Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Writer's Mind: When Goals Faceplant

When my goals and my post on goal setting went up last week, I have to admit I felt a bit like a hypocrite. (I write my posts several days to a couple weeks in advance of when they go up).

Because I had done very little toward my 5k a week goal. In fact, I had written about 1,000 words since the start of the new year.

Ouch. Serious ouch.

Now, part of that deficit was due to the fact that I was away the first few days of the new year visiting family. And then I got sick a couple days later.

But I was still more than capable of writing more than 1,000 words on my manuscript.
Me, trying to reach my goals. From here.
So, what happens when you fail to meet a goal? (Because that's totally what happened). 

Evaluate what went wrong, without making excuses. 

What defines making an excuse? Could you still have (reasonably) made your goal in spite of whatever happened? If so, it's an excuse. It can also be something that happens repeatedly that you could reasonably prevent, but you still lean on it as a crutch. (For example, saying you're too tired to write most nights, but you spend 3 hours on Facebook in the morning...you can write instead of using Facebook time, and then transfer Facebook to your old writing time.

I couldn't avoid travelling and being sick, and I legitimately couldn't write very well with a head that felt swelled up to the size of Montana. However, I didn't make an effort to write on other days, even though I was healthy and had time. 

Evaluate the goal. Was it a good goal? 

Yes, but now that I'm back at school, I'm realizing that 5k might be a little bit of a stretch to start out with. 

Adjust the goal and implement a plan to avoid your typical excuses. 

I've dropped my goal to 3,000 words a week. That amounts to 500 words a day, with a grace day. It's more reasonable to start the semester. Once I get used to this goal, I'll work on increasing it. 

Basically, I just need to sit myself down and force myself to write, in spite of paying attention to other (often valid, but over-indulged) distractions, such as reading.

Thoughts? Do you ever struggle with carrying through on your goals? 

Next Tuesday we'll get back to more "writerly" things with an article on brainstorming.  


  1. Hahaha, that picture is hilarious. I'm so sorry you got sick, that sucks! I think we all fail at achieving our goals sometimes but as long as we pick ourselves up and keep trying, then that's all that counts. Good luck with achieving your new goal!

    1. Thanks! I thought it was perfect. While I still fell short this week, I came a lot closer. Hope you're still enjoying your travels!

  2. :( It's no fun getting sick, and it's so hard to write with a foggy head.

    But yeah, I have trouble meeting my goals all the time. I've basically spent the last week adjusting and readjusting my schedule for maximum efficiency because I've been in a bit of a slump lately and I've been trying to get myself going. I always get so discouraged when I fail to meet my goals. I mean, if they were really far fetched to begin with, I won't get too sad, but if it's something I know I could have met, I get really hard on myself.

    Good luck on meeting your new goals! :D


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