Welcome to our first virtual book club meeting! According to our weekly reading plan, this week, we discuss the first three chapters, Excuses 1-3, of Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. And I want to ask, do you consider yourself a goal-oriented woman?
A casual conversation with my sister, who is my stark opposite in pretty much every way imaginable, got me thinking extra hard about Excuse #2, also known as “I’m not a goal-oriented person.”
Which excuses hit home for you?
How do you come up with goals?
“I need a goal. What should my goal be?”
This was my sister’s way of shooting the breeze over lunch at Grandma’s, but I, an over-achieving perfectionist since I was, like, five, didn’t understand the question.
This bitch, I thought to myself. Here, take one of the thirty thousand pending goals I’ve been killing myself over for the past three decades! I just squinted my eyes and looked to the side as if I were working out a difficult math problem in my head.
She let out an exasperated sigh at my theatrics and elaborated: “I bought this new planner to help track my pregnancy and at the beginning of each month, there’s a spot to write your monthly goals. I don’t have any goals, but I don’t want to leave it blank; it looks ugly. So, think of a goal for me.”
What would Rachel say?
And I can’t help but suspect that Rachel Hollis would be disappointed in the response I gave my sister, so maybe y’all can weigh in on this imaginary debate I’m playing out in my head.
I said to her, “You can’t just set a random goal for the sake of having a goal. That’s a surefire way to not achieve it. A goal should be specific and have meaning and be something you’re committed to achieving, or else who even cares if you reach it or not? I don’t think you should waste your time or effort on an arbitrary goal and then risk beating yourself up about not reaching it at the end of the month. You don’t need that energy in your life.”
“I’m not trying to change my life. I just meant ‘Learn French’ or something, geez.”
“Well, do you want to learn French?”
“I don’t fucking know!”
“Then don’t waste your time pretending you do just for the sake of having a goal!” I promise I hadn’t meant for this to turn into a TED talk. “Look, if you don’t have a goal, then maybe that means—God forbid—you’re happy with your life and are enjoying just living in the moment.”
She seemed to like that idea, and Grandma had since returned to the table with a giant platter of rice anyway, and neither of us knew how to say “goal” in Armenian, so we dropped the conversation entirely.
Did I let my sister off the hook too easily?
Now that I’ve started Girl, Stop Apologizing, though, I wonder if I let my sister off the hook too easily. Rachel says, “If you find yourself going through life without anything to work toward or aim for, it’s no wonder that you feel like your life is living you instead of the other way around.” Is that how my sister felt?
In fact, Rachel insists pretty bluntly that “you’ve got to have a goal. It can be a personal goal you set for yourself to get in shape or save money or own a home or build a business or save your marriage. It can be anything at all. Just know that you’re supposed to have one…” (Italics added by me to emphasize Rachel’s not unrefreshing bossiness in this matter.)
So, who’s right? Ms. Rachel “Pick a goal, any goal” Hollis? Or me, who thinks that goals are only worthwhile if they carry real meaning and impact for you?
Or, is the larger point here that “I don’t have a goal” syndrome is a symptom of complacency or, worse, fear that is plaguing so many wonderful, brilliant women that are just too lost or scared or insecure to be the dream version of themselves and start living their best lives!?
Is there such a thing as a genuinely non-goal-oriented woman?
Are you guilty of Excuse #2?
Maybe Excuse #2 and hesitation to identify as a goal-oriented woman are more common than I thought. What’s your experience with the three excuses we’ve read about so far? And what are your first impressions of the book and Rachel Hollis in general? I want to hear everything!
And, a surprise bonus!
In the introduction to Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis says she almost named the book Sorry, Not Sorry after the Demi Lovato song that’s a dance party staple for her and her staff.
I mean, she had me at dance party. So what did I do? I created the Best Life Book Club #BadAssBabes playlist on Spotify to share with all of you! May it serve as the soundtrack to your daily unapologetic ass-kicking as you become a more goal-oriented and generally bad-ass woman. And if there’s a song you think I should add to the playlist, list that in the comments below too!
Want to keep reading?
Check out our next discussion about Excuses 4-6 from Girl, Stop Apologizing.