When I started, I did it for accountability--if I'd published online that I was going to do something, I was more likely to hold myself to the goals I'd set.
But then I became more involved in social media. Some folks were fantastic, really supportive and encouraging. They'd say they believed in me, rah-rah, that sort of thing.
Some folks? They attack you for being transparent. Whether they call the posts bragging or if they flat out say you can't do it, they're there to encourage that little voice in the back of your mind which told you that you couldn't do The Thing.
I say The Thing because it doesn't matter what goal you've set, they're out there to either accidentally or purposefully undermine what you're doing. Are you all about losing some weight this year?
"God, don't tell me about your salad or the fact you've managed a mile in under ten minutes!"
Sure, you may have just accomplished something really, really major (perhaps you were addicted to soda or couldn't walk the block without wheezing a few months prior to posting your update), they are there to tell you to stuff it.
This goes with writing, too, although it has always been mind boggling to me when other writers attack their own kind with cannibalistic glee. We're all out there, sitting alone with blank screens and minds full of doubts, trying hard to do something we've dreamed of. Why, when you know how hard it is to juggle life and storytelling, would you tear anyone else down? Can that actually make anyone, whether you're the poster or the one reading it, feel better about themselves?
Even if they follow the statement with a jovial, "Oh, you know I'm only kidding!"
So, that said, I've been quieter about my personal goals. I've told some of them to my best friends. Some I've shared with my crit partners. But like a dragon guarding a treasure, I never gave anyone access to the whole dream. Almost like I thought if I only shared fragments with this person and other fragments with another...
No one could tell me I couldn't do it.
My point? Setting personal goals is important. Whether you share that goal with the world (joining something like NaNoWriMo where everyone can see that you're trying to write 50k in a month or joining a weight loss support group, for instance) or if you keep the nuggets spread out like me, the goal itself can drive you to more.
I told my kid the other day that he shouldn't worry what people think of him. Most people are far too concerned with the little voice in their own head--
The one saying, "Gah, I got coffee on my shirt. Now all anyone can see is the coffee stain...is there something in my teeth? God, I can't believe I just said that. I'm an idiot."
--to even bother worrying about all the things you're busy crucifying yourself for.
Because we all do that. We all fight the little voice in our heads. We wage a daily and constant war against the internal narrator, bury our insecurities with fake smiles, pretend we're okay when we're totally not...
I've said it before and I'll likely say it another thousand times--
If we spent our days working to bring up those around us, giving them hope, encouragement, and bringing light to the world in general, we probably still won't change the world. We likely won't even change our hometown.
But we can change the people around us, one smile at a time. If we make the people around us happier, we've changed OUR world, which is more than a lot of people ever manage.
Set goals. Nail them. Do a little butt wiggle and dance around your house with the joy of accomplishing The Thing, whatever your thing is.
Change your world instead of trying to change minds. You'll never change what the world thinks of you, but you can change how you look at it.
Sometimes all it takes to start is knowing one person believes in you.