Forget about setting goals?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Longstreet, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
  2. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I am happy to admit that I've spent to much time on these forums. Remember moises? This is an old post from him, that connects these ideas to DA's teachings:
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  3. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    In 2010 Leo Babauta wrote http://zenhabits.net/no-goal/
    He did not convince me but in subsequent years he wrote more posts about it (see ZenHabits archive).
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  4. RS356

    RS356 Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Environmental/Public Health
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Lately, I've been thinking about goals as well. Having goals and failing to reach them creates stress, unhappiness, and resentment, yet not having goals can lead to long-term unintentional outcomes, such as the regret of a life not well-lived. Perhaps some areas of life are more suited to goal setting than others?
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  5. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Female
    I don't tend to have smaller specific S.M.A.R.T. goals but I do have large overriding statements of purpose for my major areas of focus that I review quarterly. That keeps the life regret issues at bay.
     
    Longstreet and RS356 like this.
  6. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    So....what are your feelings now on goals. I like @Oogiem's approach. Sometimes, having weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. goals can be more frustrating as things come up and you have to constantly rewrite your goals.
     
  7. RS356

    RS356 Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2016
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Environmental/Public Health
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    My approach is similar to @Oogiem's. Intellectually, committing to weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals makes sense; however, this can be somewhat inflexible as life happens. For me, it's better to work incrementally toward a desired purpose, driven by my overall values and higher horizons.
     
  8. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Mixed feelings. I like goals and planning but two things happened in my professional life that undermined my confidence in goals and planning:
    - once upon a time I tried to hire my colleague to help me in my firmware development freelance project. Instead he has hired me to work in the financial institution and it was a perfect choice for me at that time;
    - when I was working in the financial institution I asked my old friend to help me in the old freelance project maintenance. He helped me but he also asked me to be a cofounder in his new startup. I said YES and it was even better choice than the previous one.
    I had my freelance goals, and rapidly changed them to financial sector goals, and rapidly changed them to startup goals.
    But there was something above these changing goals. I always wanted to create cool, useful software and hardware.
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  9. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    And that is why having a solid GTD system allows one to quickly change course, with new Areas of Focus, Projects, and Actions. Being flexible and able to respond appropriately in 2017 and beyond I believe is a vital skill! GTD helps us along the way with having a rock-solid, trusted system that allows us to quickly adapt. Cheers!
     
    AnneMKE likes this.
  10. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Totally agree. A responsible professional cannot make such career shifts without a complete inventory of projects that he has to close. It must be a fast but controlled shutdown.
     
    AnneMKE and Longstreet like this.
  11. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If you think of goals as setting SMART goals in order to psych yourself up or set pace for an undertaking, then less is less. Meaning, less is better. You can see this in the literature as well. For example the aforementioned Leo B. did set one goal or three MITs, before he went goal-less. Even Covey warns against setting up too many roles…

    In GTD we see a spin into the opposite direction: your projects and AoF lists become better, if you add more to them for the sake of completion or finer granularity. You don't want overcommitment, but you want the amount of detail that helps you best! I remember one poster who went absolute extreme with only eleven GTD projects, gasp! That's still three more than Covey's recommendation of eight roles.

    If you combine either time-blocking (like Covey) or SMART goals with GTD projects, you probably end up using those techniques only for a few select projects, because of the functioning inherent to them.

    At least, I didn't find a farmer in this thread whose example would contradict this theory…
     
    AnneMKE likes this.
  12. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Female
    :) As the farmer in question I came to GTD from a Covey system. Covey did do well to help me define the big picture, one reason I have written out scenarios for what I want things to be like in 5-10-25-100 and 500 years. Yep, I do have a 500 year plan for what I want our farm to look like, what I want society to be doing, how I want things to be operating. That's the sort of long term goal I review regularly. But those long term "Why am I here? What should society do?" type questions filter back down into concrete projects and actions I manage using GTD.

    For example, about 10 years ago one of the things added to the 100 year list was that this farm is self sufficient in energy production. That got translated into looking at the types of energy we use, electricity, propane, gasoline and diesel. Over the past 10 years we've installed enough solar panels to where we are a net power producer for electricity. We've installed solar hot water and solar hot air to reduce our need for propane, we've reduced the number of things that run on gas and diesel. I'm in a research mode now looking at home sized natural gas generation systems that could use the sheep manure to produce natural gas that could replace the propane. We've also been investigating biodiesel making options to replace the diesel and perhaps converting to other fuel sources for the vehicles and items that still run on gasoline. So a long term goal translates into shorter term projects.
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  13. AnneMKE

    AnneMKE Registered

    Joined:
    May 27, 2016
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    18
    @Oogiem , thank you so much for posting this. It never occurred to me that I could have projects for outcomes that I won't be around to see. I've actually just been joking with friends after reading about a popular goal-setting system that has you set your "someday" goals and then your "five-year" goals. I'm old enough, I've been saying, that my someday goals and my five-year goals look a lot alike. But of course I don't have to think about it that way. There are things I want to be true in 50 years, and there are things I could think about now to help them become true. Thanks for sparking such a profound shift.
     
    Oogiem and Longstreet like this.
  14. Jen

    Jen Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Female
    This article seems to me to be setting up a false dichotomy, goal vs system. You're pretty unlikely to reach a goal without a system/plan of how you might do that. I'm inclined to think that goals only become toxic when you can't be flexible with them or you didn't actually work on the goal, didnt have that system, so the unhappiness is guilt of inactivity.
     
    AnneMKE likes this.
  15. treelike

    treelike Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I feel that the majority of people are lacking this sense of purpose and don't ask the "Why am I doing this?" question very frequently. This might not be such a bad thing but for the fact that it means that they can be exploited by people who do have a sense of purpose (to exploit others).

    On the other hand a world full of billions of people, all with strongly defined, often incompatible objectives could be a (more) dangerous place.
     
    AnneMKE likes this.
  16. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Female
    I inherited the farm, one of my projects was one started by my mother over 30 years ago. It took me over 7 years to complete but it's done now. It won't have to be redone in my lifetime, in fact what I did on it should be good for 75 years or so. A lot of farm projects are long term, that is my biggest change from "traditional" GTD to my system. I deal with and handle long term projects frequently. I'm also a big believer that if you know the larger pictures you can always find a way to take that one step along the path. You may never get there but you sure won't get there if you don't start. So I start, by creating smaller projects that push toward that vision of the world as I want it to become.
     
    AnneMKE likes this.
  17. treelike

    treelike Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    From the first link:
    I've experienced this phenomenon many times and I've attributed it to not having goals rather than having them. If I pursue something because I just feel I want to do it then that's fine, but without a goal then it's all too easy to ask the question "Why am I really doing this then?" and the answer is demotivating. I suspect the answer is to have goals and review them at appropriate intervals (as defined by GTD for goals at different levels of horizon) to ensure that they are still on purpose. I'm personally finding this very difficult, after many years of GTD my 40,000ft level is still pretty much blank.
     
  18. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    In my opinion it is a very, very, VERY BAD example given by the author. Why?
    Because if the goal was to finish the half-marathon and it have been completed, the goal ceased to exist. There is no "hidden purpose" of this goal.
    We shouldn't expect any side effects of our goals.
    It's like setting a goal of building a tree house and expecting that you'll be motivated to build a city!
     
    Dragon likes this.
  19. treelike

    treelike Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Maybe the "hidden purpose" could be the realisation that the marathon runner doesn't actually like running after all. This would be good information, no? (If the runner did like running then setting a new goal to achieve a full marathon would surely be an obvious next step)
     
  20. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Maybe I'm crazy or weird but:
    1. I like running (~25 kilometers weekly).
    2. In 2011 I set the goal: "Run my best (first and last) marathon".
    3. I did it as planned.
    4. I'm still running but I don't need any goal. It's a pure pleasure for me.
    So for me it is possible to set a goal just to challenge myself, just to check how it feels. I am not attached to the goal and feel no obligation to pursue it any further.
     

Share This Page