Unnecessary Parameters: When Good Enough is Actually Great!

Do you have goals you want to accomplish?

Do you get excited about getting something done, or reaching a milestone?

I do. I also do something else, and I’m curious if anyone else does this, too.

You’ll set a goal. Maybe you’ve joined some kind of challenge – to pick something completely at random, maybe your gym had a challenge for you to swim 50 miles by the last day of September. (Completely random, I swear). Say the challenge starts May 1.

Okay, you have five months to complete your goal. You need to swim roughly 10 miles a month, or two and a half miles a week.

Are you the type of person who would then decide, “Oh, no! That’s too easy. I’ll swim four miles a week and get done at least six weeks early!”

If you are this type of person, I have another question:

Have you ever made it too hard on yourself and quit on something because of this foolishness?

I caught myself doing it twice today. I’m in the middle of a really busy time. My client has a go-live and a lot more training to be done than usual (meaning there’s a major, major software change that I’m on the floor helping people use), I’m doing that Completely Random 50 mile swim challenge, and I’m taking a programming class.

I caught myself doing a couple of things and realizing how I was actually making a few things that are genuine challenges far more difficult obstacles than they needed to be.

I was saying I was going to swim four miles a week. Sure, I can… Some weeks, I probably will. The reality? If I get in my ten miles a month now through September, I’ll hit my goal. No biggie. I don’t need to push to do that Every. Single. Week. I will reach my goal without driving myself crazy. So, why drive myself crazy? I’ve done that before and quit.

I was also doing some extra credit work on a project for my class.

Am I done with the required work on the class?

I am not.

Do I have plenty of time to complete the required work?

Well, yeah, I do. But if I get tied up in the extra, I’m not going to finish the required stuff properly.

While excelling is important, something I’m slowly learning as I am getting older is the value of calmly plodding along. The body of work you leave behind and what you accomplish when you don’t add unnecessary parameters to what you want to get done is more impressive than the frantic nonsense you can push yourself to do.

So, are you adding unnecessary parameters to goals and making it so difficult you quit? I’m curious to see what people are encountering.


One Reply to “Unnecessary Parameters: When Good Enough is Actually Great!”

  1. I started goal setting last year – I set myself four little challenges that would take me out of my comfort zone and make me do things. I also discovered that sometimes setting little challenges can lead to unintended consequences! For example, I wanted to do something just for me, so I joined the Country Women’s Association. I accidentally found myself becoming the Secretary with all that involves. It’s only an additional commitment of 2-3 hours a month, but yeah. As someone who is very time poor, possibly should have thought that through a little better! I can’t quit because I’ve committed to it, and it really is only a couple of hours a month. I keep telling myself someone else will pop their hand up in November, but I’m probably dreaming.

    Another thing I decided to do was train for a 40km walk. And train I did. I walked 8km a day in the lead up,but I never had time to do a longer walk (10-20km). Once I decided I wasn’t going to do the actual walk, I felt the biggest relief *and* a month later, still walking 60-80km a week because it’s fun and not because of some goal I set myself. And, to be honest, I don’t think I failed. Will I sign up for it next year? Not a hope in hell!

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