Pick a Goal, Any Goal

Welcome to our first virtual book club meeting! According to our weekly reading plan, this week, we discuss the first three chapters, Excuses 1-3, of Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. And I want to ask, do you consider yourself a goal-oriented woman?

A casual conversation with my sister, who is my stark opposite in pretty much every way imaginable, got me thinking extra hard about Excuse #2, also known as “I’m not a goal-oriented person.”

Which excuses hit home for you?

How do you come up with goals?

“I need a goal. What should my goal be?”

This was my sister’s way of shooting the breeze over lunch at Grandma’s, but I, an over-achieving perfectionist since I was, like, five, didn’t understand the question.

This bitch, I thought to myself. Here, take one of the thirty thousand pending goals I’ve been killing myself over for the past three decades! I just squinted my eyes and looked to the side as if I were working out a difficult math problem in my head.

She let out an exasperated sigh at my theatrics and elaborated: “I bought this new planner to help track my pregnancy and at the beginning of each month, there’s a spot to write your monthly goals. I don’t have any goals, but I don’t want to leave it blank; it looks ugly. So, think of a goal for me.”

What would Rachel say?

And I can’t help but suspect that Rachel Hollis would be disappointed in the response I gave my sister, so maybe y’all can weigh in on this imaginary debate I’m playing out in my head.

I said to her, “You can’t just set a random goal for the sake of having a goal. That’s a surefire way to not achieve it. A goal should be specific and have meaning and be something you’re committed to achieving, or else who even cares if you reach it or not? I don’t think you should waste your time or effort on an arbitrary goal and then risk beating yourself up about not reaching it at the end of the month. You don’t need that energy in your life.”

“I’m not trying to change my life. I just meant ‘Learn French’ or something, geez.”

“Well, do you want to learn French?”

I don’t fucking know!”

“Then don’t waste your time pretending you do just for the sake of having a goal!” I promise I hadn’t meant for this to turn into a TED talk. “Look, if you don’t have a goal, then maybe that means—God forbid—you’re happy with your life and are enjoying just living in the moment.”

She seemed to like that idea, and Grandma had since returned to the table with a giant platter of rice anyway, and neither of us knew how to say “goal” in Armenian, so we dropped the conversation entirely.

Did I let my sister off the hook too easily?

Now that I’ve started Girl, Stop Apologizing, though, I wonder if I let my sister off the hook too easily. Rachel says, “If you find yourself going through life without anything to work toward or aim for, it’s no wonder that you feel like your life is living you instead of the other way around.” Is that how my sister felt?

In fact, Rachel insists pretty bluntly that “you’ve got to have a goal. It can be a personal goal you set for yourself to get in shape or save money or own a home or build a business or save your marriage. It can be anything at all. Just know that you’re supposed to have one…” (Italics added by me to emphasize Rachel’s not unrefreshing bossiness in this matter.)

So, who’s right? Ms. Rachel “Pick a goal, any goal” Hollis? Or me, who thinks that goals are only worthwhile if they carry real meaning and impact for you?

Or, is the larger point here that “I don’t have a goal” syndrome is a symptom of complacency or, worse, fear that is plaguing so many wonderful, brilliant women that are just too lost or scared or insecure to be the dream version of themselves and start living their best lives!?

Is there such a thing as a genuinely non-goal-oriented woman?

Are you guilty of Excuse #2?

Maybe Excuse #2 and hesitation to identify as a goal-oriented woman are more common than I thought. What’s your experience with the three excuses we’ve read about so far? And what are your first impressions of the book and Rachel Hollis in general? I want to hear everything!


And, a surprise bonus!

In the introduction to Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis says she almost named the book Sorry, Not Sorry after the Demi Lovato song that’s a dance party staple for her and her staff.

I mean, she had me at dance party. So what did I do? I created the Best Life Book Club #BadAssBabes playlist on Spotify to share with all of you! May it serve as the soundtrack to your daily unapologetic ass-kicking as you become a more goal-oriented and generally bad-ass woman. And if there’s a song you think I should add to the playlist, list that in the comments below too!

20 Comments
  • Tiffany Gaudet
    Posted at 10:41h, 12 January Reply

    Honestly, just in the introduction alone I was like “Totally!” “Yes, Absolutely!” “Hell- to-the-Yeah!!!” & “Preach It Sis!!!”
    As for the excuse that hit home most for me was Excuse 3: I Don’t Have The Time! 👌🏼
    I started time blocking myself & also with my children! If you make a plan, have a schedule, you WILL make the time! Time passes so quickly with three children and a husband that works away at any point and time.
    I simply have started to make myself a priority too, make my happiness (mentally & physically) a goal for 2020!!

  • Annie A.
    Posted at 11:08h, 12 January Reply

    Tiffany, same! I swear up and down that “There’s never enough timeeeee” for anything, but when I look at my planner and check the day’s schedule, I can plainly see that that’s false. I also tell myself that I need buffer time between activities because I hate rushing from one thing to the next, and now I’m wondering if that’s kind of sort of just another flavor of Excuse #3…

    While stillness and rest are important, I think the truth is simply that if something is a priority, we’ll make time for it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Amanda Confiant
    Posted at 11:10h, 12 January Reply

    Right into the introduction: what if: I loved where she talks about people being too afraid to give themselves a chance. How a Dream always starts with the question, ‘what if’. I grew up with a narcissistic mother who never believed in me, and always wanted to be greater than me. Dimming my own light, which lead to a lot of self doubt and self esteem issues. I became accustomed to the idea that I just wasn’t enough, not smart enough, not brave enough, not fabulous enough. She often told me I wasn’t good in school, I found it hard, she would tell people this at parties in front of me. (Now I question did I, or did she make me believe I was)?

    Excuse 2: I’m not a goal orientated person:
    I always had reasons after my ‘what ifs’ throughout my life, that dimmed my light and perseverance from even trying. I had dreams of opening shops, running businesses, selling things I’ve created.

    When I did try I only did a little, then gave up quick for fear of failure (because I told myself that I just found it hard, it’s who I was. I wasn’t smart enough to do this, and I’d look like a fool and be a real failure like my mom always made me believe I was). Truth is, in reading this, I see more and more that if I never try I will never know. If I never choose to listen to those false negative words in my head, and don’t jump in.. failure or not I’ll never grow and I’ll certainly never amount to who I truly can be and am if I don’t try.

    • Annie A.
      Posted at 12:53h, 12 January Reply

      Amanda, I so deeply understand when you say, “When I did try I only did a little.” I’ve half-assed blogs, jobs, auditions, etc. because I figured if I didn’t “full-ass” it (Is that a word? You know what I mean! :)) then the failure would sting less. That might be true but there may have been so much possibility and potential I left on the table that way! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  • Catie Long
    Posted at 11:31h, 12 January Reply

    First I’d like to say that I am glad there were some swear words used in this post because sometimes I need to let one (or several) slip out to get a point across, sooooo goal setting IS so so so damn important!

    I do see myself as a goal oriented woman and always have been. I have had a somewhat similar upraising as Rachel Hollis with a harsh dad, the desire to be the best at everything/perform high, and to also get out of my childhood house to start my life and do better. Without goals, where would I be? I don’t want to know.

    I am happy to say that I have achieved all of the things that my teenage heart was after over the years, but by age 30, I had basically plateaued and got caught up in living in monotony thinking I didn’t have much to work towards anymore. Then I got seriously sick resulting in a seven month long ordeal and in that time, I became very scared and very depressed, but also had the socks knocked off of me when I picked up Girl Wash Your Face and then Girl Stop Apologizing (I’ve read each three times in the last year; they have seriously changed my life) and it lit a fire under my ass. Turns out I did have more to accomplish even if that means at this point in my life calling my goals mainly the little things like drinking enough water daily, eating enough fruits and veggies, and getting so many workouts in a week.

    I feel like sometimes we get to points where we don’t know what to reach for in a goal, and in those cases just understanding that goals are good and are needed can help us step in the right direction. In my case, my illness shook me to the core and opened my eyes to all these things I either had been in denial about improving or hadn’t thought was important at the time. I was able to pick apart my life and be honest about what was now important that I wanted to work on.

    I agree with you in feeling that goals should be tailored to you but I also think if someone is having a hard time identifying a goal, borrowing someone else’s is ok too. This does not mean that if you see your neighbor becoming a rocket scientist that you should become one too when you barely passed all of your science classes in high school and have no interest at all in aerospace design. What I mean is that we could all probably drink more water and eat better. We could all probably work harder at our fitness. We could all probably read more books and speak kinder words to our spouses and children. We could all budget our money better and take more time for self care.

    Finding the time is my battle too. And to be honest, I have the time. I can make the time. It’s finding my motivation in the time I have left after work and adulting tasks each day to put effort into what I’ve set as personal goals. I am working on that. I found a notepad at Walmart that breaks down the day and I fill some out the night before and then as I go the day of to help remind myself frequently what I want to accomplish. Find some sort of tracking device to help you (an app on your phone; I like Google Keep, a notebook, a habit tracker printed from Pinterest, etc.) to remind you of what you set out to do in the first place.

    Thank you for the playlist. I also like the song, “Girl,” by Maren Morris. It isn’t as upbeat as, “Roar,” by Katy Perry, but I listened to it a lot when I was sick. It’s a song about how you get tired of your own crap, how you don’t have to let comparison be the death of your joy, and that you can rise up by acknowledging that everything will be ok.

    Thank you for this book club. This is another tool to help me in my personal growth journey and in building community with other women striving to be a better version of themselves. I was so excited to stumble across this on Instagram and I’m sure it’s an inspiration to others too. 🖤

    • Annie A.
      Posted at 12:58h, 12 January Reply

      Catie, I’m so happy you’re here and not turned off by my swearing!

      I literally laughed out loud at “This does not mean that if you see your neighbor becoming a rocket scientist that you should become one too when you barely passed all of your science classes… What I mean is that we could all probably drink more water…” Borrowing goals from other people if they resonate with you is such a great suggestion for people who are having trouble identifying one of their own right now. Thank you!

  • Rose Powell
    Posted at 11:46h, 12 January Reply

    Fearless by Jasmine Murray is definitely a great add on for the playlist! Thank you for sharing!

  • Rose Powell
    Posted at 12:08h, 12 January Reply

    Can I start off by saying “I’ve never been a reader”, “I’ve never found books that kept my interest long enough to get to full completion”, “I struggle with comprehension”, these are all excuses I’ve come accustomed to limiting my time spent on “idle things“ such as reading. When I was younger I was treated harshly, bullied and abused in many ways to say the least, someone very close to me wished I would drop dead and another told me I’d never amount to much. You don’t realize how much of the lies of the enemy can keep you immobilized. I’d say my greatest excuse of the 3 would be I don’t have the time. I’m currently a stay at home parent of an infant and a school age daughter, and between being at my infant’s beckon call and my household tasks and prepping and cooking meals, I barely have enough time to take a shower. Lies! I put myself on a social media fast on purpose because I spent So much time being present, sharing and mindlessly scrolling only to feel defeated, empty, alone, and begging to be seen. I have goals but don’t allow myself the time and dedication and belief in my abilities to bring them to fruition. Who am I after all?! No one. I’ve been bogged down by the lies in my head that this book had me in tears by page 4 of the intro. So much life, truth, vulnerability, and reality. I’m done! We are our own limitation, stop listening to the her in your head and listen to the her in your heart and spirit, it is more than okay to embrace the woman You were created to be on purpose for a purpose, for such a time as this, push through those limits and embrace the sky!

    • Annie A.
      Posted at 13:03h, 12 January Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience and your inspiring words, Rose! Jasmine Murray has been added to our playlist. 🙂

  • malia kau
    Posted at 13:22h, 12 January Reply

    I am responsible for overbooking myself! I do this all the time and it needs to stop!

  • Adrine A
    Posted at 18:37h, 12 January Reply

    While I’ve always been goal oriented, the “I have no time” excuse has definitely gotten in the way of those goals over the years. My goal for 2020 is to make more time for the things that matter because as a working mom of 2, I feel like life is just passing me by sometimes. I need to make time for my own mental, spiritual, and physical health, as well as more alone time for my husband and I. Cheers to all of us trying to live our best lives and fighting on. ❤️

    • Annie A.
      Posted at 19:18h, 12 January Reply

      Yay, cheers to us!!

      I feel like Excuse #3 is so tricky when it comes to working moms because if anybody actually doesn’t have time, it’s working moms! Did you see Malia’s comment about overbooking ourselves? Maybe the secret is to say no to things (invites, requests, etc.) that we tell ourselves we “can’t” say no to…

      I’m excited to read this book with you, Adrine!

      • Adrine A
        Posted at 11:25h, 13 January Reply

        I did see Malia’s comment and I am saying no to more and more things these days but you know how the Armenian family obligations go lol. But it definitely helps to know that it’s ok to just say no sometimes 😊

  • Barbara Cramer
    Posted at 21:08h, 12 January Reply

    As a lifelong procrastinator, i finally opened up my book at 4:30 this afternoon. I haven’t stopped reading, except for an hour to read bedtime stories to my granddaughter.
    The, “I’m not a goal oriented person,” excuse has been my downfall. It’s not really my truth, but has been my excuse.
    I’ve secretly had many goals that I’ve let fall away because I’ve been too afraid, mostly of looking like a fool.
    I’ve “tried on” many different careers and disappeared when I felt incompetent.
    I’m much older than all who have commented, but the feelings are the same.
    There’s a quiet roar inside of me that is nearing her limit of playing quiet and small. I am asking myself if this is enough? Am I satisfied watching life happen instead of truly participating? I’ve been hiding in the background most of my life.
    My goal (and this just came to me) is to overcome my insecurities and lack of confidence, and start DOING. It’s a big nut to crack, but until I break through, things will stay the same. I can’t wait to read more!

    • Annie A.
      Posted at 09:42h, 14 January Reply

      Barbara, I resonated so much with your feelings! Isn’t it weird though that we know people in our family or friend circles who have tried and failed, and we don’t judge them or stop wanting them in our lives, yet somehow we still think our own missteps or failures will be so much more disastrous!? I also love what you said about stories versus truths, like, for instance, your statement that you are “much older” than others who have commented. How do you know how old everybody is? Hmmm? 😉 Love you and are so glad you’re here!

  • Marianne
    Posted at 06:25h, 20 January Reply

    The excuses that resonate with me the most are “I’m not a goal-oriented person,” & “I don’t have the time.” I’ve never had the determination & focus to stick to a goal I’ve set for myself in the gran scheme of things. Sure I have accomplished goals (graduating college, finding a job, etc.), but when it comes to the goals that make me feel like I’m living my best life, something gets in the way; that fear of failure or the pressure I put on myself gets to be too much.

    Taking the time for myself lately is tricky. I have a long commute to/from work that takes up 3 hours of my day & by the time I get home in the evenings, I just want to lay in bed & rest up for tomorrow. Right now, I’m fortunate that I don’t have to worry about children so this should be the time that I can focus on goals so that when I do have children, my goal can be to spend time with them! I just hope I can commit to working on whatever goal I set for myself.

    • Annie A.
      Posted at 15:06h, 23 January Reply

      I was talking to a friend recently about this. Like, we can’t honestly say we’re not goal-oriented or we’re lazy if we’ve graduated high school and college and we’re steadily employed, etc. Because that is some rock star shit right there! But I feel the same way as you when it comes to “other” goals. Suddenly I’m not determined or focused enough or something? It doesn’t make sense.

      My friend said it’s because college and finding employment are so societally accepted that we get SO much support for those goals, but all the “other” goals, the best life goals, are somehow not as important or acceptable or something…. Too nonconformist of us to dare to be creative or happy or fulfilled I guess? I hate that!

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