Coffee Talk with Vanessa Michelle | Don't Over-Promise And Under-Deliver

by Vanessa Michelle

Settling into the new year is going to be quite an adjustment. One thing is certain, though: I’m making a goal not to make goals this year. Yep, thatʼs right, I said it: No goals in 2020! Iʼm not setting goals to do anything beyond what Iʼm already doing! And if you’re a ‘go-getta’ like me, I think you should do the same. 

We donʼt need any more goals. We need a break. Enjoy some cake or something. Right?

Ooooookay, let’s get practical. I’m getting ahead of myself, because it feels so good to release that personal pressure of “doing more” in 2020. In all seriousness, of course Iʼm going to have goals in 2020. But they’re the same goals that I have now. I’ll just build on them in 2020. 

I think, too often, I see friends, family, and even myself making new goals for the new year. Why do this when we already have so much that we’re working toward? Let’s just build on the goals we have now — in ways that are realistic, achievable and honest. 

My goal for 2020 is to not over-promise myself on a damn thing. Instead, I want to continue building on the goals I started in 2019. 

For example, every year I make an ambiguous goal to lose weight. My body hasn’t changed since I set this goal in 2017. Iʼm not going to promise myself that Iʼll lose 40 pounds by May 2020. As great as that sounds, I know I donʼt care enough to accomplish that goal, because I haven’t taken very many steps in that direction. 

However, I do want to work on my physical health in general. So in 2020, Iʼve set a goal to continue having some form of exercise in my daily schedule. This goal has been in effect since November, and Iʼm doing really well. I think my progress has been due to not over-promising myself that I will lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time. Instead, I’m promising myself a routine of working out. I’ll worry about the results later, because right now, I can’t handle worrying about serious results. Just the basics work for me. 

And the basics are enough! Iʼve been going with the flow in a very strategic manner. Going with the flow and being strategic sound contradictory, right? Itʼs easy to go with the flow and be lackadaisical. But Iʼve been very intentional about planning my day and scheduling time to work out, just like I schedule time for meetings, based on what my day looks like. I’ve just been planning as I go, no pressure.

Goals are important to have, but sometimes we set the bar too high and our effort doesn’t match. I often remind myself and others that our input, or effort, should match our output, or the result of our effort. If they donʼt match, we have to readjust our standards until our input and output are more balanced. If you have a goal to lose 40 pounds this year — and if that’s a goal you’re ready for — then you’ll see yourself beginning to fulfill that expectation in January. However, if you haven’t been to the gym since 2009, you might find it tough to achieve this goal. Maybe start small by challenging yourself to wake up on time and go for a walk on the treadmill first. That way you don’t feel overwhelmed. Once you prove to yourself that you can lose five pounds, it becomes a lot easier to commit to more.

Recognizing that your level of commitment and willingness may not be as high as you may think takes some personal vulnerability. You must be honest with yourself and question the level of commitment youʼre actually willing to make. Sometimes we under-deliver on good things, even though we know they’re good for us, which can be really discouraging. 

What have you been promising yourself but under-delivering on? If you were to scale this goal down, what would that look like? Tweet me at @vmichelletv.

I’ll admit, Iʼve been over-promising and under-delivering on two goals for the past six months. So Iʼm slowly eating my own words here. I recognized it when I was sitting at my laptop. I recall thinking about my next task and I managed to come up with six different excuses as to why I didnʼt have time to complete that task. But in reality, I had time — I just didnʼt feel like doing it. And the task that I needed to do was really valuable and really important.

As I was thinking through my excuses, I thought to myself: “Well, if I’m making excuses, then maybe this goal is too grand for me to tackle.” That realization hurt my pride so bad, but I knew it was true. This was not the first time I had made an excuse for this particular task. So I started to do some deep thinking, which led me to this article. I have to stop setting goals that arenʼt conducive to my lifestyle. That includes my lifestyle mentally, physically and emotionally. In that moment, I had to get real with myself and recognize that this goal wasnʼt really important to me, and maybe I should consider scaling back on it or just putting it on pause for a while. So I decided to scale back. Iʼve had zero excuses since then. Scaling back allowed me to manage my goals better overall.

Let’s just be honest: We all want to operate at 100%. But sometimes — due to time, resources, or our own willingness — we may only operate at 60%. That’s OK! So be really great at 60%. I mean, the best 60% you can be. Then before you know it, youʼll hit 70%, then 80% and beyond. 

Would it be too much to say maybe we should try to under-promise and over-deliver? That might create some bad habits, so maybe we shouldnʼt entertain that question. I guess what I’m trying to say is: We should make goals that are manageable according to our time, willingness, and resources. Because under-delivering is such a defeating feeling. And it’s not one we need to create if we calibrate our goals correctly.

Vanessa Michelle is a full-time YouTuber who has created a platform for creatives everywhere!  Her journey to journalism started at the University of Akron, where she was an on-air personality and TV host for WZIP-FM and ZTV Akron. Vanessa has been featured in local publications as “The Oprah of YouTube” and one of Akron’s most unique entrepreneurs.

Photo by Libby Swegheimer. Follow her on Instagram at @shotbyswiglet.