Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pushing Toward the Goal

Are you a goal-setter? In my life, I've struggled with setting goals. I haven't always been realistic about the ones I've set, sometimes hoping to achieve things that are outside my control. Now, though, I've become more realistic and began setting goals I hope to achieve. But goals don't always motivate me (or my personality type?) like I see in others. So I question applying them to me. And then there are fears of failure or success. Stand in the midst of a writer's conference, close your eyes, and point. Chances are, you are pointing at a writer who has felt that fear of failure as well as success.

Yesterday, I took my pre-schooler for a walk. Sometimes she walks beside me (a slower paced, shorter trek where we talk more about what we're seeing) and sometimes she prefers the stroller and a snack or toy to keep her occupied. This time, she wanted to ride. Great. Better exercise for me. (Believe me, she gets her exercise just by burning off all energy her little body creates naturally at other times.) So, first, we tackled the big hill. I had warmed up in the house, so this was a reasonable task. Down the hill and then back up. But, push the 50-pound stroller/child combo up the hill and don't slow down. We made it. Then, stride the long way around the block, then add another leg to our stroll. Then, return home.

By the time we were finishing the extra block, my kiddo was saying "I wanna go home." And by the time we were within sight of our street sign, I was feeling the fatigue. I still have to be careful for my back's sake. That street sign was far off in the distance on this level stretch of road. Far off. And every step I took didn't seem to get us any closer. That sign was our goal and there was no option. I had to march toward it. But I knew something. If I kept moving forward, I would eventually reach it. I would eventually get there. The goal would be achieved. So, I marched onward. Even mailboxes seemed to "approach" slowly. Honestly, I don't think I slowed my pace that much. Sometimes I match the rhthym of the songs on my iPod, which are all upbeat, Christian songs. My "walking" playlist. So, it wasn't that we were dilly-dallying. But I certainly couldn't reach that street sign fast enough.

Guess what? A couple minutes later, we did reach our street. We'd overcome the long stretch and succeeded--met our goal. That was a great feeling! Goal achieved and benefits to reap later.

So, I've learned some things:

1) If you're motivated by goal-setting: set reasonable goals. (ex. newbie writers can't expect bestselling status on their first manuscript, though of course, there are exceptions; but s/he can decide how soon they will finish the manuscript--just modify timelines as needed and stay motivated)

2) Set goals where you can control the outcome. (ex. you can't decide who will publish your work, but you can study what that house wants and try to meet their criteria, availing yourself to conferences where their representative will be meeting with writers)

3) Faithfulness counts. God isn't looking for "success" (which has a subjective definition in any scenario); He is looking for faithfulness. And he will award those who stick to it and overcome obstacles.

4) Celebrate whenever you achieve goals, consider your next goal using the wisdom you just gained, and take off running toward the next finish line.

5) Never give up!

No matter what your goals, go with God. Let Him lead and watch Him work. He is for you.

No comments: