Accountability Tuesdays – Week 6

Excuse me for a moment while I get something out of the way:

*does a little song and dance* I’m going home today, I’m going home today~!

Okay, now that I’ve got that out, it looks like its time for another round of accountability. [whine] Do I have to? [/whine] Yes, yes I do. Shut up, me! Do better and you won’t dread these posts!

Health and Body Image Goal
I’m not really sure if I should report a good week or a bad week for this one. I didn’t eat particularly well (although I did have some pretty healthy breakfasts) but I ate less and I actually took it upon myself to get up early Sunday morning and squeeze in a P90X video. It was only one day yes, but I know it was a good one because I was too sore Monday morning to do another one. The plan is to check out some Jillian Michaels vids when I get home, so look forward to hearing about that venture.

Editing Goal
Remember two weeks ago when I said I was taking my manuscript out to work with me and that I would find the time to look at it at some point? Well I finally looked at it…last night…for about five minutes…while I was packing.

It’s not that I don’t want to get the damn thing edited, it’s just that I’m so thoroughly obsessed with the writing aspect that I’m having a really hard time convincing myself to go back over to editing. Writing is fun and joyful. Editing is pain and misery. Okay, some parts of writing are pain and misery too, but all of editing is pain and misery.

No excuse, I know. Feel free to flog me now. ~_~

1,000,000 Word Goal
It wasn’t an excellent week because work got really busy in the second half, but I still feel I did pretty decently, all things considered. I wrote a measly 404 words toward blogging, 4585 words toward my current work in progress, and another little grouping of 286 toward a new mini-project that might end up as a contest entry. So that’s a total of 5275 words for the week. Nothing to turn up your nose at!

As an add-on to this Tuesday post I would like to announce that I’m going to simplify my blogging “schedule” a bit. From now on I’m only going to blog through the weekdays and give myself the weekends off (unless there’s some specific reason I wish to blog on a particular weekend), and from now on Fridays will be Fiction Fragment Fridays. On this last day of the weekdays I will share a fragment of my written fiction, whether it be a drabble, part of one of my fanfictions, or a scene from my manuscript or current work in progress. It’s time to start sharing my actual work rather than just my personal thoughts and feelings. Look forward to it!

“Aim for the top-right corner!”

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

36. Goal setting

That’s a little hockey joke up in the title of the post, in case you missed it. 😛

If there’s something I think we can all agree on, it’s that goals are important. Without goals we cannot advance, we cannot attain. It could be something as simple as wanting to pay off a loan sooner. Without actively making the decision to set that goal for yourself, your loan will stay exactly where it is. By setting the goal, by choosing to want something better, you’re taking the first step in setting yourself up for attainable advancement.

The problem with goals is that most people don’t understand how to make a proper one. Most people set themselves up for failure by creating goals that aren’t well thought out. Common issues are creating a goal that is too broad, or too ambitious, or that neglect to take important personal factors into account. For example, take the common goal of weight loss:

Too Broad
“I want to lose weight.”
This goal is about as broad as you can get. Think about it for a moment…how are you going to lose weight? Are you going to eat less? Different kinds of foods? More vegetables? Less fats? Are you going to exercise? What kind of exercise? Running? Spinning class? P90X? And what about the fine details? How much weight do you want to lose? How fast? Neglecting to narrow down your goal leaves you open to far too many possible points of sabotage. You might exercise your ass off, but neglect to monitor your eating habits and thus fail to accomplish anything. You might lose weight, but not as fast as you had hoped and find yourself discouraged enough to give up. If you figure out all the details ahead of time, and stick to them, you’re much more likely to progress.

Too Ambitious
“I want to lose 15 lbs in a month!”
It should come as no surprise that setting goals that are too ambitious (in other words: damn near impossible) will also set you up for failure and disappointment. In this example you would have to do something very extreme, and probably very unhealthy, to reach your goal, since a healthy and plausible rate of weight loss is about 1 lb a week. If you set yourself a goal that is so ambitious that there’s no way it’s actually going to happen, you’re just going to end up frustrated that you can’t achieve it.

Neglect to Attend Important Factors
“I’m going to lose x-lbs by cutting out all sweets and soda.”
This is actually a half-decent plan at first glance. Most people take far too much sugar into their bodies, so cutting that out would almost definitely result in some form of weight loss. But in this example the goal neglects to consider the repercussions of the intended actions. Presumably the person who set the goal consumes a large amount of sugar, if they believe cutting it out will help them lose weight. What’s going to happen when that sugar stops being consumed? Many people don’t realize that sugar is no different that many drugs. It’s addictive, it gives you an artificial “high” in the form of short-term energy, and cutting it completely from your diet can cause withdrawal symptoms. No, I’m not kidding. Aside from all that, do you actually have the willpower to cut out all sugar? Is this plan going to succeed only in making you miserable? Because misery is absolutely not conducive to a successful goal. When determining the details of your goal you have to take into account the consequences that may occur and your own personal ability (really, really take a good look at yourself here) to deal with the limitations you’ve set for yourself.

These three factors can be applied to a goal of any type. If we’re looking at a writing goal, they definitely apply. You can’t be too broad (“I want to be a writer even though I have absolutely no plan and don’t know what I want to write!”), you can’t be too ambitious (“I just got an idea for a novel and I’m totally going to have it written and published within two months!”), and you can’t forget to consider possible consequences and personal ability (“I’m going to get up an hour early every morning to write, even though I already only get about four hours of sleep a night!”). Ignoring these factors will set you on the path to failure, and failure will set you on the path to disappointment, depression, and a little thing I like to call “I Give UP!” syndrome.

Set goals for yourself…just remember that not all goals are equal and very few are easy to attain.