Monday, June 26, 2017

The 400th Post

After deciding that I would start blogging again, I noticed that my next post (this one) would be the 400th that I published in the thoughtclearing blog. It’s a neat milestone. Because I have not been putting effort into the blog, it’s a somewhat anti-climactic goal. If I had reached this goal during a period of writing regularly, I would be more attached. I didn’t really have any particular subject in mind for a new blog post—I had several possibilities, but because it this post was to be the 400th, I thought about reaching milestones and setting goals.

Generally I believe in setting goals, and often I believe in setting extremely ambitious goals, and then not worrying about it if you don’t make them. Sometimes, however, it’s better to set goals that you can and will keep. It’s dependent on context. There was a period where I tried to publish a post every day—that was a pretty ambitious goal—and I didn’t make it. In 2008, I posted 285 times in. a year with 366 days (78%), or a bit more often than three times every four days. Looking back, I'm satisfied with that. I could focus on not having written every day, but instead, I focus on the writing that I did--I think I wrote some nice pieces. And I also focus on the benefit I received from that practice of writing. Did I meet my goal precisely? No. But I think that I got a good outcome.

Right now, in restarting this blog, I have to decide what my goals will be. In my previous post, I said once a week, and that seems right to me. Posting or trying to post every day took a lot of attention, and I want to work on projects other than just posting a blog. In setting my goal, I think I should specify which day in the week I will post, otherwise the once-a-week goal isn’t clearly defined-—when does a week end? So I think I will aim to post on Mondays. I suppose that leaves me room to publish on Sundays, but the aim is to have one post for each Monday, starting with today, Monday June 26, 2017. With that schedule, I’ll reach post #500 in a couple of years—sometime in late May or early June in 2019.

With persistence and luck, I’ll get to post 500. But who knows? Goals are good, and this one does not seem onerous to me, but sometimes we need to adjust goals. Sometimes we find better goals; sometimes fate intervenes. I don’t know what the next years will bring that might lead to my abandoning a goal of posting every week. What’s important in the long run is that I have goals that focus my efforts and use my abilities effectively.

If I were looking for a lesson in this post, I would focus on how goals are most valuable for focusing effort. They are a great tool for looking to the future. But goals can become an unnecessary emotional burden if they appear to grow distant. If a goal slips out of reach, turn your focus to setting a new goal. Focus on the accomplishments you have made, and look to the future. Let the goal guide you; don’t let failed goals weigh you down.

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