2015 was the year of the massive goal-setting. I created my 40/40 list in celebration of my milestone birthday. A friend told me later that I approached the list "like a military operation." She's right. I had never been so goal oriented in my life. I leaned on that list for stability when everything else in my life made me feel wobbly, uncertain, and scared. Then I completed the list, and wasn't sure what to do with the free time and mental space that had been absorbed by the task completion of the year before. I rested the following year and reflected on my goal setting. I set an outline for the year. They provided some shape for my days: read more, work on my book, and rest. There were no deadlines, no absolutes. They were guidelines rather than goals to be met. They were exactly what I needed at the time.
The pendulum has been swinging in big long swipes—far to one side with excessive goals, back the other way with barely any. This year I've felt my goal setting finding its way to the middle of these extremes.
I am also coming to terms with the idea and inevitability that I will not reach every goal I set or at least not in the time frame that I imagined. This seemed problematic when I was working my way through the birthday celebration. Now I understand it is an important element of goal setting. If I am managing to hit every goal I set, I am likely not setting my sights high enough.
I have not reached most of the goals I set for myself in 2015--outside of the 40/40 list and 80,000 word count for the novel--seen in the photo below. But the exercise was invaluable. It forced me to take a broader view of my writing life. What did I want to accomplish in the next few years? What steps could I line out to work toward that? This year I have honored the spirit of the goals by writing for submission and setting my sights on specific publications where I want my work to land. Most importantly, the goals pointed me in the direction of sitting my butt in the chair and doing the work. Whether I've crossed off all the items or not, my butt has been in the chair much more than in the past.
I mother myself by giving myself goals to pursue while also extending grace when I don't hit them all. What's that saying? Shoot for the moon and you'll land among the stars.
"Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal, and not in reaching it."