I flipped the calendar page and felt a moment of panic. What happened to all of my goal setting strategies?
2017 started with such lofty goals. I had even sketched them out into four quarters with a big project designated for each three-month period along with a few other hope-to-get-done-too items. Books to write. A business to launch. Classes to teach. And new skills to learn.
Except life happened. (Doesn’t it always?)
First, the sporadic day job kicked into overdrive with a steady flow of work that met our family’s financial needs exactly when we needed the extra income…but ate into my available writing time and depleted my energy. Then, the non-fiction manuscript I thought would be around 25,000 words long turned out to be over 60,000 by the time I finally finished it. And the associated details of getting the information ready for publication took much longer than anticipated.
And so I find myself halfway through the year with so far to go to reach those initial goals. And here in the sagging, lazy, middle of summer, it is hard to find the energy to pick up the pace even though I know I need to.
Goal setting still works in the middle of the year…and in the middle of a project. Why? Because when bogged down in the muddle of the middle, I know exactly what has worked, what hasn’t, and what needs to change. With the clarity learned from evaluating the past, I can focus in on the future dream with more accuracy.
So, I’m checking in with all of you as my virtual accountability partners as I ask myself four key questions about my personal targets in the areas of faith, family, fiction, fitness, finances, and friends.
What did I get done? Thanks to all that extra work, financially we got back on solid footing, were able to pay cash for a new-to-us vehicle, and have some money set aside for emergencies. Even though I gained some weight during the beginning of the year, I’m back on an eating and fitness plan and feeling better. I’ve been more intentional about connecting with friends and family relationships have continued to be a priority. That “Abide” word for the year has begun to make more sense…and while I didn’t get everything I wanted written, I did write a complete new book, knock out the content and line edits from my publisher for next Spring’s release, and start personal revisions on the final book of that series. Not bad. Oh, and I got to teach writing to a bunch of kids …in a castle!
What is next on the horizon? Keep up the faith, family, fitness, financial, and friendship routines. I’m teaching an online class in July about The Author Toolbox content and so I need to finish up the little details on the associated blog posts, format the book version, design a book cover, and set up various promotional pieces for that business to launch. I also need to finish revising book three of The Wardrobe series and am considering upgrading my website to a new design. Once the business side of life is in order, there are a few projects around the house to get done including catching up on the family photo album and sorting my collection of recipes-ripped-from-magazines into an organized book.
What am I excited about? Based on the non-traditional book ideas churning in my brain, I’m looking forward to creating something outside my normal genre and experimenting with different lengths of fiction. These ideas may turn out to be only for my own creative outlet…or I may become a hybrid author by self-publishing a few of them. We’ll see. But for now, there are characters calling for my attention and their adventures are my incentive for getting the other business and home-related projects out of the way.
And what should I let go? First, I need to let go of the guilt. There were plenty of valid reasons why I’m behind my idealistic timeframe for the year, and I’m letting go of the self-imposed deadlines in favor of a list of projects to cross off whenever I get to them. I’m also letting go (at least temporarily) of my quest for a literary agent and perhaps even of the desire to see a certain award-winning story about a waitress traditionally published.
What about you? How are you doing on accomplishing your goals for the year? What have you learned so far and what adjustments can you make to ensure future success?