I’m going to try to post on Wednesdays about keeping up with my goals, specifically my 30 before 30 list (aka 30×30) – a list of 30 things I want to complete before turning thirty years old, which is going to turn into a 31×31 list (at an undisclosed date, because the internet is a scary place where you shouldn’t reveal your birthdate…or at least that’s what my mom told me).

What I Failed to Consider for my 30×30 Goal List

Financial Impact

A lot of my goals were expensive or required financial planning I hadn’t factored in. For example, I moved “see the northern lights” and “Go to the Sundance Film Festival” to my alternates list because they involve expensive trips. If a goal involves any kind of cost, budget for it. Said budgeting required me to re-prioritize what is most important, which turned actually helped me focus. If you want to learn a skill, investigate the cost. If you need a lesson/tool/book/instrument, do you know someone you who would lend it to you? Could someone teach you? I’ve learned YouTube is probably one of the best places to start. Be sure to investigate other free/low-cost resources. I just learned about my neighborhood’s Facebook group, which allows group members to make requests for lessons, ask to borrow or barter items,  and ask for recommendations or advice.

Manageable steps

Be ambitious but also realistic. For me, reading a couple of books a month is realistically ambitious. First, when setting the goal, consider the cost commitment described above, but also the time commitment. I have reading 21 classic books on my list. A worthy goal. But, reading 12 books in a year is much more palatable. One book a month? I can do that. But that’s not actually a manageable goal yet. I have to put a few deadlines on my calendar.

Deadline 1: Pick the book – pretty easy and kinda fun.

Deadline 2:  Get the book (beg/borrow/steal) just kidding, don’t steal a book. They’re like fifty cents at a used books store and I guess having a misdemeanor on your record is a bad thing? Anyway, add buying the book to the calendar.

Deadline 3: Page deadline. I’ve broken down how many pages I need to read everyday to finish the book in a month and put the daily page goals on my calendar, for example 300 page book in 30 days=10 pages a day. I can do that.

The Personality Factor

I procrastinate and am a questioner leaning toward rebel in Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework. Short version – the framework is about how you respond to inner and outer expectations. Questioners meet internal expectations but struggle with outer expectations. Rebels resist inner and outer expectations. So a few things I’ve realized about myself: I need to know why I’m pursuing a goal. It needs a purpose or I need to think it’s fun and interesting. I’m not really into doing things that just because they sound good or to say I’ve done them. It is not bad to do something to say you’ve done it or because it sounds good.  I mean if I were into running marathons, would I try to run the Boston Marathon or just run 26-something miles by myself on a Saturday morning? I’d run the Boston Marathon. Hell yeah I would. It sounds freaking great. I’d put it on my Bumble profile. I’d add it to my résumé. I’d post it on Facebook. I want that recognition. I want to tell people I’ve done it.  I don’t think that’s vain. But I digress. I need clarity about why I’m working toward a goal, I need deadlines, and I need to make tiny baby steps that are manageable. I also need to make it work for me. I have some rebellious tendencies, so if I set up goals and my plan to achieve them is too strict , I won’t do it. I need to make things fun so they don’t feel like an obligation.

Revisions Are Necessary

If something isn’t working or is too overwhelming, change it. Forget all the “rules” about goal setting. This is your list. Make it work for you. I’ve realized I’m not going to meet the deadline on my 30×30 list. Some of it just ain’t gonna happen. To be fair, I forgot about it for a few months and got discouraged when I realized some goals were no longer possible. This is why deadlines and check-ins are important. I’ve decided I’m still going to work on the list. I’ll keep goals I want to work on, add some new goals, and take out a few I’ve decided actually aren’t a priority anymore. I’m ok with this. Progress not perfection.