This is my 99th blog post (which doesn’t count the 20 items featured on my Writings page).
WordPress (the host of this blog) has this interesting little feature: every time I post, it tells me how close I am to my next goal. Apparently, every 5 posts is a new goal, and the site enjoys reminding me: “Only 2 more posts until you reach the goal!”
The site apparently takes great pains to remind me: “You’ve almost reached your goal!”
But wait a minute…it’s not my goal. I didn’t set out to publish 5 posts, much less multiples of 5 (10, 15, 20, 25…). This goal has nothing to do with me–I didn’t set it, and I don’t pay it any attention, other than that I have to intentionally click to close the announcement after every time I publish a new post.
Since the goal is not mine, it does nothing to motivate me. My next post will be my 100th–should I expect a huge fanfare? Will the site acknowledge my prolific prowess of production with a virtual pen? It may, or it may not–but who cares?
I have another goal in life, one that is also very measurable. I’m currently at 88%. I’m really hoping for 90% in the next day or two, and then to get to 100% not long after that (by the end of the month?).
In this case, I count every little bit of increase. I celebrate when I go from 81.1% to 81.5% (because then it rounds up to 82%!). I like to look back to see how progress has been made in reaching this goal. It motivates me. It moves me to think creatively and to take action: what else can I be doing to help move forward, to get closer to 90%?
In fact, lately I’m been reflecting on something: while 90% is a significant benchmark for me, why am I not keeping my eyes firmly on the real goal of 100%? It reminds me of a previous post I wrote on attaining goals. I learned before that in order to attain a certain level of achievement, I really need to set my sights–and energies–several steps beyond. But somehow, I’ve allowed myself to slacken, to fixate on 90% and merely hope for 100%.
But there is a world of difference between this goal and WordPress’ desire for me to make it to the next increment of five. My goal motivates. My goal inspires. My goal brings me to prayer and perseverance. The false, external goal brings me nothing but annoyance.
This is not to say that all external motivators are bad. Many good ideas and much impetus can initially come from external sources. But unless it is internalized, unless it is owned (I shall have more to say on that some day), the quality of interest, excitement, and motivation will never measure up.
On second thought, don’t bother. So, what? It’s 99 posts. The next one will be 100. After that will be 101. What have I achieved? A volume of words? If these words haven’t been significant individually, then having a lot of them is no more impressive.
I enjoy blogging, but not in order to make WordPress happy with my progress. On the other hand, I yearn to attain 90% of my personal goal, which WordPress has no idea about. I look forward to attaining that level (I mean, the 100% level!), to celebrating the journey and the accomplishment, to living in thanksgiving for God’s provision.
Now that sounds like a goal worth striving after.