I don’t have any 2018 goals to be honest. I just wanted to set that out straight away so you’re not disappointed. I’m one of those terrible people who never set New Year’s resolutions.
I don’t have any particular problem with them. I just think that if you want to make some change, you don’t need to wait for a particular point in time to start. And if it’s a big change, it’s probably better to ease into it, rather than making a sudden change. The word goal though, is somewhat interesting to me.
For a large portion of the earlier part of my life, goals were entirely restricted to the realm of football. It was probably at some point in my late childhood that I became aware that the word goal could be used to mean objective or target. And though now I’m perfectly used to this use of the word, I don’t think I’ve ever truly reconciled both meanings, and in my heart goals will always belong to football first.
I think that’s because in football, a goal is very much a concrete achievement: it’s something you succeed in scoring, a very clear, solid thing. In life in general though, a goal is something you wish to achieve, but is always in the future and never concrete (until you achieve it, and then it’s not a goal anymore).
Thinking about this a little though, I realised that goal in football terms originally referred to the physical goal, the actual place with the posts, crossbar, and net, where you score. Your aim is to get the ball there, and in that sense, it makes sense to call it a goal, as it’s where you quite literally aim the ball, just as you more metaphorically aim to achieve your life goals.
Goal is derived from the Old English gãl, which, funnily enough, originally meant obstacle or barrier. As is often the case, the meaning of the word shifted through association until it referred to the thing beyond the obstacle that you wanted to achieve. Which seems appropriate enough, given how, when we set goals to begin at the start of the year, when we’re still softened from our Christmas indulgence, they can seem more like obstacles than targets.
Ah, but I don’t mean to appear so cynical about such goals. I suppose I do have my own too: they’re just not specifically New Year’s goals. I’ve been exercising fairly regularly for about a year, and I plan to keep that going. And I plan to keep writing interesting things here (by interesting I mean things that I find interesting, and hope you sometimes share my interest). I’ll be back to working full time from next Monday, so I probably won’t keep up the same posting rate, but I think that’ll help me to keep my quality as high as possible. Plus, on days I don’t post, it’ll be a good chance to catch up with some of my older posts. God knows I often forget a lot of the details of some of them, so it might be worthwhile refreshing your memory.
And last of all, good luck with your goals, whether they be of the 2018, life overall, or even football variety.