The importance of big goals

& a quiz about goal setting

Hello darlings!

How the hell are you all doing?!? Sorry that it has been a minute - I took a really lovely, month-long vacation and then just as I was getting my shit together, BOOM, hurricane Ida comes along. I’m fine, we’re fine, but holy shit was that distracting and disorienting and I still don’t really have the internet. Writing this via hotspot and in the student center as people clean carpets and repair windows around me! ANYWAY, I meant to send this like 3 weeks ago.

Before I begin - will you be at the American Political Science Association meeting in Seattle? If you want to meet me and other cool MHAWS Allstars, I will be at Linda’s Tavern (on the patio) on Thursday, Sept 30 from 4:30-6pm. You must be vaccinated. There will be MHAWS stickers - available ONLY at APSA.

So - here’s a ‘better late than never’ post on why it is really important to set goals, even (ESPECIALLY) in the context of chaos.

Maybe just THINKING about setting goals is an impossible task right now with teaching, family, COVID, hurricanes, climate change, racism, sexism, etc etc. That’s cool. Set this aside. Go do you. Come back when you can handle it.

(are they gone?)

For the rest of us:

Let’s set some fucking goals and get some shit done, my bebes!

  1. Why do we need to set big goals?

I’m going to be honest: I did not set goals for the 2020-2021 academic year. It was just too hard to think about where I wanted to go in the middle of chaos AND I was so so afraid of failing to meet them and then feeling even more like a failure. This was a mistake.

Why, Mirya? After all, I had a great year of publishing! What the fuck are goals worth if not to just help us get shit done? Yes, goals help us to gsd, but also:

  • Goals stop us from engaging in self-sabotage. For me, my primary form of self-sabotage is to say yes too much and overcommit and hate myself and others because of it

  • Goals encourage us to think long-term about our pipeline, not just the immediate future. My current long-term pipeline is fucking sad, y’all. I’m in violation of the Munger rule (3 things under review at all times). I don’t know when I’ll get back there. This is because I wasn’t clear on my goals as I went through the last year and didn’t appropriately prioritize projects.

  • Goals help us say no to other people, even cool people. As my shero Christina Wolbretch says: every yes is a no to something else. Welllll goals help us think about how we can say yes to ourselves and so we have to say no to other people. Even cool people. Even cool things that aren’t the cool things that further our dreams.

  • Goals help us dream big. The sexist racist nature of academia encourages us to think small, to hide ourselves, to tuck our elbows in and our head down, and only imagine the barest of existence for ourselves. Goals can be a counterweight to this - helping us stand tall, reach high, push harder. Being ambitious is an act of defiance in a system that demands weakness from us.

  1. Not everyone’s goals should look the same!

Some of us (hi!) do really well setting ambitious goals, trying to reach them, and failing. Others do better if we set more achievable goals. Some of us just think goals are fun suggestions! Others take them seriously. How do you know what kind of goal setter you should be?

Well, obviously I made a gd BuzzFeed quiz that features real-life dogs!

Go here to take it! What kind of goal setter are you? Are you a Lambeaux, a Nola, a Willie, or a Herbie? (Shout out to Heather, Jeff, Kristina, and Chris for letting me feature their dogs!)

  1. Now let’s set some goals!!

I’m a Lambeaux (but sometimes a Nola). (those are my actual dogs for those not in the know). I am setting some BIG FUCKING GOALS for the 2021-2022 year - I’m going to finish writing two books. That’s it. No biggie. Don’t worry, I will probably fail in a spectacular fashion and all the haters can laugh at me. But that’s what works for me!

What works for you? How can you set goals that will both keep you on track and won’t be terrible for you?

Remember: Living without dreaming is just breathing and sleeping until you die - William Prince. Let’s dream big, my darlings. Go get shit done.



Want to buy some treats for my silly dogs? You can here.

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