Before I even get into what I want to talk about today, I just want to mention, that this is not something I am really comfortable sharing/writing about, or even acknowledging to myself, to be honest. But I am doing this anyway, because I feel like there might be others struggling through something similar, and me speaking up might help them work through it.
Because that’s basically what helped me. I was in denial when I came across a YouTube video where the girl was speaking about how she dealt with a particular situation, which was all too familiar to me (on a much smaller level though). And even though I wasn’t familiar with that Youtuber at all (before I watched this video), her expressing her thoughts and concerns so plainly, struck a chord with me, urged me to confront the reality of my situation, and eventually helped me break out of this funk I had gotten into.
So that’s one of the main reasons why I want to write about this, and share it, in hopes that it might help someone else. However, before that, consider this fair warning – this post might get a little ramble-y at times, as I am going to treat this as a free-write exercise (something I NEVER do). Because here is the thing, I know that if I stop to review or edit this post, I will most likely lose my nerve and talk myself into trashing it altogether.
Okay, so now that all that’s out of the way, let me get into what actually happened.
So if you have been following my blog for a while now, you know that sometime last year I started posting my Quarterly Goals on my blog on a regular basis. For the uninitiated, here is what it essentially entailed – at the beginning of every quarter, I used to list down my goals for the upcoming quarter (publicly, on the blog), across several areas of my life – work goals/home projects/blogging milestones/fitness plans/reading goals – basically anything and everything that I wanted to focus on and work towards in that quarter.
At the end of the quarter, I used to review those goals (again, publicly), rate my performance, make course corrections, and then set fresh goals for the new quarter. Of-course some of the goals that couldn’t get accomplished in the previous quarter got carried over too, especially if they were important.
Quarterly Goals: The Origin Story
In-fact some goals got carried over from quarter to quarter so religiously that they could claim permanent residency there. *cough* digital photo/video organization *cough* But I digress.
A detailed explanation/summary of the Quarterly Goals series is not the point of this post (but I hope it will give you some context). I am actually writing this post to explain why I suddenly stopped posting the goals and the updates on my blog.
However, for that let’s back up a bit, to the last quarterly goals post I shared – my goals for the second quarter of the year. To be honest, that one was a pretty typical quarterly goals post, with the exception of the fact that it was a little late, and so I was working with a limited time-frame. But outside of that, there was nothing in there to attract any undue attention (or so I thought).
But as soon as I shared that post, I got some unexpected feedback from a few people (3 specifically) whom I never even thought read my blog posts. Because these were people I knew in my real life (as in, they weren’t virtual friends or fellow bloggers) who never commented or even indicated in any way that they knew about the existence of my blog (even though I share my blog posts on all my social media profiles pretty regularly), much less read it. But clearly they did, and apparently from a long time (considering their opinionated insights).
So anyway, they said a lot of things, all in the guise of good free advice, that they felt will help me, and specifically addressed the Quarterly Goals posts I wrote (not any one in particular, but the series in general). But here is basically what it boiled down to – they were analyzing my life, and giving me free advice on how to manage it better.
Speaking more specifically about this supposedly well intentioned advice – they felt some of my goals were too ambitious, and I was intentionally setting myself up for failure, and also that I was pointlessly carrying forward some goals that they just knew (?!) I will never get to.
And then they also had an opinion about how I was prioritizing these goals, which clearly wasn’t good enough for them. Yes you read that right. My personal goals weren’t good enough for them.
But here is the real kicker (and their biggest grouse) – they felt my Quarterly Goals were too selfish. Too centered around me, and not nearly enough around my family, and especially my child, who (according to them) should have featured more in these goals.
Honestly, when I first heard them, I did not know where to even start responding to them. I mean, yes my quarterly goals might be too ambitious at times (and not prioritized perfectly, whatever that looks like), but that’s just me and how I operate. I set stretch goals all the time, because I am an eternal optimist, and I also work better under pressure.
Does that mean I will fail at some of them? Of-course I will. I mean this is real life. I am not listing down some perfectly curated, completely balanced, perfectly prioritized goals that will look good to others, or for that matter things that are super easily achievable, only to get the satisfaction of checking off all those goal boxes, and neatly tying the ribbon on the quarter once it ends.
I don’t even know why anyone at all would ever do that, because it would be such a pointless exercise. I personally cannot ever imagine setting goals for pleasing others and looking good (to them).
No. I am here sharing my real goals, which inevitably means, I will be slacking in some areas, sometimes constantly, overachieving in others, and failing some miserably at times too.
Oh and I don’t even know where to begin with the comment that my goals are selfish. Hello, they are my goals, so of-course they are centered around me and my life. Moreover, these quarterly goals of mine are simply some select focus areas for personal development, NOT my entire life’s agenda. So of-course not every single component of my life will be on there. And that’s totally intentional. I choose to keep some things private. Is that a crime?
Honestly, people can be so ridiculous at times!
And here is the thing, while admittedly I am not amazing at it, I can handle criticism. In-fact so long as it is constructive, and comes from a good place, I welcome feedback. There have been many times I have actively sought it, in several areas – like blog design, images, even book reviews.
But critiquing someone’s life choices is different, no? And I am aware of the argument that if you put anything on the internet, this is to be expected. But I would like to disagree. Yes, I chose to share one part of my life, in hopes that it will help keep me accountable, while hopefully benefiting someone else as well. But it was never meant as a free-for-all to come and critique my life.
Honestly some people need a crash course (or actually a more detailed, thorough one) in Boundaries & Respect 101!
Anyway, having said all that – even though I felt righteously annoyed by these people, and raged and ranted about them, mostly in my own head – I did not really mention anything about this to anyone, and instead chose to completely ignore the whole episode. Or that’s what I intended to do at any rate.
But ironically, come end of the quarter, when it was time to write the Quarterly Goals update post, I found reasons to procrastinate. Of-course at the time, I did not think of it this way. But looking back that is exactly what I was doing – not confronting the fact that I was somehow not able to write this particular post.
And it wasn’t just that one post that I wasn’t able to write. I found reasons to procrastinate some of the other posts I wrote on a regular basis, like my post for my monthly link up – Chatty Blogs, and even the monthly round up/gratitude posts.
And all of these posts had one thing in common – they were all more chatty, more personal posts, where I shared more of my life beyond books.
Of-course none of it was intentional. I did not plan to phase out the personal posts. I was still in denial about the criticism even affecting me, remember?
Moreover, this was also the time I was getting my food blog (The Love of Spice) off the ground, so I had a strong excuse to not be present as much on Shanaya Tales.
But did I stop posting here? No. I found the time to keep the blog active, albeit at a more laid-back pace, but all the posts I wrote here revolved around the books I read (sharing book reviews or curated book recommendations) and nothing beyond them.
A whole quarter passed in this manner, me finding reasons to procrastinate the personal posts, due to “lack of time”. And then I saw that video, which forced me to confront and accept the reality of my situation, even though I did not like it one bit.
Because here is the thing, it’s not easy for me to admit this (to myself or all of you). That I let some random people, who clearly did not know what they were even talking about, affect me so much. Even though I knew better. I knew their opinions were beyond ridiculous and clearly out of line. And yet.
I think sometimes things affect us far more than what we are willing to admit even to ourselves. But I know that even though we might stumble on these roadblocks, we can’t let them stop our progress. We simply have to find a way to move on, and the first step in that journey is to NOT live in denial, and acknowledge/address the problem.
I think that’s the most difficult, yet crucial step, because once I did that, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. No, nothing changed just by me acknowledging the problem, but it made me feel more in control of the situation, and dramatically improved my attitude towards it.
I also knew that it was time to act, and act fast, before I started second guessing the whole thing, and so I decided to bring back the series from the dead (or rather, the disappeared) by writing an update post after ages (not published yet, will go up next). But first I thought I owed you guys an explanation, so this post is basically that explanation.
I don’t know if you even needed one, or if this ramble-y rant made any sense to you, but just writing this all out, has been a cathartic experience for me, and for that alone, I don’t regret writing/sharing this.
That’s all from my end folks. If you have reached this point, after reading the entire ramble/rant, I just want to say, thank you! Thank you for reading, and hearing me out.