Weathering Setbacks

Hand writing So Many Things in To Do List, business concept

I am a very goal-oriented person. I like to set the bar really high and do my best to reach it. Sometimes this is a blessing and pushes me to become better.

Other times, though, this can lead to problems in other areas of my life. Health. Family. Etc.

Also, since I push myself, I often get disappointed when things don’t  come together on my timetable or obstacles come my way, which is always. If you set a goal, know the universe will make you WORK for it.

This year I set some big writing goals in order to get myself back into the writing groove after a rough year with some mental health issues. I plan to draft two novels and revise a third. It is now April and I haven’t even finished one draft.

Setbacks happen. Daily. With a family, other responsibilities, and continued battles with health it can sometimes feel like those goals are impossible to achieve.

But remember: This is a writing journey. So, if you’re like me and often get so focused on the goal you get discouraged when it doesn’t seem to get any closer despite years and years of work, here are some tips to help deal with the many setbacks and challenges along this long path.

Focus on what you did. Maybe you didn’t hit the wordcount you planned, but you did write 100 words on your phone, or in a notebook, while waiting in line at the grocery store. That is forward progress. Celebrate it!

Reorganize your priorities. Writing is important, but there are other things in life that matter. Taking time for all the things that matter most to you is not time neglecting writing. In fact, if your family feels loved and you’ve taken time for your physical and emotional well-being, you’ll find the time you have to dedicate to writing is more productive. Nothing can be drawn from an empty well. So keep that well filled!

Set smaller goals. Setting small goals to help you achieve big goals is a commonly taught practice. However, sometimes the big goals need to be adjusted based on what is going on in your life. Writing a novel in a month or two may not have happened, but you can still try to finish the draft by your birthday or the end of the year. Life happens. A lot. Embrace it!

None of these things should discourage your big dreams and goals. Challenging ourselves is a great way to grow and achieve things you never thought possible. But sometimes pushing ourselves beyond our current capacity can be detrimental to our overall goals.

Ex. I had a friend who was frustrated that she couldn’t seem to complete the P-90X program. She’d done it before but this time it seemed beyond her ability. When she sat back and evaluated the situation, she realized she had a lot more going on in her life then she had when she’d completed the program before. That doesn’t mean she’ll never successfully complete that goal, but it may have to take a slower path or wait until she clears a few more pressing things off her to-do list.

My new favorite motto is: I Can Do Hard Things. Sometimes that is telling myself that I’m not a failure for not completing my writing goals for the day and celebrating the little steps toward the goal instead.

If you put one foot in front of the other, you will keep progressing on this crazy journey. This isn’t a race and we all can achieve our little and big goals. Keep up the great work!



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