Illustration by Ross McLoughlin
January is the time of making plans and resolutions and making elaborate life-changing pronouncements that seldom come to fruition.
“In 2013 I’ll lose 10kg!” (I might have made that one last year.)
“In 2013 I’ll give up alcohol.” (OK I never make this one I’m not that deluded).
“In 2013 I will see every Oscar Nominated movie or read every book up for the Booker Prize”. (I am pretty happy if I’ve seen or read two),
“In 2013 I’ll write that novel and get a publishing contract.” (Definitely I’ve made this one.
There’s nothing wrong with making these pronouncements at all. Nothing. In fact I think having goals is a wonderful thing. I love them. I love making lists and crossing stuff off but I think what you need to look at when you make these goals is the ‘why’?
“Why do you want to lose 10kg?” Is it because you think you should, because you were 10kg lighter 20years ago and that’s how you see yourself or because you feel sluggish and lethargic and it’s affecting your day to day life. I think the third one is solid motivation…the others not so much.
“Why are you seeing those movies/reading those books?” Do you feel you should because they’re deemed worthy by you know, ‘everyone’? Is it because you want people to think your finger is on the pulse? Or is it because escaping into wonderful movies or great literature feeds your soul? Again number three is solid motivation.
Which leads us to writing goals and motivation, which is apparently what this blog is about.
If you want to write a novel because you love to write, tell stories and fill your life by hanging out with imaginary people then that’s good motivation. That doesn’t mean it is blissful on a day to day basis – in fact some days a trip to the dentist seems more appealing than facing a manuscript that has wandered off course – but it means at least to begin with your motivation is solid.
After that like with so many goals – it’s a matter of breaking it down into bite-sized chunks – and then pulling on your big girl panties and doing the work. That’s not very helpful is it? Nobody ever finished anything any other way.
You have to want it. Then you have to show up. Then you have to do it. We’ve all had paid jobs we didn’t like and we showed up, put on the uniform, plastered on the smile and did the job. Why? Because – that’s the only way to get paid. In that case your goal is getting paid.
When you set out to write a novel your initial goal is to finish. You can only get there by putting pen to paper or facing that keyboard one letter at a time.
What’s my point? Look at your motivation when you set a goal and be sure you at least start out self-motivated – I mean by that motivated by what YOU want. By which I mean not by what you think people want of you, or what you wanted for yourself ten years ago, or even what you think you SHOULD want.
Then if you really want to achieve that goal you just have to pull up those big girl panties and get to work.
That’s where I’m at right now as well.
1/7/2013 03:12:27 am
Great post, Monique! It’s so easy to write down a list of goals, but it’s a totally different matter to do what it takes to achieve them.