Gracefully missing goals

Hi. My name is Vlad and I missed my weekly goals.

Since January 2019, on wekends I do an activity that I call weekly planning and review. For review, I read my daily journal records for the past week, ponder about the energy and usefulness of the time spent, and think of what I can do better next week. For planning, I pick a couple of things that I want to get done next week, and schedule action steps on specific days.

This has worked quite well for me, and has reduced my distress over the things that I really wanted to do and couldn’t manage to make time for. And every now and then, something occurs that messes up my weekly plans. This week it’s been the jetlag after coming from California.

Besides not being able to keep up with the plans, the jetlag also causes a dip in morale, and on Friday I pondered a bit about this, and figured that this would be a useful subject to write about.

To me the weekly plan, and plans generally, are intended as an aid for carrying out a series of steps towards a goal, and as such, are a constructive effort — and so it’s ironic that not being able to follow the plan has sometimes caused me distress. As much sense as it makes, it took quite a while for me to internalize this, in spite of reading Zen Habits for years.

So every now and then, the reality doesn’t unfold as I plan. I think the biggest step for me towards gracefully handling those days, was to be aware of my dips in morale. I have found that on those days I should stay away from making big conclusions or decisions. At most I can write some notes on the thoughts. It turns out that it’s much more useful to take a nap or a walk.

OK, so what do I do when I miss my goals? Take a break. Regroup and re-factor the plans. Allow for some slack in the future. If clearly some mess happened, think about why it happened, and maybe determine the changes needed to prevent it. This usually happens during the weekly review, and usually in writing.

This routine helps me stay sane, and although not a bulletproof system, it works.