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Letting Go of a Goal

molly_struve profile image Molly Struve (she/her) ・6 min read

Setting The Goal

Back in January dev.to introduced the 4-week streak badge.

In the post, Ben mentions that the reason for the badge was to reward and motivate people who had writing goals for the new year. One of those people happened to be me so I was thrilled! After obtaining this coveted 4-week badge I decided to keep going. A month later I got the 8-week badge. At this point I was pretty darn proud of myself. But more importantly, I was LOVING blogging and the dev.to community. The ideas were flowing and I had plenty of time to fit it into my schedule. It was a great outlet and way for me to share my knowledge and experience.

Riding this high I decided, in true Molly fashion, that it was time to go big or go home. That is when I set my writing goal for the year:

My goal was to write a blog post a week for an entire year.

To me, it seemed like all of these hotshot bloggers were turning out multiple posts a week, the least I could do was one a week, right? With my goal set, I kept chugging along with my posts. Soon I had the 16-week badge in hand and felt unstoppable.

The Struggle Begins

Around the end of May/beginning of June, I started to struggle a little bit. I had horse shows that started to take up a lot of my time on the weekends, plus I had a handful of CFPs that I wanted to submit for fall conferences. Despite the extra commitments, I still managed to find time to crank out a post a week. Then the conference acceptances came. In the span of 2 weeks, I got 2 CFP acceptances and 2 out of the blue speaking invitations.

I was SO PUMPED about all the opportunities! Speaking is a big passion of mine because it is yet another great way I can share my knowledge and experience with others. However, with the speaking commitments also came the realization that I now had speeches to prepare. It all felt really overwhelming thinking about all the things I had to do but I stopped myself from going down that path by taking it one day at a time as I continued blogging.

Now we are in July, my talks are scheduled to begin at the end of September. Even though they are technically a couple of months away I have already started prepping. I personally like to write my talks slowly. I put all the CFP content into a slide deck then over the course of a few weeks fill in all the slide context such as images, gifs, text, animations, code, etc.

With talk prep in full swing, the horse show season is also now at its busiest. Usually 3 out of 4 weeks each month for the entire summer I am traveling to a horse show. Add to that another couple CFPs I want to submit and throw on top some family vacations, I began to wonder if trying to do a blog post a week with the rest of my schedule was feasible. After pondering it for a few days and taking a hard look back at the previous month of posts I decided it was time to let go of my goal to write a blog post a week for a year.

Here are the reasons why I choose to let go of my goal.

Post Quality

The first realization that hit me was that I felt deep down my posts were not getting the attention they deserved. When I looked back at my posts for June and the beginning of July I thought they were good posts, but I will admit some of them went out earlier than I wanted them to. I really wish I could have taken an extra week to iron some of them out more, but because of my post/week goal, I published them as is.

I Want To Do Some Longer Posts

I have some beefy posts that I have been hoping to write for a while now but I keep putting them off because I know I can't finish them in a single week. Those long posts have gotten pushed on the back burner in favor of quick ones I can get out in a single week. I want to find the time to really dig into some more meaty posts and not having the deadline of 1 post per week will allow me to do that.

Community Involvement

I set the goal of writing a post per week because I wanted to get more involved in the tech community and to share my knowledge with others. I now realize that writing blog posts is not the only way to be involved and I certainly don't have to do one per week to be a solid contributor to the dev.to community or tech community in general.

Writing blog posts is only a small piece of my dev.to and tech community involvement. Other involvement includes reading and commenting on other posts! Beyond dev.to, I have been actively using Twitter, mentoring, and doing podcasts. Overall, I am EXTREMELY happy with where I am with my tech community involvement right now. None of that is going to go away if I decide to write a post every 2, 3, or 4 weeks rather than 1 per week.

One post that really spoke to me and in a sense gave me permission to let go of my goal was this:


It helped remind me that the reason for gamification and goals is to increase involvement and engagement. Since my engagement in the community is high, why force myself to try to hit a goal that will only add stress to my life.

Happiness

Life is about doing what makes you happy. Not only does blogging make me happy but so many other things do as well! Riding horses, tackling a home renovation with my husband, speaking, doing podcasts, engaging with people on Twitter; I love all of it! Rather than turning one of my passions into something stressful because of a goal that was made under different circumstances, I choose to let go of the goal instead.

When I set the goal I had no speaking engagements lined up, I was not doing podcasts, I was not traveling for horse shows, and I was not doing as much mentoring as I am doing now. There is only so much time in the day and with all the additional commitments something has to give and I am not going to let that be my blog post quality or my happiness.

It's OK To Let Go

I am a very competitive and driven person. If I set a goal, I will drive with everything I have to accomplish it. However, I have learned a few things in my 30 years of life and one of those is that sometimes you have to readjust your goals and expectations. Life changes, it evolves, and sometimes goals we set 3, 6, 9 months ago need to be adjusted. Some people might say that "Life got in the way," but I don't see it that way at all. My life got fuller and happier and I want to maintain and continue that which is why I have chosen to let go of my goal.

I wrote this post for those out there that set goals and are struggling with them. It is OK to let them go, to adjust them as life happens. Goals should enhance and bring meaning and purpose to your life, not cause stress. The moment your goal starts to cause you stress and begins to take away from your happiness is when the goal needs to be adjusted.

Dream big, but if your big dream starts turning into a nightmare, rewrite it on your own terms. 🤗

Posted on by:

molly_struve profile

Molly Struve (she/her)

@molly_struve

International Speaker 🗣 Runner 🏃‍♀️ Always Ambitious. Never Satisfied. I ride 🦄's IRL

Discussion

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Thank you! I had a similar goal, although I said 50 posts in a year (2 weeks off, woohoo!) I was pretty close to keeping that goal, and then we had a baby at the end of April, and my pace went right in the toilet. At this point, I have to satisfy myself with writing only whenever I'm inspired enough to get up at 5AM before she wakes up.

But, she laughed for the first time on Friday, so I'm feeling pretty OK about the trade :)

This post was good to read, though. A good reminder that as long as we're doing enough that our overall fuzzy goals are being met, we can adjust our more strict, concrete goals to tailor our current situation. Thanks!

 

Congrats on your baby!!! That is definitely a good reason to adjust your goals ❤️️

 

Yes, it's so hard to let go of a goal. Here's a quote that helped me a lot in my journey of giving up on a music career in favor of a programming career. Hopefully it helps you and your readers too! :)

“When you have an idea that is making you suffer, you should let go of it, even (or perhaps especially) if it is an idea about your own happiness." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I'm glad that you were able to find this wisdom through your own experiences, @molly_struve . Also, I look forward to your "beefier" posts as you called it. I love posts that really dig into a topic. That being said, I've started to cut my longer posts into separate posts since I've noticed that shorter posts get stronger reactions on dev.to. Have you noticed that?

 

Thank you for the kind words!

I too like to keep my posts succinct bc those are the kinds of posts I like to read! But even some succinct posts take more time to write. You want to put more time and effort and thought into them. Also sometimes code formatting takes FOREVER 😉

 
 

Personally, I've let go of goals in general. It's soothing to just walk a path, instead of walking a path to.

 

As my mom likes to say, its all about the journey and not the destination!

 

I very much needed to read this advice today. Thank you for sharing it with us 💚 wishing you all the best with your new & revised goals! 💪🏻