I'm a big believer in goal setting.
I wish I was better at goal achieving!
I take comfort in studies that show setting goals will get you farther than not setting goals-- even if you don't reach the actual goal itself. It's either take comfort or lie on the ground, drumming my heels, wailing like a frustrated two year old...and my FinePrint colleagues have taken to pouring water on my head when I do that.
I set goals for the year, for the month, and sometimes for a season. Like summer.
I set a very specific professional goal for May. And missed it. By a lot. My little stickie on my desk top chided me today. It listed the date I set the goal, what the goal was, and when I wanted to reach it.
Big juicy splat. In fact, I fell behind if you analyze percentages. Which of course I do, because why feel like a mere failure when you can feel like a riproaring stupid failure. Yes indeed.
Then I had to yank up my sox, and remind myself:
Failure is NOT not-succeeding.
Failure is NOT not-achieving the goal.
Failure is NOT feeling stupid and lazy.
Failure is giving up.
Failure is not trying;
Failure is not paying attention;
Failure is giving up.
Well, I'm not giving up.
I analyzed why I didn't achieve my goals. One reason was it was too big. I scaled back my expectations. One was I didn't remind myself of the goal regularly. I've put a reminder notice on my electronic calendar. And one was I didn't finish all the details when I had a task in front of me...and I have no idea how to fix that other than to be aware of it and try not to do it anymore.
With that in mind, I've set new professional goals for the summer season. Five of them. Three are related to the goal I didn't achieve in May--I've broken it down to three parts.
And one of the other two goals is to take summer Fridays off. I'm busier and more behind than ever (I bet you are too) but one thing I learned over the Christmas break when I took a week off, was that I worked more efficiently after I took a break. So, making a goal of taking summer Fridays will both help me achieve my other goals (I'm hoping!) AND give me a goal that's fun. Goals shouldn't always be about the arduous things in life.
I specifically haven't mentioned what my goals are because it's not the specifics that matter. It's simply the act of setting goals, and working to achieve them that matters.
I've had long-term goals on my mind recently because twice in the last three months I've heard from writers who've told me their books are being published this year. Authors I met at conferences or publishing events YEARS ago...more than five. They had a lot of frustrating experiences betwixt then and now, but they didn't give up. (And they didn't throw up their hands, say everyone in publishing was a moron, and self-publish either.) They persevered, worked hard, paid attention to critiques and achieved their goals.
And I just bought their books on Amazon this morning.
So, if you're setting goals this summer, here's to our success! And to remembering what failure isn't.