution (so are lots of other people’s as well). So my next goal is to work out a plan B in case I get made redundant. Very scary as I’ve worked there for 20 years … and I love it too. But I have my children to support; and sometimes you need a good push to get you out of your comfort zone and take on the next challenge.

Good luck with your reading… and writing… I am in awe of your achievements! Some days I’m pleased enough to do a good day at the office and put a meal on the table :) but I never think I suck anymore so that’s progress! Thanks for the wise words – helps a lot.
All best



I am capable and high-achieving *because* of setting goals and working on myself.

But yes, I do my own form of goal setting. (I wrote about it a few years ago: Mind Control Method. Though I’ve kind of changed this up now.) I like New Year’s Resolutions because they fit in a box. Enough of my life is out of the box it feels good to feel normal sometimes.


Ed Kangai

Interesting that Pushups goal. I got hold of the book ’100 pushups in 7 weeks’ and was really going for it. I actually began in December and have been derailed for any number of weeks with an injury. Genuine. If the injury remains (back) I’ll reluctantly pick another goal. Very reluctantly.


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