It is Time to Set *Real* Goals Again

Recently, I was quoted in an article on entitled, 10 Habits of Highly Productive People – and How to Build Them into Your Routine. Quite the keyword-rich title, huh?


I have been interviewed by journalist Nashia Baker in prior years, and I remember her contacting me for a couple of quotes for this article. I replied to her email with some pithy statements that I, honestly, didn’t spend too much time pontificating over.


So, when I read the final post, I was kind of impressed with myself. Well, that, or Nashia just made me sound really smart. Potayto, potahto.


Habit #7 on the list was one of these surprisingly smart statements:


Since the pandemic began, goal setting has been especially difficult for me. The goals I set in 2020 went to heck in a handbasket, and I am still getting over the fatigue and trauma of the past few years.


I distrust…time. I am giving the Universe the side eye. I flare my nostrils, clench my jaw, and wonder what will be thrown at our species this year.


And this distrust has turned my love affair with setting goals into a bitter memory of an abusive relationship.


I am afraid. I am afraid of another metaphorical smack down. I am afraid to make big plans or dream big dreams.


So, I am focused on the ground in front of me. I am watching my feet take baby steps forward. I nervously scout the earth for sinkholes and have no desire to gaze at any mountaintops in the distance.


I don’t blame myself for my apprehension. I have good reason to be concerned. However, to be authentically me, I need to recommit to the goal setting process I value and credit with my success. I need to show courage.


This beautiful photo is courtesy of Simon Berger and Pexels

Courage is elevating my gaze toward the horizon.


Courage is trusting that I am strong enough to recover from a stumble.


Courage is a steady jog toward that mountaintop in the distance.


My goals recently have been vague and unchallenging. This is the opposite of everything I know about goal setting theory and practice.


<<Deep breath>>


It is time.


It is time to swipe right on goal setting.


Setting specific, challenging goals is hard. Committing to and tracking progress toward those goals is hard. Sharing my goals with an accountability partner is hard.


It is time to do it anyway.


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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


  1. Tammy Stokes

    Thank you, Melissa. I needed to see this!

    • Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.

      You are most welcome, Judge Stokes. You are an inspiration to me and many others.

  2. Julie Bestry

    You are potahto-ing your brilliance throughout the universe. Everyone’s 2020 exploded, but some people (you, my fabulous friend) managed to ride the wave of shrapnel with grace and resilience.

    Your courage gives us courage. Thank you.

  3. Connie Gratias

    You HAVE weathered the storm of 2020 and ARE setting mountain top goals…keyword “Flagler”. So proud of you!!


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