I learned everything I needed to know about goal-setting from my Nalgene.
Hear me out on this: I know myself! I do a LOT of goal-setting, and almost as much goal-ignoring. I start out strong, and excited, and then I fall on my face, two weeks in.
Here’s the tricky thing about my goals: it seems like I run out of steam, attention, discipline.. whatever you want to call it… and I miss a day, then two, then a week. Oftentimes, I don’t return for years, if at all.
This applied to this blog. It lay dormant for almost a year, last year. I only brought it back to life because my friends were also blogging.
This applied to NaNoWriMo, every year: the first two years, I finished the draft and never touched it again; the last two years, I’ve attempted and failed at writing anything to its point of completion.
This applies to a hundred different craft projects in my basement… just ask my husband!
So why is this round of goal setting different? Why have some things stuck, like my water-drinking habit with my Nalgene, while other things blew away in the breeze of my whimsy, never to be seen again?
I think there are a seven components that a goal of mine needs to have before it will truly stick and last for the long haul:
- First, it needs to be exciting. I have to want it in order to stick with it. It helps if there’s some sort of physical object connected to the goal, but this part is optional.
- Second, it needs a community. I need to know other people who are pursuing the same goal, and be able to share my progress with them. In the case of the Nalgene, I know of a lot of other cool kids who have them.
- Third, it has to be convenient. If I have to go out of my way to pursue this goal, it probably won’t last. Sad, but true. I have a life to maintain outside of my goals.
- Fourth, it needs to be something my husband supports. If he’s not interested in it, and doesn’t want to hear every little detail about it, and doesn’t ask me about it, it’s much harder (though not impossible) to maintain the goal.
- Fifth, it needs to be creative. I need to be able to customize it and give it color. Bland is boring is disinterested.
- Sixth, it needs to satisfy. That sensation of “yes, this is a good thing that is really improving my life.” That’s what I need: purpose to go with the passion.
- Seventh, it needs to have a timeline. In the case of my Nalgene: can I drink two of these per day? Challenge accepted!
My current goal that I want to stick is publishing a novel. I finished 36K words on my current novel draft (I’m aiming for 65K), and I can’t wait to start the editing process! This is the novel, I’ve decided: the one I finish and actually edit, share with others, and eventually publish. It’s time. This is one goal I intend to finish.
Now, I’m pursuing 101 Things in 1001 Days: so far, it’s pushed me to grow creatively, professionally, and spiritually. I’ve begun writing more, praying more, and being more intentional about how I spend my free time.
What about you? What goals are you pursuing? How do you make them stick and push through when the going gets tough? I’d love to hear from you!