When goals flounder - review your Central Purpose

This past week, I've been avoiding a thorough review of my goals as I had a sneaky suspicion that I had failed at a number of them. That seemed debilitating and counter-productive. But as I forced myself to start writing this post, I began to realize just how much I had accomplished and more importantly, I came to realize that most of the failed goals floundered because I had not stayed true to myself.  In the end, I had a major revelation.  By confronting my anxiety, I destroyed it.

Last January, I had 3 major goals that were in part contingent on a number of factors.  One of course was the pending job candidacy with ECU.  As to those three goals, all were accomplished.

After our move to North Carolina, I re-wrote my year end goals (why? I'm not quite sure.)  A number of those goals I did not accomplish.  It left me wondering why not.  Had I lost my mo-jo?  Were the goals unrealistic?  Was I not motivated to accomplish them?  The truth is mostly the latter in part because I have been misleading myself away from my central purpose in life (CPL). 

After numerous talks with some friends of mine, I have been re-conceptualizing the direction of my career to integrate my research, teaching, consulting, service, blog writing, and potential business ventures.  Until just about 30 minutes ago, I had been considering two different directions, each of which seemed plausible for establishing that integration.  I thought that by focusing on one of those two directions, I could stay true to my CPL.  I was wrong!  My original CPL already established the direction - to teach others how to make better decisions, specifically in designing, building, maintaining, and using information systems.  Today, I see no reason to pick one of the two different directions.  The goals I was failing were all connected with choosing between these two directions.  I need to web development knowledge in order to make better decisions.  I need philosophic knowledge in order to make better decision.  I need to understand how habits, information technologies, values, analysis and design techniques, epistemology, rationality, psychology, and productiveness can impact decision making.  In short, my CPL already integrates these two passions of mine.  Instead of picking one, I just need to remind myself of my ultimate passion - helping others to make better decisions.  The rest follows. 

So why did I fail at these goals?  They failed because they met a mental block.  Although crafted with my best intentions, I couldn't find the motivation to pursue them with the passion they deserved.  Something just didn't seem right, although I couldn't put my finger on exactly what.  The cognitive dissonance I experienced (and hence my failure to act on a number of projects/goals) stemmed from my mismatch between the reality of my CPL and the inappropriate goals I was setting.  Contradictions cannot exist.  My subconscious identified the contradiction first.  It wasn't until today that my consciousness caught up.

So how to move forward?  Rather than being frustrated with myself for not accomplishing my goals or falling behind in projects, I need to review all my projects and decide which ones will help me accomplish my CPL best and cut the rest.  And that is my very next project!

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