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My Year for Underachieving: Why I Have No Goals in 2015


I wrote the below post in January and then I didn't publish it. I'm not sure why I didn't but then I saw this Humans of New York post:

I'm not the only one with this problem! For me to not set some sort of major milestone in my life is really hard - I'm an overachiever. I felt so stretched thin the past few years I needed to change it up by doing something 'radical' for myself - zero goals. Since we're at that mid-year reflection point, I wanted to share what I wrote for myself at the beginning of this year. I'm proud to say that I've done a pretty good job at living life freely without the self-imposed bounds of reaching major goals. I hope that this motivates you to do the same if that's what you need in your life.


January 2015

Ok, I admit, the title is a little misleading. But at the end of last year I felt like I couldn’t have one more goal, I couldn’t deal with one more achievement to strive for. I had burned myself out. It felt good to say “I have no goals in 2015 other than to just be.” In 2014 I did not have time for friends, family, or myself. I had such little flexibility to let days, evenings, and weekends take me wherever they led.  And you know what? That sucks.

When I spoke to my friend Justin this week, who I admire as a entrepreneur and wonderful person overall, I mentioned my no goals objective. He said point blank: “No you can’t. You’re not that type of person and neither am I.” I thought to myself “UGH I know but that’s why I must force myself to have no goals!” Justin continued, “It’s not about not having goals, it’s about load balancing. The goal is focus on yourself.”

Damn, that’s a good point.

But for me there is clarity and comfort knowing that what I will focus on in 2015 is totally loose. And I’m not thinking about my focus as goals but as guidelines that I may or may not try to follow.

Just FYI, my inner Type A voice is going crazy right now.

I wanted to share this with you because it feels good to commit to nothing, in writing (sorry, Type A coming out). I also wanted to share my thoughts in case you might be feeling burned, and are looking for a reason to underachieve the only way a Type A person can - by creating your personal anti-goals.

  • I’d like to do more yoga and running but I don’t care if I progress in my practice or hit any PRs. #antigoal2015
  • I’m going to hang out with my friends a lot more, but I’m not going to plan out my social calendar. I’ll let you know in advance when I’m flaking. #antigoal2015
  • I’d like to write more for myself, but it’s ok if I don’t. #antigoal2015
  • Career goals? Be kickass for HandUp, but I’m not pre-defining where I think I should be at the end of 2015. #antigoal2015
  • Be healthy, but I’m cool with a few meat cheats and will most likely still drink too much bourbon. #antigoal2015 #vegfriendlymostly
  • Be the seriously best girlfriend I can be, but sometimes I might still leave dishes in the sink.  #antigoal2015

What this will really allow me to do is be present: in my relationship, for friends and family, and enjoy living my life fully. I hope you have a 2015 filled with anti-goals, if that’s what you want.

LifeMeghan Murphy