I'm a believer in setting goals, even though I'm not so great at meeting those goals. I never finished college even though I have about 80% of a Berkeley mechanical engineering degree. I'm always at least 20 pounds overweight (I'm 6'5" tall and I carry it pretty well though - at least I think so). And I always seem to make it about 3/4 of the way to achieving the goals I mention on this blog (with all of that in mind, it's a minor miracle that I made it to Supernova Elite last year).
But that doesn't mean that I'm a failure. I'm really quite the opposite. And it doesn't mean that setting goals has been a waste of time for me. If I set a goal for myself I always try to achieve it and that trying in and of itself helps me be more successful that I would have been otherwise. I might not lose that 20 pounds, but I might lose 5 or 10 before I stop giving it my all. I might not play 100,000 hands in a month, but I'll end up playing 10,000 more than I would have otherwise.
Setting SPECIFIC poker goals helps keep things in perspective. It's not helpful to say "I'm going to play as much as I can and try to win as much as I can." On the other hand saying "I'm going to earn 15,000 points in the next five days and win $1,000 during that stretch" (which are my two goals for this week) is very constructive. If I win $1,000 four days in a row and then get killed and lose $3,000 on the next day it would be easy for me to think "ACK, I just had $3,000 more dollars yesterday," but now that I have this goal, I'll still be able to think positively about a week like that even if I get smoked on the last day.
Looking at it from another angle setting a five day goal will help me think long term. Most poker players tend to think about how much they are up or down for the day. It doesn't matter if they've won $1,000 ten days straight, they'll stay in a game they otherwise would have left to try to get even if they're down $100 for the day. No one would think "I've won each of the past few hours, but I have to get even for this hour." Splitting wins and losses into days is just as arbitrary, but for some reason it comes naturally. This tendency is something I'm constantly fighting and setting goals that are for longer than a day, but not as long as a month really seems to help keep me in the right mindset.
So I'm going to win at least $1,000 this week and play enough to earn 15,000 points. If I can do both of those things in four days I'll take the 5th day off, and if I've earned the points, but am not up $1,000 I'm going to keep playing until 7 pm on Friday or until I hit that goal too.
I'll let you know what happens.