In keeping with tradition and good business practise, January was laden with much talk about goals. I’m as tired of the subject as everyone else, but I decided to share my 2018 goal gaff.
We talk ad infinitum
about the key elements of setting goals, the need to set SMART goals and the
way to approach the task. In earlier blogs (see below), I’ve suggested
reflection on what has been and reinforcing the writing goals you’ve made to
help you bring them to fruition.
Towards the end of 2017, I went through the process of setting writing goals for the following months. I was careful to keep my commitment to realistic and achievable tasks, then set about working towards fulfilling them.
Parallel to this work focus, my fiancé of five years and I were discussing how to prioritise the items on our outstanding wish list. ‘Which of these could we bear to not happen?’ I said, pointing to the list.
married’, we answered in unison and laughed conspiratorially.
the year of the wedding then’, Ron said.
fifty-three years since we met and almost forty-nine from when we parted in the
late 1960s. It was time…
to seek feedback on my memoir manuscript from various sources and did
significant re-writing as planned, which we thought was appropriate given that the
memoir tells our story. In June and July we house-sat on the Central Coast,
which allowed me to fulfil a commitment to speak at some writing groups,
participate in other writing activities and continue to fine-tune my
manuscript. August was a trip to another of my old environs, again for writing
the kaleidoscope of wedding paraphernalia tightened and almost all writing
stopped. Who would have thought organising a gathering of nine (including us
and the celebrant!) would have almost as many facets as planning a wedding for fifty+
guests? Well, maybe not… but there was a lot to do. The legal formalities were
still necessary and there were celebrant meetings, official forms to complete, questionnaires
to pore over, music to choose and vows to write.
to outfit ourselves in suitable garb (no mean feat, given our age and shape,
and the lack of formal wear for sale/hire in our area). I booked a hairdresser,
photographer and restaurant… then we filled a storage shed with furniture and possessions
from our home and turned the loungeroom into our wedding venue.
By the time
the wedding and honeymoon were over, it was just weeks until Christmas… and
time to reflect on the year. My personal life scored well, my writing life –
not so much. I had plunged into the wedding bubble and set everything else
Yes. Necessary? Yes. Regrets? No.
Satisfied with writing productivity for the year? No… but that wasn’t because I got married – not directly. Had I taken the wedding into consideration when setting my writing goals, I wouldn’t have expected so much from myself. Even if I reassessed my writing goals after deciding what else was on the agenda for the year, I would have pulled back my expectations.
isolation, my writing goals were realistic, but they became unachievable when
coupled with such a major personal event as a wedding.
This year I
took personal goals and writing goals into consideration at the same time. I
usually do, but somehow missed this point last time around, possibly because
exciting things were happening in both spheres and I just launched ahead.
My two paths collided as the months passed and, in the whirlwind of preparing for marriage and trying to keep up with everything, I forgot to take my own advice to review my writing goals and make adjustments to my plans. Instead, these happened by default. The outcome was probably similar, but stress levels could have been reduced and satisfaction increased.
regular reviews (monthly or quarterly perhaps) to help you stick to your
plan/timeline. Ask yourself questions like… Am I on track? If not, where did I
slip behind and what do I need to do to get back on track? Do I need to adjust
my schedule or anything else to make my writing time more productive?
> Be prepared to re-assess your goals… a decision to
change direction is not necessarily a failure – it may be an indication of
development due to a change of priorities, information, interest,
circumstances, or similar.
While berating myself, I must
remember there were some writing achievements along the way and those targets
not yet fulfilled are still opportunities.
I am doing better this year, with balanced goals in place and a productive January behind me. Reviewing my progress will be high on my agenda through to December, with the determination of one seeking successful outcomes.
I would value your thoughts and feedback in the Comments section, which can be found at the end of each post.
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