I find that when I set goals, I often need to test them out and then refine them. No matter how hard I think about things up front, I always find room for improvement as soon as I start pursuing the goal.
I recently set a goal of “read someone else’s writing once a fortnight” because I thought I should make more time for reading.
This seemed good at the time but I now realise it was pretty bad.
Firstly “reading” was ill defined. I skim a lot of articles but rarely read them properly.
So I decided to tweak it pretty quickly to be “Read and summarise an article or piece of work” every week, sometimes missing a week but never two.
That seems good, but it not helping with my emerging goal to stop being boring and actually read some things for pure enjoyment – SF books, history books, maybe crime or mystery things.
So now I have a competing goal of
- Spend some time reading something interesting with no agenda; versus
- Read and summarise something useful every week, sometimes missing the week but never missing two.
My first goal would better read – Spend some quality time reading once a day (maybe miss a day but never two).
Or maybe this is one goal too many.
For the next week I will persist with my three goals of:
- My writing goal (not negotiable)
- My reading goal of either spending some time reading non work stuff each day (missing one day by never two) OR reading one thoughtful and useful piece of writing (a chapter of a book or an article) and summarise it for myself once per week.
I will try this for another week or two and then prune my goals to hone in on the things I want.