Reaching for Goals

17 01 2013

cardinal in snowLooking over my goals from last year  made me wonder why so many stay the same. Do I really want to achieve those goals? Deep down where it counts? Or are they things I think I should do? Or do I feel guilty spending time and effort on them?

I once read that you should get rid of everything in your closets or drawers that you haven’t worn in the past year. You know the stuff–the too-small sizes you hope to get back into someday, the too-big clothes you keep just in case, that favorite pair of pants with the broken zipper that you plan to fix someday. I’m wondering if it isn’t the same thing with goals. Maybe I’ve outgrown some of them. Or maybe they just don’t fit right now. So when I clean out my closet, I’ll also make a clean sweep of the Yearly To-Do Lists at the same time.

If I haven’t done it this year, will I really do it next year? Seriously? Most likely not. So why have it hanging around, making me feel guilty and inadequate? Why not give myself permission to jettison it?

This year I’ll try paring down my expectations and give myself a break. I did make some pretty huge goals this year, so I’ll look back on those and forgive myself for the others that I skipped or didn’t find time for. This year, though, they won’t go on my list again. It’s obvious I’m not motivated to do them, so I won’t waste energy telling myself I should get them done.

I’m also going to go easier on myself when I make goals. I’ve already done that with my yearly list, but I’m going to do it with my daily to-do lists too.

to do list

One of my goals for last year was to have 8 books published. Not sure why that number came to me at the beginning of 2012, but that’s what I wrote. I suppose if I count all 5 vols. of the Native American Encyclopedia, the story in A Community of Writers, and my art/bio in Students Making Sense of the World, I almost made my goal. And actually, a book packager bought my YA historical, so that does make 8 books. I also wanted to have more than 2000 articles in print. I made that goal by writing 180 articles this year for an educational publisher. And I wanted to increase my picture book illustration skills, which I did with post-grad work this summer. And I’ve been setting aside time each day to practice my art.

But for 2013 I want to have more relaxing goals. Topping the list is a trip to Antarctica. I almost made it this year, but I had to cancel because of some family obligations.  I’m already picturing myself sailing past icebergs next January. I think I’ll limit myself to 3 goals instead of the usual 1-2 page list this year. If I finish those, I can always set more. And maybe without all that guilt to hold me back, I’ll accomplish more than ever.3-list





What Have You Been Putting Off? 30 Days to a New You

24 08 2012

What have you always promised yourself you’d do…SOMEDAY. Sure you’ll learn a new skill, get more exercise, write a book, play an instrument, lose those extra pounds…SOMEDAY. And the more you put it off to SOMEDAY, the less likely it is to happen. How many years have passed since you decided you’d like to do something SOMEDAY, when you have more time, when your life’s less hectic?

Chances are SOMEDAY will never come. So why not take 3 minutes and listen to this inspiring message from Matt Cutts (Ted Talks) on making those dreams come true NOW?

Remember, it only takes 30 days to develop a new habit–one that can stay with you for life. What are you going to go for in the next 30 days?





Trouble Staying Motivated?

8 05 2012

Try some Tough Love. Check out Beth Brousil‘s post on The War of Art. Might be just the kick you need.

 





What’s Your Excuse?

30 04 2012

So many people let their dreams die because they focus on their limitations.  If only I’d done it when I was younger, single, thinner, not tied down. Now I have ____________(fill in the blank). A mortgage, a high-stress job, kids, debts, no time, no energy…

The list of excuses is endless, but for every excuse there’s an example of someone who has conquered those odds.

Some people complain that they’re past their prime. That it’s too late for them to go for their dreams. Recently, I met an 84-year-old man who’d always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. He’s decided not to let his age stop him. He’s attending business classes and writing his business plan.

The Delany sisters published their first book at 100. And Sadie went on to publish 2 more. Her third, On My Own At 107, came out after her sister died.

People go on to be successful in spite of great odds. What’s  holding you back? When you think about your dreams, what’s getting in the way?

Chances are it isn’t your busy schedule, your over-committed lifestyle, your lack of money, your family obligations. There are ways to work around all of those things if you choose to do so.

People have overcome seemingly impossible obstacles to reach their dreams. If you think yours are insurmountable, you might want to watch this video.

Then answer the question:

WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE??





Fear of Success

1 08 2011

sailboatInspiration struck today about my business. I realized I’ve been an anchor, keeping things stuck, preventing them from growing because of fear.

Rather than being an anchor, a drag, holding back the ship, I want to be the sail, harnessing the wind energy and directing the craft. We’ll not only go farther faster, but it’ll take a lot less energy.





Ship Ahoy!

21 06 2011

Hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, but a five-book contract with deadlines a month apart has been grueling.

But I just received word that Pirates 
Through the Ages  is on the way. Yay!! Can’t wait to see how it looks. The editor said it turned out terrific, so I’m excited about holding it in my own two hands. Here’s a mock up of the cover.

Looking back, I wondered while I was immersed in it if I’d manage to get it done by the deadline, but I did. Now I’m wondering the same about my latest assignment. What is it about writers that they’ll put themselves under this much pressure and agree to practically impossible deadlines, then slog through long hours day after day to produce a book? What is it about this profession that’s so compelling? It’s obviously not the money. As most writers discover, this isn’t a lucrative profession. So what do we get besides the pleasure and excitement of holding a book in our hands?





Making Time for Writing

18 05 2011

I stumbled on a new blog today that has some great tips for writers. Called Literary Crush, it’s by a fellow Vermont College (can’t help plugging my alma mater) grad, Bethany Dellinger.

I particularly enjoyed her Guiding Principles. If you’re struggling to find time to write each day, you’ll want to check these out.