Thursday, January 17, 2013

We are never ever getting back together

i made this. and liked doing it.
Two posts I read this week inspired this one.  Laura wrote about the decision to give up her photography business, and OilandGarlic wrote about her lack of movement on one of her New Year's goals.

There's a common thread here - one that we don't often talk about when dreaming big dreams, making life lists or thinking about our yearly goals.  We often couch it in terms of "I didn't make any progress on that" or "I dropped the ball" when the real reason is that we re-evaluated our goals and decided that one was no longer a top priority, or our current state is better than making a change. 

While writing and posting these dreams and goals publicly makes me more accountable, it often feels like I'm "locked in", that I have to do it now that I've said I was going to.  And if I don't, it's because I failed. 

What I love about Laura's post is that she articulates her decision-making process.  She put her business on hold for a bit to think.  She talked it over with her husband.  She clarified her personal priorities, and figured out that this big dream of hers didn't mesh with those. 

At my job, we do this formally as part of our performance reviews and mid-year check ins.  We set "commitments" at the beginning of the year, which are our goals and how we plan to achieve them.  We're encouraged to keep this list as a living document, revisiting them and updating as priorities change.  We formally make the changes at a mid-year review, but can update them any time.

At work, it's not a failure for me to drop a project if the business needs change. In fact, clinging to that project would be a sure path to a bad performance review and get me pegged as that inflexible person who can't deal with change.  (Like the guy with the stapler in Office Space.)

So why is it so hard to accept change in our personal goals? 

A few things on my original Mondo Beyondo list are things I no longer want to do (or have): a second home, living in Ireland, writing a successful book.  I wrote that list in 2011. A lot of things have happened since then - our "business needs" have changed, so to speak.

Yet that little voice in my head is telling me I'm taking the easy way out.  That I should be working hard on all of those things on that list.  That other people do harder stuff, with larger families, so why am I bellyaching about priorities and time. Sigh. 

When I read over that list, the things I really want still jump out at me: taking some responsibility for the girls' schooling, doing something creative daily, figuring out meal planning and healthier eating.

What about you?  Do you have goals you have shelved due to changing life priorities? Do you feel bad about it? 


  1. Great post. Life has changed my goals a bunch recently but as long as I continue to make goals and always strive to reach most of them I am happy! Best of luck with your goal list. Listen to your will always lead you in the right direction.

  2. The second time I did Mondo there was a whole lesson in saying good bye to dreams that may never happen. There are many that have been shelved - mothering a girl, becoming a foster family, growing my hair long again. And I'm okay with that. They had to make room for 2013 Laura, the one with a beach house, with a better understanding of what the dreams meant.

    Mothering a girl meant I wanted to be a strong role model for a daughter. Instead I will be a strong role model for sons who will be feminists.
    Becoming a foster family was to help kids in transition but we are the type who will love someone forever if they are in our home.
    My hair won't ever be long again in my lifetime because it looks better short.

    Think of it as Agile Mondo. People evolve and their dreams evolve with them.

  3. Thanks for the shout-out. Yes, a little voice in my head is telling me that I should strive harder, and I still may take baby steps here and there, but it's hard to give up goals or bigger dreams.

  4. Great thought provoking post. It is hard to give up dreams even when they no longer really are things we want to achieve... it seems to be something no one really talks about. Your workplace's approach sounds like a good one.

  5. Great post. I think it's definitely important to periodically re-evaluate your goals. I had a list of goals (doing the 101 in 1001) and things changed within that time frame. I moved to a different country, so some of my original goals were no longer attainable (without a $2000 plane ticket). My perspective changed, so some of the original goals weren't as important or relevant anymore. I definitely don't feel guilty about changing my goals - it would be a waste of my resources if I kept working towards them just to say I crossed it off my list. Re-evaluating my goals helps me establish whether it's still worth pursuing.

    For the ones you do want to keep, breaking larger goals down into smaller, easier to attain steps can help build momentum towards achieving them!

  6. Life changes all the time, in a second what was once important can seem so trivial. I have had many dreams and goals not come to,fruition maybe because they weren't meant to, and I am okay with that. As Dori says just keep,swimming :)

  7. I'm a big goal maker. Like you, I PM the heck out of my goals sometimes. But I've found, somehow, that I'm ok with readjusting my goals. I'm not sure when I learned this or when I started implementing it, but I figured every decision I make may change how I see tomorrow. And I try to keep that in mind when I look at my goals.

    I also "grade" myself on whether I completed any part of the goal. For example, last year I had a goal to lose 50 lbs. I was head down and well on my way to losing it. Then my dad died. I couldn't foresee that as having such an impact on me that I would stop focusing on my health and weight loss. Yet at the end of the year I was down 30 lbs. And I was okay with that. Down was down.

    So I think you need to lighten up on yourself just a bit. Having two little, adorable girls (and a husband) who have free will and their own minds, will surely make you change your goals around some.

  8. I'm not big on the goal-making front. Life has seen me change too much, and face changes that make things that seemed so important SO irrelevant...

    I've been trying to focus on the person I want to be rather than the "Things I want" to have or do. God will give me the direction if I focus on dedicating myself to ABIDING.

  9. What a great post! Yes.....I gave up on a big dream this year and refocused into a new direction and I feel GREAT about it. I love goals and planning but I maintain the right to be flexible when things take a turn.

  10. I've got a post brewing on career advice, because I've found myself in the position of being asked for career advice several times recently (which is funny, since I am also in a seemingly perpetual state of career angst).

    Anyway, the thing that I keep coming back to is that you have to know what success looks like for you. If you can be clear on that, you're quite a bit of the way towards knowing when to let go of a personal or career goal, I think.

  11. I love this post.... need to think and come back to it :)

    ps pse enable your email on blogger (in profile settings) so I can email you back on your comments

  12. I think it's perfectly fine to change goals, or to abandon a goal if it no longer fits your life. But the problem is when people make the leap from one obvious truth (the future is unknowable) to an assumption that therefore one shouldn't plan and make goals. Even if there are plenty of things one can't control, there are things that one can. Meaningful things, not just whether one's mugs match and one's cupboards are free of clutter.


I love comments, so please leave me your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

sharing is nice

Related Posts with Thumbnails