⭐ you don't have to fail with abandon
Last year I read 24 books, 6 books short of my Goodreads goal of 30. This year, I'm ahead of schedule, with 5 out of 25 read already, but being on track without much added effort makes me feel like I set too low of a goal.
This concern makes me think of Parkinson's Law, the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." In my case, it's more of a corollary of the law, something along the lines of "effort expands and contracts in relation to the goal."
I'm also reminded of an excellent post I read a few months ago called "Failing with Abandon". In it, Nate Soares writes:
Over and over, I see people set themselves a target, miss it by a little, and then throw all restraint to the wind. "Well," they seem to think, "willpower has failed me; I might as well over-indulge." I call this pattern "failing with abandon."
But you don't have to fail with abandon. When you miss your targets, you're allowed to say "dang!" and then continue trying to get as close to your target as you can.
I fall victim to this all the time. I'll eat most of a large bag of chips, and then decide that I might as well eat the rest since I already far surpassed a healthy portion. What's a little more, right? I'll get back on track next time.
But in this case, with a goal that seems patently within reach, will I feel less motivated to keep reading more books once I've already hit my yearly goal? This technically doesn't count as failing with abandon, because I will have already met my goal, but it feels like subset of the same phenomenon. In both cases we need to remember why we made the target in the first place, to avoid becoming a victim of our own metrics (see: Goodhart's law).
As I write this I realize that this can serve as a public reminder to myself that I don't have to fail with abandon. Just because I haven't written for most of February doesn't mean I can't start writing regularly now. Where in your life are you failing with abandon?