A Step toward “Some Day:” Setting Goals

I’m teaching a Freshman course called University 101 this semester. I’ve taught this course (in its various forms) for several years now and have always been challenged by one of the assignments we give the students: Setting a Goal.
We spend several weeks on this project, requiring the students to write a reflection paper about a future goal, and then transform that paper into a power point presentation, and then give a speech about their goal in class.
This assignment is equal parts inspiring, challenging, and terrifying for students.
I love this assignment for my students, but I always feel slightly guilty administering it…mostly because I am so bad at goal setting myself.

Setting goals feels like a luxury, mostly because I feel like I am trying to survive Today. I rarely have time to focus on long term goals, or even short term goals, because I am trudging through Vally o’ Emails, or climbing Mount Laundry, or swimming the Ocean of Dishes, getting stuck in the Swamp of Terrible Papers, or Fighting the Battle of 2nd grade Homework, or…Can anyone else relate?

I do have my “some days” though–things that I think about, dream about, or read about in other people’s lives. Some day I’ll…Some day I want to…Some day…

But Some Day never comes. Because my life is FULL of all the other things, every day, unrelentingly. Sadly, I have gotten to the place where I don’t even want to set goals because I am afraid of being disappointed in myself. I even stopped writing to-do lists for a while because I didn’t want to see at all the un-ticked boxes at the end of the day. True story.

But when my students write their goal papers and do their tiny-terrifying-3 minute presentations in class, I feel my little desires flutter within my chest. So, this year I did something stupid: I told my class I had goals.

Yep. I told them out loud that I wanted to write a book “some day,” but my short term goal (PRACTICALITY, Freshmen!) was to “Becoming a better, more consistent writer.”

Now that’s a really vague goal, the kind of goal that I would give a nice professorly look over my black-rimmed glasses and write in bold, red letters: “Be specific. What do you mean? How will you be come a better, more consistent writer?”

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This is me grading, not writing, just in case anyone was confused.

So I did something even more stupid. I signed up for  “Write 31 Days.”

Write 31 Days is a blogging challenge for the month of October where you…write for 31 days.
Pretty basic.
Except for one catch–you have to write about ONE TOPIC for 31 days.
Not so basic.
And the whole thing is pretty terrifying for me in general because the two things I lack as a blogger, writer, or whatever is consistency and discipline. So, that’s my goal specific, practical goal: Write for 31 days on one topic to develop consistency and discipline in order to become a stronger writer.

I’ve never done anything like this before and I am shake-in-my-gut terrified of failing. But I am trying to tell myself what I tell my children and students: “You can do hard things.”

I am taking a small step toward Someday in the middle of my crazy, overflowing life. Because my goals just aren’t for Some Day…they are for Right Now too.

What’s your Some Day goal?
Are you taking practical steps toward your goal?
Are you scared out of your pants, like me?