Sunday, January 29, 2012

Setting Goals When Life Happens

At the start of every year, many of us dream big. We have these lofty goals and high expectations whether in the form of resolutions to eat better, get to the gym, or stop worrying so much. For writers, maybe a goal is to write so many words, land an agent, finish a book.

I love having these goals. Every year I get fired up and ready to tackle the impossible. In those moments, nothing seems so impossible anymore.

The reality is that most of the time life happens. We fall behind. We don't meet those insanely high expectations. Then it's easy to give up. Why bother? Something else is going to happen anyway.

I'm urging you to keep pushing even if everything in you wants to quit.

The end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 have been hard for me. A relatively healthy person, I came down with a serious infection at the end of November, then caught pneumonia, and had a relapse of the infection after. By the time I finished healing up, one of my dogs became ill. We learned he had some tumors and scheduled surgery right away since the tumors could have burst at any time and killed him. They had an 80% chance of being the worst possible kind of cancer to boot. He was 12, but in good overall health, and high in spirit. He came out of the surgery and was recovering at a rate that impressed and pleased the vets. The tumors ended up being benign. Then, unexpectedly, he died of septic shock as a complication from surgery. As we mourned the loss of a dog we'd had for 12 years, I started to deal with residual issues from having pneumonia. Next our other dog fell ill. A pipe blew in our bathroom and our dryer quit working.

That is where I am at now.

Despite being tired and having days where I don't know why I get out of bed anymore, I had to stop and think, why quit? Why give in and take away one of the things in life that makes me happy, that helps balance out the good and the bad?

So maybe I can't write 1000 words one day. That's okay. I can write it the next day. Or the next. I can squeeze in 500 words on a bad day, and have a great day where I am on fire. Maybe I work slower. The important part is I'm not quitting.

If you feel like you want to quit, for whatever reason, please don't. Hold onto what you love and just readjust your goals. It will pay off in the future.

I may never meet my lofty goals this year, but I'm writing. That's what matters.