Monday, November 12, 2012

Fourth Down and Too Long: When You Fall Short of Your Goal

Yes, Football Fever is in full swing here with my beloved K-State in first place in the Big 12.  What better way to think of being behind on a goal than to look at it in terms of a football game?  You're not a football fan?  Okay, we'll leave the football analogy behind for a few minutes.

At the beginning of this year, members of my local writers' group decided to have a Word Count Challenge. Each of us who wanted to participate announced a goal for the year.  Those ranged from 10,000 words to over 309,000 words.  The total group word count goal is over 1 million words.

Each month we report how many words we've written on our WIP, blog, or other that's related to writing.  That number is totaled for the participant and also for the group.  It was decided that the winner would not be the person who wrote the most words, but the one closest to or farthest over her goal.  At the end of October, our group is at 75% of the combined goal.  Not bad!  We still have two months to go, so maybe we'll make it to that million. :)

But what if we don't meet that total goal?  We're coming up on fourth down (our last chance to move the ball down the field) and we aren't even close to the goal posts.  Is it time to give up?  Shall we just pack it up, get on the bus and go home?

Goals are one of the tools we use to motivate us to get something done.  They're also a measure of how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.  Looking back over the past 10 months of this year, I think most of the participants in our writers' group challenge have learned some things about goal setting.  I don't know how each chose her goal.  Some may have decided that a finished manuscript of XXXXXX number of words would be the goal.  Some may have decided that if they could get some words on paper, they'd be happy, so they went for the lower end.  (We did have a minimum number of 10,000 words.)  A few have reached the personal goal, while others are very close, and others have far to go.

If you set a goal, as we did, but see that you're falling behind, don't give up.  I always try to look at it as forward motion and feel good that I'm on the positive side, no matter how small that may be.  I like to tell myself that there's success in doing, not just finishing.
"Never consider the possibility of failure; as long as you persist, you will be successful." ~ Brian Tracy

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