The importance of setting manageable goals

Published on Friday 26 July 2019 | 2 minute read

Something that I've struggled with in the past is setting manageable goals. I would think to myself, "Let me set a big goal, to challenge myself". My thinking went that if I wasn't setting big goals, I wasn't challenging myself enough, so I wouldn't learn as much as I could. In fact, the opposite was true.

Setting big goals meant that I was setting unobtainable goals. I focussed too much on the goal, and though I thought I was thinking about how to get there, the goal itself still seemed to take priority. This is in fact a bad way of doing things. It's simple to see why: Literally anyone can set a goal of being a millionaire, or starting the next Amazon, but anyone achieving these is quite another thing. More down-to-earth but still as unrealistic - everyone that applies for a job can set the goal of being the successful candidate, but only one person can be.

What really enables us to make progress is process, or put another way as I've been learning from James Clear, our habits. It's not the person that sets the goal of being fit that gets fit, it's the person that has the habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator, who cycles to work instead of driving, or who goes for a run three times a week.

Goals are still important. We need something to aspire to and focus the mind. If we don't know where we're going, we won't know how to get there. But goals need to be set in the right context, they need to work with process as the driver, and we need to recognise when a goal isn't a goal, it's an aspiration (that last point is something I'll write about later).

My goal today was to make what I write on edforrest.com editable behind the scenes. I also aspired to keep my daily time on #100DaysOfCode down to less that an hour. By setting this realistic goal - which I completed in just 35 minutes, I also fulfilled my aspiration and gave myself more time for writing. I feel good now, and that feeling good and feeling like I'm achieving realistic goals is what's going to help sustain me through the next 97 days of my #100DaysOfCode. Doing my code and writing this article took 58 minutes.

Tomorrow, I'll work behind the scenes again. This time, I'll set up some tests the form that I write these articles in. Test Driven Development, or TDD, is an important tool for building reliable and manageable web applications. Even though edforrest.com is super simple right now, I'm going to embed the practice, or habit, of TDD in my workflow as a foundational activity.

#100DaysOfCode #Day3

Made by Ed in Somerset. 2019.