Goalposts that move are a pain. They feel unfair, like you’ve been duped into working toward one thing, when you should have been working toward something else entirely.
Or worse… that the progress you made wasn’t really progress at all. It was some larger step that you didn’t realize you signed up for.
Here’s the dirty secret though: Moving your goalposts is precisely what you have to do to keep growing.
As you improve, the goals you set will not really be challenging enough for you to keep.
As you learn, you realize the goal you set isn’t really what you actually want.
As you try new things, you realize and say “this isn’t as important to me right now.”
Weight Loss – My ‘I Improved’ Story.
I mentioned having a goal around fitness in a couple prior posts. Check ’em out: Post #1 and Post #2
Specifically, I wanted to lose a fair amount of weight at the end of year 1, with a slowly downward push in 10 years. My goal was to get to 230-235 by the end of the year.
After the annual ‘Fitness Challenge’ contest weigh-in from my CrossFit gym we do every January-March, I weighed in at a whopping 257.7lbs! The next day, I joined Noom.
As of March 6th, I was down to 234lbs!!!
Here’s my Noom referral link, if you wanna try it. I’m really happy with it.
I have already met my ‘annual goal’. Since it was only early March the goalposts had to move.
New goalpost: 220lbs, and once I get there, maintain it for 5-6 months while slowly adding more calories back into the mix.
Retirement Funding – My ‘I Learned’ Story
My retirement funding goals were mentioned same posts as my weight (from above). I was targeting a simple approach: fully fund my 401k and my IRA.
However, after watching a few lectures about retirement on my Great Courses Plus subscription, I learned there might be a better choice.
The speaker in those videos talked about 401k plans, and mentioned how some 401k plans also offer a ROTH option. I decided to check, and it turned out that yes, my 401K did allow for ROTH funds to be contributed, just as easily as I set the contribution for my regular 401K.
All I had to do was to put in a percentage and voila, the next pay cycle, I’ve got money going into the ROTH option.
So with the new learning, I decided move the goal posts. Instead of ‘fully fund both plans’, I moved to a new goal: Fully fund the 401K, with a mix of pre and post-tax dollars, then fund the regular investing goal, and finally do the IRA with leftovers at the end of the month.
Doing it this way, I mix up my taxable and non-taxable accounts, so that I have more tax options in retirement. Options are nearly always good, especially when it comes to sources of money in retirement.
Do I miss out on the tax write off on fully funding the IRA? Maybe a little, but assuming I don’t fall completely off the savings wagon, I should be good for at least a portion of that tax benefit.
Guitar Lessons – My ‘I Tried’ Story
This one hurts a bit. My uncle made these guitars, and they’re beautiful.
The thing is, the more I looked at it, me taking guitar lessons NOW or LATER doesn’t really have much of a difference in terms of my happiness.
I love my guitars. I play on them often.
I just don’t really care about taking lessons right now.
So, I’m moving the goalposts. For now, I’m calling ‘guitar lessons’ as a within 10 years goal, rather than a ‘do this in 2021’ goal. For now, self taught is good enough.
To recap, moving goalposts is a necessary part of goals. As you improve, learn and try, your goals must change with your new abilities and knowledge.
That’s just life. It moves from out from under you.
When it does, move your goalposts.