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Goal checking

Back in January, I set three goals for this year.

1) Promote my book as well as I can.

2) Meet new people and nourish current relationships.

3) Secret goal I’m not going to blog about.

I set three goals because I read that is the number of goals you can realistically achieve in a year. Many people fail to reach their goals because they try to do eight things at once. They want to keep their house clean and lose weight and organize their finances and become the Parcheesi world champion and get a promotion and learn to sew and volunteer more in their community and invent a cloning machine, because that final task is the only way you will ever be able to make so many changes in a year. There is only so much time, so it’s better to pick three big tasks and concentrate on those. It increases the likelihood that you will actually accomplish them. So, I typed my three goals, printed them out, and taped them above my desk so I could see them every day. (Then I realized that visitors could see these goals, so I moved them to the bedroom because I am secretive like that. And now I’m blogging about them publicly because I’m weird like that.)

I’m surprised to say, this has actually worked.

1) Promote my book as well as I can

I’m ready to cross this one off. Mission accomplished, no big banners on aircraft carriers necessary. I worked my ass off promoting Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir. I built a book site, planned a book party, tried some creative promotions, and did press in TV, radio, and print. I had my last scheduled radio interview last week, so my promotional work for the book is basically done. I’ll be happy to take any future opportunities to talk about it, but the big push is over and it went very well. No regrets.

2) Meet new people and nourish current relationships

I am a homebody and a bit of a loner, but I know that it’s important to make new friends for personal fulfillment, for business reasons, and just because new people can be damn interesting. I also hear having friends makes you live longer and be healthier, so it’s in my best interest not to sit alone in my apartment all weekend. However, I knew I would never do this naturally on my own, so I made it an official goal.

It didn’t start out so well. I joined a running group to train for my half-marathon and promised to talk to three new people every week, but eventually chickened out on that front.

I got better though. Some days I wanted to get work done on various projects, but a friend or family member would invite me to do something. My first instinct was to say no so I could make progress on my projects, but then I would remember goal #2 and decide to go out. By making it an official goal, I felt less guilty making the choice because I wasn’t really ditching my project, I was choosing to work on the other project of being social.

I’ve made new friends at my new job. I also attended the BlogHer conference and the Blog Indiana conference, where I met tons of new people. I’m checking up on new blogs and I have a lot more social connections now than I did at this time in January. I’m making great progress on this goal and hope to keep it up.

3) Secret goal I’m not going to blog about.

This one is sort of personal, so I’m not going to blog about it. I’ve only really started to work on it in the past month or two and it’s still in the beginning phases. Things are going well, though.

The three-goal system has worked out pretty well for me, so I’m going to try to do this every year. It’s good to assess my life annually, look at where I am, and figure out where I want to be. Many people wonder why they can never get big stuff done, but if you work a little everyday towards the things you want, you can make progress. There are still days when I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done and I’ll never get where I want to be. But other days I do get a little bit ahead, and eventually all those little bits add up to something bigger.

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32 Comments

deanna • August 21, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Yeah for you!!

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Emily • August 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I only want to know #3, because you said I can’t know #3. It’s like when you are a kid and your friend tells you they have a secret.

Good job, though!

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chanda • August 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Those were some pretty hefty goals, Im impressed as hell! I like that idea though, three goals defined and met within a year. I think even I could do that.

Good luck with #3, whatever that may be. Not that Im curious or anything.. nope, not me..never. :)

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Sarah • August 21, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I never had heard of the three-goal system, but that makes sense. I think we all have a tendency to look at the big picture, at how many things we somehow feel that we need to “be better at.” Maybe I’ll try this for ’09.

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Alexia • August 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Um, I want to ask for a hint about #3 without being rude or pushy, but can’t figure out a way to do that. So I’ll remain curious, yet supportive in all of your mysteriousness! ;-)

You rock!

I’m a business coach so am a goals geek type of person. I read a great book called The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One. It has great tactics for managing multiple goals while actually getting them done.

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Andrew is getting fit • August 21, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Good on you. :)

You are a perfect tease. Secret goal must know!

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Sarah • August 21, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I sure am curious about yor secret goal, it might not even be that interesting, but call it a secret and everyone gets nosey! Although, I guess you had to mention it as you are talking about a THREE goal system, so two just wouldn’t do.

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TOWR • August 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I had a depressing realization the other day: I’m never going to be the person I really want to be. Not because I’m not willing to try, but because life is a journey and not an end goal (sorry for the cliche), so I’ll never be exactly who I want to be. But that’s not going to stop me from getting as close to it as I can! This post was a good kick in the butt. :) Thanks!

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susan • August 21, 2008 at 2:38 pm

okay the game is on…. Guess Goal #3!

My guess….it’s something spicy to do with PQ’s love life ;-)

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PastaQueen • August 21, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Yeah, the math geek in me would say that life is like approaching an asymptote line.

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Sally Parrott Ashbrook • August 21, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Yes, you’ve just made all of us terribly curious about #3. Ha ha. But it’s good to keep some things to yourself when you’re not ready to share yet.

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The Baroness • August 21, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Umm…I want to know about #3. Come on, we’ll never tell. Okay, that’s all I will say about it.

We’re all proud of you for working on our goals! You work very hard and get what you want!!

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Juice • August 21, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Is there a point in time where you might be willing to share #3 with us? Perhaps after you have accomplished it? I’m curious too!

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Mal • August 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I secretly hope that goal #3 has something to do with boyfriends/girlfriends, match.com, or something else in the romantic realm. Maybe you are just super private and tight-lipped about that portion of your life (and no one would blame you if you were!) but I’d love to hear what goes on in that beautiful brain of yours in the context of a romantic relationship.

Forgive if this comes out offensive — it wasn’t intended to!

The thing I love about setting big goals that positively impact your life is that even if you don’t totally achieve them, you always end up moving in the right direction. Case in point — your goal to talk to 3 people per week during running group. Okay, you didn’t achieve the mathematically perfect number that you intended to, but it got you motoring in the right direction!

Good on you, girl.

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Kim • August 21, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Definately a Pasta-King in the works I think…

good luck with #3 whatever it is.

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MizFit • August 21, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I was working on revamping my personal mission statement today and this was SO TIMELY for me.

thank you.

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Gwendolyn • August 21, 2008 at 4:34 pm

For #2, I’ve found that making friends is pretty difficult to do. I’ve been living near Boston for over over two years and have yet to make a single friend (other than my boyfriend). Just getting people to respond to a friendly “hello” up here is challening! I often wonder if it’s because I’m fat, but then even the other overweight people act the same way towards me. I don’t get it. >.

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cindy • August 21, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Hi PQ,

Three goal system—I like the idea of it. My inclination is to try to attack everything that needs “fixing,” which is of course impossible, so I end up fixing nothing. Limiting myself to three goals might help me focus better, if they are not too big…

When I started this weight loss goal, I also started graduate school the same week. I think I was nuts, in hindsight. But I am 130 pounds lighter and I am two classes away from graduating ~ one this fall and one in the spring and I’ll be done. It will be three years since I started, come Labor Day. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I’ve also made a LOT of mistakes and created all kinds of stress for myself socially and at work by having such big personal goals. Everything has a cost… and personal growth is “EXPENSIVE!”

Three goals…I am going to have to do some thinking—you are always good for that (promoting thinking!).

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Mattie • August 21, 2008 at 4:38 pm

You know how people start to tell you something, then half-way through they realize they are telling you something that either your not privileged to know or forget that they didn’t want to tell anyone anyways … so they stop and say, “Nevermind.”

(And they say it in a tone that pays homage to Gildna Radner?)

Yeah. That’s you. LOL

You could have stopped at two. You didn’t have to admit there were three goals. You didn’t have to taunt us.

We bought your book! Some of us even paid extra to have it autographed!

We need to know what Number 3 is!!!

I’m going to go cry now.

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maggieapril • August 21, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Just getting to the point where you even have a book to “promote as well as you can” is impressive – the national television appearances make it even more so.

I totally identify with #2. As a business owner I FORCE myself to go to Chamber of Commerce meetings and the like. I may be getting better at it, but I’m still not great. (Seriously, small talk is overrated and taxing on the psyche.)

As for #3, talk about piquing the interest of your readers, good job!

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Jen • August 21, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I really like the three-goal idea. Good work on your book promotion, too, you really got out there and made some major media stuff happen. Good luck on 2 and 3. :)

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Paula • August 21, 2008 at 5:58 pm

If #3 has to do with eHarmony, I have had success! I met my husband there! (We celebrate our first anniversary on Monday the 25th!)

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Sara • August 21, 2008 at 6:44 pm

What a great strategy for the daunting task of not only meeting our goals, but making them to begin with.

Kudos to you for keeping the mysterious goal #3 close to your chest, and I hope that you make great strides toward the achievement of it!

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jae • August 21, 2008 at 7:09 pm

I really don’t care what #3 goal is but if you need to let it out I have big ears! :)

Anyways, I usually don’t make goals because I’m lazy and don’t work on them then I get all pissed at myself about how lazy I am. But I’ve never really tried, you know? I think you have a great idea by only picking three because that’s doable. Hmm, something for me to think about! ~j

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dinah • August 21, 2008 at 10:29 pm

congrats!

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Jenny • August 21, 2008 at 10:44 pm

I like to narrow it even further. 60-day personal challenges are my style, and two goals, max: one physical, one mental/spiritual. For instance, my last one was 1) eat at least two fruits and two vegetables every day (this was up from one last time and none the time before) and 2) get in touch with one neglected old friend for each week of the challenge, for a total of 8. I felt like a completely different, better person by the end. Naturally, though, some goals take longer to achieve — but I seem to like short sprints.

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Tracy Bradley • August 21, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Hi there!

Just listened to your podcast with Jimmy Moore last night, and coincidentally saw your blog listed on the Nursing School Search Top 100…wanted to pop by and say hi :) Really enjoyed the podcast, and am looking forward to reading your book as well. And congrats on your progress!

BTW, I second “The Renaissance Soul” book – literally changed my life, and I don’t say that lightly! Ahhh, external validation, there’s nothing like it.

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Merry • August 21, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Your commentary on goal #2 reminded me of Danny Wallace’s book “Yes Man.” He made it a goal that for a year he would not say “no” to any offer than someone made him.

I liked reading the part when he got a call from a telemarketer about double-glazing:

“Yes! I want to have my windows double glazed, even though I don’t own the house and I don’t know what double-glazing is, and I’ll tell you why! Because I’ve decided to say ‘yes!’ every time someone asks me a question, and click — Hello? Hello?”

Got kinda interesting, at least regarding the emails he was saying ‘yes!’ to from Nigerian royalty. Anyway, an amusing read:

http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9781416900665-0

Jim Carrey is turning this into a movie, oddly enough.

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Talli van Sunder, DPT • August 21, 2008 at 11:41 pm

I agree when you set too many goals you can get overwhelmed and end up having a difficult time achieving any of the goals. It is better to set a few simpler goals and work hard on achieving them.

Good luck with your book! You won’t have any problems meeting new people! :-)

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madeline • August 22, 2008 at 5:19 am

You have such an ordered way of approaching life. I am sometimes like that when I am serious about doing something. But I am also a big picture thinker and often get stressed out when whatever I want or need to do seems so big and I don’t know where to start. Sometimes I think it’s laziness that I don’t just lay everything out and start taking small steps. Thanks for putting your ideas and processes out there. It’s so great to see someone else doing the productive thing – it’s encouraging and reminds me that I can (I mean should) do it too.

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Writer Dad • August 22, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Nice to meet you Pasta Queen. I’m Prince Pasta. It’s my favorite thing in the world. Had it for dinner Tuesday, last night, and finished the rest off for lunch about an hour ago. I like your blog, and just wanted to say that I think Half Assed is the single best title I’ve ever heard for a weight loss book. You’re awesome.

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Abs • September 3, 2008 at 6:50 am

Hey, if you want support to help you reach those goals, I can highly recommend http://www.43things.com – it’s a super-supportive community based around setting and achieving goals, and it’s a really fun place to hang out and make friends. Look me up on there – my username is absnasm (it’s a long story, and Googleable if you can be bothered).

And if you want even more one-to-one support, drop me a line – I’m a life coach and I would love to work with someone as driven and motivated as you.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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