Goalless 2020

I have been a goal-oriented person for as long as I can remember. Graduate college in X years – check. Earn X dollars per year by 30 – check. Read more books and watch less TV – check. Call mom every Sunday – 80% check.

I recently finished “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work” by Jason Fried (founder of company Basecamp), which I highly recommend. The book is a series of essays about how you don’t have to kill yourself at work, answer emails at all hours, and be stressed all the time to be successful in your work life. One of the essays is titled “Our Goal: No Goals.” The owners of Basecamp don’t set regular goals for their business, which is highly unusual in corporate America. Their only two goals, which haven’t changed, are to stay in business and be profitable. Jason notes that:

“A goal is something that goes away when you hit it. Once you’ve reached it, it’s gone.”

I totally can relate to this. I love the journey a goal takes you on. It can take you to the gym 4x per week. Or take you on intimate walks with your spouse. Or take you on a learning journey. But once you reach the destination, then what?

My buddy Jeremy penned a piece about goals and I want to highlight a passage:

“Similarly, you should beware of goals that others set that you take as your own. As my friend Ashby wisely asks for many decisions and goals: “At what cost?” Some friends or colleagues may have higher income goals, or a new home goal, or a certain vacation goal and are willing to make sacrifices to achieve those goals that you might not be. That’s absolutely fine – you be you, I’ll be me, and let them be them.”

A lot of times we set goals because we see others setting similar goals. Or we aspire to be more like someone else, so we set a goal that we think will get us there.

Another reason why goal-setting can be silly at times is, as humans, we are incredible sandbaggers. We set goals that we know we can achieve, consciously or not. I sometimes wonder what type of outcomes we can have if we just put in effort, and try, without expectations for what will be awaiting us at the finish line.

I want to continue to enjoy the journey in 2020. I already have a set of habits ingrained into me from years of goal-setting. I’m at a point where I’m happy, healthy, and my wife and I can provide for the life we want to currently lead. 2020, for me, is going to be a goalless year. I want to do a better job of enjoying the here and now, without getting caught up in what I “should be” doing or striving for.

1 thought on “Goalless 2020

  • I am definitely a goal-oriented person. This post has made me think a lot about how I have structured my life.

    Thank you.

    Now I need to go off and think more about this.


    – Gale

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