The Infamous (Anti-)Goal-Setting Post of 2019
Photo by Spegal Creative.

The Infamous (Anti-)Goal-Setting Post of 2019

Written by Emilie

Topics: Annual Review

Hi friends!

For several years now, I’ve published an annual “looking ahead at the new year” post here on Puttylike.

I started calling it an anti-goal-setting post because, as time goes by, I find the traditional notion of “goals” less and less appealing and helpful for me. Instead of having specific, measurable, well-defined goals, I prefer to have overarching themes or directions for the year.

I’ve learned that I’m happiest when I enter into new endeavors without strict expectations for myself. I do my best work when I give myself permission to pay attention to how I’m feeling, and modify or change course if necessary.

That said, this year’s post probably qualifies more as a “goal-setting” post than an anti-one… at least as far as Putty work is concerned. You’ll see what I mean; there are two pretty specific things I’m hoping to accomplish in the next 12 months:

1. Puttylike 2.0

Oh my gosh, how overdue we are for a redesign at Puttylike! Back in 2010, I hacked this site together from a few WordPress themes. And although it’s been more-or-less functional for eight years, it is REALLY time for an upgrade.

The redesign will be a massive undertaking. I plan on retaining the style and character of Puttylike (the branding is really just me), but the new site will be more modern, functional, and beautiful. It will hopefully be easier for readers to find relevant posts and share articles.

The redesign is part of a bigger vision or mindset shift that I’ve been moving toward. I’m trying to see Puttylike less as a personal blog and more as a really high quality media company known for its amazing content: that’s what I’d like Puttylike to be, anyway.

As you know, we have a new editor and new writer, who are doing awesome work (this is in addition to our other amazing writer—don’t mean to leave Neil out!). I would like to add more writers and a greater range of diverse voices to the site, get back to publishing articles twice per week (instead of just once), and place a greater emphasis on things like personal narrative, social justice, and mental health—in addition to publishing more of the helpful career/work/productivity content we’re already creating.

I would like the Puttylike community to continue growing and I want the message that “being a multipotentialite is a great thing and that it’s possible to lead a satisfying (and fruitful) life as a multipod” to continue spreading. I would like that to happen, not because of my TED talk or book or some interviews that I give—but because our articles are so smart, thoughtful, helpful, and beautifully-written that people can’t help but want to share them and spend time on the site. That’s really my dream. I think this is the first time I’m sharing it.

So yeah, it’s more than just a redesign. It’s time for Puttylike to grow into what I believe it can be… Something really outstanding.

2. Everything Conference

Speaking of next-level stuff: have I mentioned that I’m co-organizing a conference for multipotentialites in Portland, Oregon next September?! I’ll be sharing more about that in the weeks to come, but for now you can learn all about Everything Conference and join the waitlist here. It’s going to be pretty darn magical!

…and Some Personal Projects

Okay, so those are the big Putty projects for the year. Now for the personal/non-work projects.

December was an interesting month for me. I found myself working on a handful of local projects here on the island where I live. I organized and hosted a queer film night with my wife, Valerie. I performed in a coffee house. I co-hosted a holiday radio show called Weird Christmas. I also began making an investigative podcast about a local island mystery.

I feel really energized by all of these small local projects, and I would like to keep doing this sort of thing. Valerie and I received a small grant to turn our queer film night into a series and host monthly screenings through May, so that’s on. The podcast mystery is still underway (I’m absolutely LOVING pretending to be a detective/reporter, btw… it’s sparked a new interest in investigative journalism). And who knows what other local projects will come up.

So, let’s just say that a big theme for me personally in 2019 is: “local, community-oriented creative projects.” I’m going to leave it at that, and resist the urge to over-plan or spell out exactly what that means. You might call this the anti-goal-setting portion of my 2019 plans. I’m excited about the idea of just seeing where my interests take me and not worrying too much about outcome.

I guess I’ve landed on a mix of well-defined goals and flexible plans, which sounds pretty ideal to me right now.

Happy new year, multipods!!!


Your Turn

I would LOVE to hear about your plans for 2019. Specific goals, loose goals, anti-goals, themes…? Share whatever you feel like sharing in the comments below.

Emilie Wapnick is the founder and creative director at Puttylike and The Puttytribe, where she helps multipotentialites build lives and careers around ALL their interests. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is the author of the award-winning book, How to Be Everything (HarperCollins), and her TED talk has been viewed 6 million times. Learn more about Emilie here.


  1. Misty says:

    Hey Emilie!

    I’ve got one specific goal that I need to work on (for my health) and that’s to lose weight. Yep, the one most people say they want to work on and fail. I can’t fail! I don’t do New Years resolutions but think of areas that I want to see changes in. A loose goal is to volunteer but only in areas that interest me. Not sure how that will look like.

  2. Athena says:

    Hi Emilie!

    My goals for 2019: gain full-time employment with M-F day hours so I can start attending massage school in order to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. I also want to spend a little time each day being mindful. That means stepping away from all screens and being present with myself. Lastly, I want to find medical help for a few ongoing, rare problems I have. It won’t be easy, but I want experience more happiness in 2019.

  3. Camelia says:

    Goal setting never worked for me, especially the goal setting for the new year. Maybe just the ones for the very short term. When I start to do something, I adapt my plans based on the outcome of my actions. I cannot follow a preset path.

    I am also trying to be easy with my plans, because as a multipotentialite I would like to accomplish much more things than I actually can. And goal setting could lead me to frustration.

    My chaotic way to behave can be sometimes frustrating, does not seem to lead somewhere concrete, but in fact I accomplished more things than all the people I know.

    • Emilie says:

      I can totally relate to this, Camella. Good for you for listening to yourself and doing things your own way even if others don’t always understand.

  4. First of all; Happy New Year!
    Let’s make it a great one where we do all kinds of things that make us happy.

    My personal goals for 2019 have everything to do with finding out what that means for me.
    2018 was a year of discovery for me. Realizing I’m not happy in my current career, finding out about multipotentialism and it’s amazing community and being diagnosed with an attention disorder at 37 has made me start to rethink stuff.
    So I decided 2019 is going to be all about discovering and learning. About myself, my personal and work life.
    In my quest to find out ‘where to next’ I want to talk to people with jobs/hobbies that pique my interest in any way, find out more about all kinds of fields by doing courses and workshops and build a portfolio filled with the stuff I’m learning/doing/making.
    The first plan was to keep a journal on this, but I soon realized a blog/website was in there somewhere.
    So as we speak I’m figuring out WordPress and making something of a frame to put everything in that I want to share. There’s nothing on there yet…. but there hopefully will be soon!

    I hope all of you are as pumped about the new year as I am, and may all your exiting quests lead to new ones!

    Love from The Netherlands

  5. Em B. Green says:

    Hi Everyone, Hi Emilie :)

    My personal goals are going to splash all over my professional ones, since I intend to come out to everyone out there as the happy transgender Em that I am and get involved in the LGBTQIA++ community to help young trans kids out there being who they are peacefully and safely in schools. I live in France, and we don’t have that many resources available, so getting to share and help is my main goal for the year to come. Doing it with music, theatre and storytelling will add to my multilayered queer cake of course :)
    Becoming even greener than I am, reading more and spending more time with my family in the process would be great.
    Hope we all can be happier humans in 2019! Happy New Year everyone, Yours, Em xoxo

  6. Cowgirl Diva says:

    Hello Emilie…First thing I did was click on your performance…TIP OF THE HAT……bought the album….love the music..!! You’re a genius, Fellow Multipod…!! But, you already know that, right..!! I will continue to follow your activities and especially your music..!!

    For the New Year, I plan to paint more…..sing more…..write more….read/learn more….communicate more….share more of my wisdom, talent, art, friendship….beauty…creativity…..AND….LIFE with others…..including YOU…!!

    Looking forward to seeing “whatchagot” for us in the way of inspiration, openness, encouragement, creativity and love….love…!! Thank you for everything you are doing to promote, support, advocate for and encourage us to BE OURSELVES and share our personal/individual “I AM” with the world…!!

  7. Icarus says:

    My specific goal is to intentionally create everyday. And then my looser goal, is to embrace the nerdier parts of myself. Like my vampire obsession, my love of comics, and fanfiction, make more fanart ect.

  8. Anna says:

    Hearing everyone’s different approaches to goal setting is refreshing, if not surprising from a bunch of multipods!

    I have taken an approach which worked well for me last year, considering intention, then setting about 8 goals which are business and personal related which are SMART-ER (E – exciting R- relevant). Michael Hyatt got me started last year and doing the goal setting and sticking with it has taken me from sad/overwhelmed and confused multipod to thriving multipod over the course of a year. I am so pleased, and thank you for the support from the emails and blog posts here, they have helped too.

    Best wishes to all who are setting goals and sharing here!

    Anna x

  9. Suchot says:

    Love your mix of more defined and looser plans. I don’t make resolutions at the turn of the year. For me it has always felt so arbitrary and didn’t hold a personal significance. If I feel like following a plan or goal starting on February 27th, I do that :-). I like feeling open to when these ideas bubble up, whenever that might be. A current theme for me is carving out more time for writing – poetry as always, plus other forms.

  10. Craig says:

    This was cool to read and learn about your direction moving forward, Emilie (especially on the social justice and mental health front).

  11. Elise says:

    For reasons even I can’t completely comprehend I know 2019 will be a pivotal year both personally and professionally.

    On the “books” is a solo show of paintings in April and a public reading of my two act play but I am determined to find an artist residency in Paris or Berlin to realize the early stages of my hope to relocate to Europe. I have lived too long in the US raising my son virtually solo and since my work is directly inspired by living in a foreign culture it is crucial that I begin to find a new home. Also critical is finding a sustainable income. What I hope to do is continue the print and broadcast journalism career I began in Asia covering cross cultural topics as well as the arts.

    My dream is to support myself as a writer and artist. I welcome all suggestions from the tribe.

    • Emilie says:

      Wow, that’s awesome, Elise! Good luck with the artist residency/moving plans and everything else. I can’t wait to hear about how it all goes. Happy new year!

  12. Shruthi says:

    Hi Emilie!

    I have no specific goal for this year, but I do have a blog to write and two startups to run. Last year I tried to over plan everything and ended up getting stressed about it, so this year I’ll just work on these three very demanding projects on my plate.
    I just want to say.. I love the energy and excitement in this post! All the best to you and all the multipods out there!

  13. Alison says:

    Hi. For 2019 I’m planning to ‘live the good life’ where I am at with what I already have. It’s all there ready for me. I intend to let go and live it more deeply… and just see what happens.

  14. Fabio says:

    Hi Emilie,
    firstable thank you for all you do, it’s amazing.
    I want to start from my happyness this year, left it often in a second level.
    When I’ll be good I don’t know exactly where I’m going to but I can see lots of ideas passing, I know that I wanna promote and boost the change in this planet. The time is precious and our mother Earth needs all of us right now. I feel that I got probably to connect the people that wanna participate on this change (hopefully all the souls) and make serious developing for Good, for the future. My first thoughts goes on saving the forests, protection and reforestation, corals protection and regrowing, ocean cleaning, climate change acting, reprojecting the cities and help the transition, and make it easier the connections through the change makers. Heal the planet! Thanks

  15. Luis says:

    Hi !

    My goals for this year is to finish my book, know Vancouver, and work into myself to be a better person, How? Do excercise, read more and be patient whit my closed person.

  16. Lynde says:

    The only concrete ongoing goal is controlling my Hemochromatosis (which in turn keeps me as healthy as possible).

    For my work plans as an artist, I am going to work in multiples, min 10 – max 30. That way no matter what medium or subject I will have a complete mini to max series. Looking for a sense of accomplishment, where one of this and one of that scattering feels unfulfilling.

    The last is family, my family now includes my daughter and her wife who have moved in to help us and themselves financially. It will let us get debts cleared faster and easier. Plus we all have serious health issues and this way when one cannot do something another can pitch in who is feeling stronger. DD’s dad is esp. happy because they were living in a rotting rental trailer and we have a nice house that is safer in storms.

  17. Delia Middleton says:

    Hi Emilie. I am planning to walk the Camino de Santiago in September. All 800km of it. Planning involves time off work and flights to/from New Zealand and that is it. Have been encouraged to trust the journey and all that unfolds, follow my feelings and instincts. Perfect for a multi-potentialite who likes uncertainty.

  18. Samantha says:

    Love this conversation! I’m right on board with the anti-goals. I decided to pick a word to focus on for the year: Energy. I want to do more of whatakes me feel energized and manage (or eliminate if possible) things that drain my energy.
    It also means taking breaks when I need and making sure I get enough sleep. So on that note I’m going to go get ready for bed! :D

  19. Maria Corey says:

    I’d gotten away from New Year’s goals and resolutions over the past several years, but this year I chose a theme: balance. I let myself get out of balance in SO many ways. I go-go-go when I need to rest. I’m always starting a hundred projects, but finishing? No so much. My exercise routine falls by the wayside when I get exhausted. I say “yes” when I should say “no,” and then end up having to say “no” to something that would make my heart sing. I let my job stress me out and then I’m cranky with my husband. So my goal is balance. I’m hoping if I pursue that, other goals will take care of themselves. Either I’ll achieve them because they are part of my more balanced life, or they’ll sort of melt away because they weren’t that important anyway.

  20. Lutero Appel says:

    Hi Emilie!

    I have several goals for 2019. I currently have a goal acting as an entrepreneur, but I am already trying to fit other goals that use creativity that is a strong characteristic of mine. I want to be less specific in goals and more embracing. I want to let creativity flow.
    I feel like painting an oil painting. I love making drawings in perspective. Short to do landscape designs. I love participating in the execution of gardens. Register the natural phenomena of nature through photographs. I love to sing. I would like to learn to play the piano. Create objects in the form of drawings to be transformed into concrete objects through graphic design. I love performing arts. I’d like to write a movie. Besides these I have many other passions. I’m not saying that I’m going to do exactly everything I’ve written, but it’s passions and interests that can turn into talents. Maybe one or another of these passions will come to 2019. For now, I will keep these ideas in my head and see which one fits best in my life when it comes to time and space.

  21. Emma says:

    Hi Emilie! Happy New Year.

    I relate so much to your post about goals. This year, I’m coming out of a year of maternity leave (motherhood actually really ticked all the multipod boxes in some ways…always learning, different groups and classes etc. This year, I’ll return to work as a Physical Therapist, but fewer hours so that I can continue to spend time with my new son, but also hopefully restart some of my travel blogging and maybe branch out into writing some other stuff too. VERY loose goals…sometimes just getting myself and the baby dressed is enough for one day…but I’m excited for the shift that 2019 will bring.

    All the best to you for 2019!


  22. Wonder Woman says:

    My goal for 2019-and any years that follow-is to embrace my multipoentiality as a strength instead of allowing the world-and my inner monologue-to continue to convince me it’s really just being scatterbrained and unfocused. I’m neither and that’s okay. Something tells me embracing this aspect of my personality is going to make me even more productive and there’s nothing I love move than a good experiment ?

  23. Simon Pennington says:

    Wow, I just today I came across the scanner personality concept, and then then came across this site. What’s even more exciting is I’m live in Portland, so I should have no problem being part of the event this September.

    This year I have numerous go kart and mini bike ideas I’d like to get to. At the moment I’m in the process of buying a truck to convert into an off grid overland rv. Plus I have business ideas related to food/confectioneries, a self improvement book club podcast, building a personal YouTube brand, cnc plasma cutting and that’s just what’s been on my kind the past short while.

    My biggest obstacle however has been depression. It’s agonizing to practically see all these numerous avenues to success. Ideas that are better than what I see happening now in the world. But a lot of days I can’t bring myself to do anything.

    So I suppose my primary goal is recovering from depression. Now that I understand what a scanner is, it will help a lot with the work with my therapist I believe.

  24. Sergio says:

    I open your blog to find an answer to my sadness feeling of this morning, and I found it in this post, thank you!

    My problem is this: I have so many interests that I want to follow in days to come, but also I feel the need to realize my big goal of 2019: money freedom

    My big problem is that I can’t focus my attention and my time to a single project, to make it happen

    I started many websites, eCommerces and Affiliate blogs, and all of them need more contents, more work to make them work fine… but after some days I lose my ‘passion’ and then I start a new one project

    I understood that I have to accept my multipotentiality and I feel very fine accepting it, but my projects need daily work to make thme happen and realized

    So, what advice do you have to me to plan and schedule my weeks to more accomplish my projects?

    I tried so hard to schedule my hours, my days, but I lose motivation after bit time

    Thanks a lot for your work, for your book and your multipotentialite definition, an amazing thing that I discovered to be :)

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Sergio,

      If you aren’t having fun working on your various business ideas (because the passion is gone), you won’t stick with them. That makes sense to me. You might be someone who would do better with the Group Hug approach: one business that is multifaceted and allows you to wear many hats and focus on different topics. Perhaps if your business were less “niche,” you wouldn’t get bored so quickly.

      I break down the group hug work model (and the three other multipotentialite-friendly career models) in my course, Work Your Work! I also describe them briefly in this post. Might be helpful. :)

      Best of luck with your 2019 goal!

  25. Luján says:

    Hi, Emilie. I would like to know who I could apply to became a writer for Puttylike.

    My big goal of 2019 is to get the italian citizenship after 21 years waiting for my dad to do it, I start searching everything last year to do it myself.

    And keep traveling (I start on the 15th of may 2018) and volunteering along the way.

    I’m also happier when I don’t have specific expectations on my projects.

  26. farzin says:

    hi Emilie I send some masseg for you in the Instagram pleas answer me this me pag
    farzin_a_b pleas pleas…
    i need your book but i can buy this in Iran pleas pdf your book how to be everything……..

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Farzin,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a PDF version of my book. Even if I did, I couldn’t send one legally because the publisher owns the rights. You aren’t the first person from Iran who’s had this issue, but unfortunately, I don’t have a good solution… Sorry. :(

      • farzin says:

        mis .Emilie pleas help me …i want to translation your book can you send for me one of your book. withe post

        • Emilie says:

          Sorry Farzin, as I mentioned before, the publication rights are held by HarperCollins and they don’t work with individual translators, only other publishers. There’s unfortunately nothing I can do.

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