Penguin March Goals

I’m thinking about goals a lot right now. I have goals coming out my ears with this Fitbit tracker, and some of them are goals I didn’t even know I had. (Yup. I just won my Penguin March badge–no, not kidding–for matching the distance of the great penguin migration.) And in writing related news, I’m trying a goals-oriented thing where you write down three goals the night before, and that’s your activity for the day, and gold star for anything above and beyond that.

The problem I’m having is knowing what a reasonable goal actually is.

If Fitbit informs me that 17,000 steps is about average (without trying) for a day when I’m working, and I’m lucky to get 8,000 without trying on my days off… where do I set the goal?

And where does writing fit into that swing? It’s a big jump between what I can theoretically get done in addition to work, and what I could get done when I’m mostly free.

I set three goals for yesterday. And as it turns out, I hit most of one of them. Whole lot of typing done. I still have to go through some notebooks and weed out the useless things, and type up the rest, but at least there was serious work on it.

I’m evenly divided between thinking this means I should set fewer goals, and thinking I should buckle down and focus. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Or maybe the right answer is a set number of weekly goals, instead.


  1. Reply

    I’m going to be a contrarian. Instead of setting a specific goal, look backwards, i.e., measure how far forward you’ve come, not how far from an arbitrary goal you are. I think of the stupid standardized testing that measures a kid’s abilities against a national norm, instead of against his own performance. Ask yourself if are you doing better this week/month/year, whatever, than you were the last one. In polite terms, ignore Fitbit’s demands.

    • Reply

      I think the goals–and the tracking–add up to consistent effort that I don’t naturally have. (particularly for something like exercise where it is soooo easy to crash in front of the computer instead.)
      It’s all fairly adjustable, so if I don’t like it, I can always change it.
      I don’t know if I mentioned it, but my personal tipping point for buying the thing was the idea that it might help me sleep better. I’ll tell you how that works, but I want to give it a fair, by the books, chance before I do.

  2. Delia


    I abandoned my Fitbit, because my Apple Watch tracks my steps, and I abandoned walking goals entirely, because some days I walk ridiculous amounts and others I don’t. I just glance at my watch every few days and go “Huh.” Instead, I try to get out of the house to walk every day. My goal (in my bullet journal) is “exercise.”
    Goals are good, but building good habits is better.

    • Reply

      I’m not that great with habits–forming them or breaking them. I either need a reminder, or it just has to be built into my day.

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