I know that all the smart people say that you need them and it's not like I don't have things that I want to do with my life or the next year of my life or even today. But when you follow the SMART rules for good goal-settting (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely), you end up with something that feels to me rigid and stark. Either I succeeded or failed. There's no room for "failed but gained something even better" or "attempted but realized I didn't actually care about that goal at all" or "got off to a good start but then something surprising and fabulous happened that changed everything" or "went off on a fun tangent" or even "succeeded but left with very little feeling of accomplishment."
The goal assumes that I know the end result. It leaves little room for experimentation and discovery and surprise, things that are essential to me in my creative process, but I realize now were equally important when I had a corporate day job and had to do this for myself and staff I managed. Failure to attain a goal can often be more valuable than its success, not just in a "lessons learned" kind of way, but also in keeping ourselves flexible and growing. It's good to have a destination, but the best journeys have delays and side trips and sometimes end up in unexpected places.
Yet I wrote on Facebook this morning about feeling easily derailed lately and I realize that some of this has to do with a confusion of purpose. The things I have to do to stay afloat and happy at the same time are becoming confused and so it's easy to get off-track and stuck in the mud. So maybe some articulated goals are in order. Maybe one of my goals should be to fail at least one of my goals, just to keep things interesting.