posted by Matt W on May 1st, 2013

Goal setting drives me crazy, it always has. One of the reasons is the wide variety of tasks that can fall under “goal setting.” While John F. Kennedy told the nation to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth,” my wife recently said, “My goal is to lose 3 pounds so I can fit into my skinny jeans.” These are two totally different actions. As some people think of goals on a grander scale (me), and others more like tasks (wife) and still others more like non-attainable motivational tools (boss), goals in many cases are sources of conflict.

While not all goals are ridiculous, in many cases, they lack a true connection to reality, such as sales teams setting goals for work. “Remember to set your goals high, make them measureable, and most of all totally unattainable so upper management is impressed. Remember that you are more likely to keep your job if you lie, than if you set a goal that you actually have a chance of meeting.”  Ironically, I did come up with goals during that same meeting although not sales related. Here are a few: “My goal is to make it through this meeting without a turrets-like swear-fest.” “My goal is to drink 16 glasses of water and then see how many times I can leave to go to the restroom.” “My goal for this meeting is to come up with at least 5 ways to knock-off my manager and dispose of the body without being caught, which reminds me I need to pick up a bag of lye on the way home from work.” Wow, goal setting can be measurable and interesting at the same time. I was relieved of my sales responsibilities shortly thereafter.

As I mentioned earlier most goals that I hear are more along the lines of tasks that can be crossed off a list. As they are tasks I think that women more easily set goals but because they aren’t even really goals, their goals suck. What’s the point of setting the goal to “clean the back yard,” when I’m using all my brainpower to solve the drought in the Mid-west? The word “goal” just doesn’t resonate with me like it does my wife. And as tasks are most closely associated with the honey-do list in my life, the word task holds an even lower place on my list of words than goal.

So my solution to this problem is to use a different word for all the lower level tasks that my wife has on her goal list and crosses out on a daily basis with such pride. I’m going to go on “missions” like James Bond or Ethan Hunt. Mission is much cooler and more along the lines of a short term action; I like it. My mission, Charlie Yankee (Clean Yard), should I choose to accept it, will commence at 0700 Saturday, with agent Oscar Sierra (oldest son) “mowing” down enemy agents while I more systematically “weed” the remainder of the agents from our yard, I mean jurisdiction. Wow, I feel better already.

If only I could get Q to quit adding so many things to the Honey-do, I mean Mission Log. I can see there are still a few quirks to work out of my system.

File Under Working Stiff