When setting goals isn't enough...
One of my favorite books is "Write It Down, Make It Happen" by Henriette Anne Klauser, and a year ago I did just that. I took colored marker to whiteboard and recorded three (lofty) goals that I wanted to achieve before my next birthday (which is in nine days); all of them, to quote a colleague of mine, 'doable'.
Only I didn't.
I didn't meet a single one of the goals I jotted down; missed them by a mile, in fact. Make that ten miles, and the reason is quite simple. While I wrote my aspirations down in intricate detail, I didn't incorporate any strategy to reach them. Duh! Just knowing what I want isn't enough; I have to know how to get there.
Let's use this as an example - if I want to be in California, I can't just wish myself there. I have to map out a course, navigate obstacles, increase or decrease my speed based on external conditions. It's common sense. Hell, if I want to go to the grocery store, I have to choose a route and follow it. I may have several options, but I still need to pick one in order to move forward. That's the crucial step I forgot when I wrote down my objectives.
So, here I am, a year later, no closer to the goals I set, but at least I realize why I didn't meet them. Do I view it as a year lost? Not at all. For while I didn't hit those particular targets, several others were bulls-eyes. I completed the Hidden Springs series, something I set out to do three-and-a-half years ago. I hosted a successful book signing (Pages in the Caves) and am in the midst of planning a second one (Pages in the Caves 2.0). I made new friends, interacted more with my readers thanks to my new and improved newsletter, wrote a new story for a yet-to-be-disclosed boxed set, and am halfway to completing the second book in the Celebration series. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
What's next, you ask?
Well, the first thing is to make new goals for the next year - or maybe recycle the old ones - and include the steps I need to take to get me there, because without planning, it's all for naught. Whatever I decide to do, I'll keep moving forward; meeting new challenges, side-stepping obstacles in my path when I can, and plowing through those that block my way.
One of my favorite quotes is -
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. ~ Earl Nightingale
And it does pass. Quickly. Oh, so quickly. So make a plan, write it down, walk your path no matter how long it takes, because one day you'll look up and find that you've arrived at your destination, and THAT will be a day worth celebrating!
Now, where did I put my dry-erase markers?