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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Goals - Do You or Don't You?

I used to be a big goals person. When I first got internet, I frequented the AOL writer boards, especially the goals board. I would make yearly, monthly and weekly writing goals. After I left AOL, I continued this practice with a few of my AOL friends, including some more “life” goals, like, you know, getting Christmas cards out on time.

I looked at my yearly goals for the past couple of years. You know what? I hardly accomplished any of them. It’s not that I didn’t do anything…I just didn’t accomplish those goals. Things changed, expectations changed, circumstances changed.

It didn’t make me feel any better about not sticking to my goals.

A few weeks ago I stopped posting my weekly goals, probably when I needed them most (I just mailed my Christmas cards and I still need to bake some cookies). It wasn’t that I wasn’t accomplishing them – I like breaking things down into small bits – but I was no longer able to see how they were helping me toward the big picture. I think it’s actually because I don’t know what the big picture is anymore.

But I’m taking a break from goals for awhile. I don’t need the stress of the disappointment.

What about you? Do you make goals? How do you feel if you don’t meet them?

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At 10:05 AM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Ah, Mary, it made me sad that you were giving up on goals because of the disappointment. I suspect you will be giving up on writing them down, though, which is a different thing. I went looking for inspirational quotations about this dilemma about goals. Here's what I found"

Winston Churchill: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts."

Edmund Hillary: "It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves."

Here's a good one!
Cavett Robert: "Any person who selects a goal in life which can be fully achieved has already defined his own limitations."

And another!
Jon Bon Jovi: "Map out your future, but do it in pencil."

Oh! And one of my favorite quotes!

"It is never too late to be who you might have been." ~George Eliot

I used to have that one up in my office when I was still an aspiring writer, as well as another one from Winston Churchill:

"Never, never, never give up."

Hugs and Cheers,

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Great quotes, Diane.

Mary, I think you need to do what you need to do, but I have a feeling you're still going to have those goals in your head. I'm a big list maker, so I'll probably do my 2007 goals next week. I know I didn't complete all my 2006 ones, but I think it was good to write them down anyway.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger MaryF said...

Thanks for the quotes, Diane! I love the Cavett Robert one.

I think I'm mostly just tired of fighting an uphill battle. And having goals makes writing feel like work, and since it's not my job, since it's supposed to be something I love, I figure why put the pressure on myself and take the joy away.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Mary, it sounds like you do have a goal-- to make writing something to love, not a job.
I think loving the writing is the MOST important thing. It should never feel like a chore, like a job. I think writing should be a passion.
You are so right!

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Marianne Arkins said...

I'm a goals person, but I try to make them realistic.

I love deadlines... I thrive when I have them, and the tighter the better. It's probably why I enjoy doing NaNoWriMo so much.

If I don't have goals, I drift and accomplish nothing. BUT, if I do my best and am unable to meet them, I don't kick myself. I just get up, dust off and try again.

For me, it's a goals list, not a prison sentence.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

I make goals, usually when I'm feeling really productive. If I don't meet them, I look the other way. "Goals? What goals? I'm just getting by right now! Stop pressuring me!"

At 9:13 PM, Blogger bridget said...

I totally hear you, Mary. It's such an individual thing. I remember when my son had autism, and people around me were telling me to "hope". I said, "I don't hope. I plan." I figured at least that way, if the plans worked out, I'd be pleasantly surprised. But if my plans didn't come to fruition, I hadn't invested my emotions, just tons and tons of work.

It's the emotions that hurt.

Maybe goal-setting is okay, as long as we don't hope for goals--just work toward them and be content to keep working even if the ultimate goals are never achieved. In an imperfect world, the path is the destination.

Does that make sense?

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

You make perfect sense, Bridget. Such wisdom.

Diane, I love all of those quotes, especially the part about needing courage to continue. I do think it takes passion to write on a regular basis, so you already have that.

I like to write goals down too, but like Esri, I either look the other way or start a new goal list when I realize I haven't met my previous goals.


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