Six Failed Goals

My dedication to planners has always been weak. Each August, the excitement builds of buying the new planner, buying the new pens to write with in the new planner, a handful of elaborate to-do lists that I confidently vow to accomplish and finally, faded interest and complete neglect for organization.

I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator. I plan strategically and meticulously; it just sometimes takes a few internal pep talks to actually get around to executing the plan. I will plan my class schedule months before registration, but wait until it’s almost syllabus week to actually submit it online. I still write to-do lists during class, but never actually open my planner while doing homework to check the boxes off.

In April, I found a small, floral notebook from August 2014 with 6 goals for first semester sophomore year scribbled in purple pen. I read the list and immediately burst out laughing:

  1. Fitness
  2. Budgeting
  3. 3.8 GPA
  4. Save 1700 dollars
  5. Heal and run
  6. Write more letters

Six simple, achievable goals…and I had quite literally accomplished zero of them.

Freshman year Lily would have cried. She would have called her mom then sobbed over a “low” GPA and a few added pounds. Sophomore Lily, on the other hand, ran to tell her roommate and laugh at the list’s hilarious complete and total failure.

Goals are simply that: goals. They’re not set in stone, they’re something to work toward. Did I get a 3.8 GPA? No. Did I write more letters to my boyfriend? No. (Though I did break up with him!) Did I heal my ankle and run more? Absolutely not. First semester was, in reality, rough. But it led to the incredible second semester that I would gladly trade a few GPA points for.

I imagine myself last August jotting down a list to accomplish 6 things that actually did happen sophomore year:

  1. Become inseparable with girls you barely talked to freshman
  2. Attend a new church, student ministry and bible study 
  3. Change your major 3 times and find a mentor in the journalism school who sends you apps that make your face into emojis
  4. Meet a group of solid guys and spend every Thursday at a coffeeshop with them (even if one is there only through FaceTime from 8 time zones away)
  5. Bruise your face on a bed frame from laughing so hard at middle school Taylor Swift covers and listen to the story about your best friend throwing up in a Scooby Doo costume more times than you can count
  6. Ask a new friend to drive with you to the middle of nowhere 90 minutes away to pay a speeding ticket and surprise visit his grandma on the way home

None of these things could have ever been predicted–nor do they even slightly align with the goals I had set forth for the year–but yet all of these things are worth the original list’s weight in gold.

In true Lily Zacharias form, I wrote down my semester goals for this year throughout the first week of class. Gone are the dreams of rock hard abs and high GPAs; in their place are hopes of limiting social media and waking up earlier. In a few months, I may find this list and laugh once again at my failed pursuits. But just as it did in April, laughs will be had and life will go on.

One thing I’m lucky I have is the ability to not take life too seriously and to turn unfortunate and/or embarrassing situations into go-to funny stories that my friends have heard all too often. In the coming months, the only goal I can be confident in accomplishing is continuing to find myself in situations that will spawn my next batch of ridiculous storytelling material–and no amount of failed goals could ever outweigh that.