Death and taxes aren’t the only things humans have in common.
We also have goals.
Big or small, long-term or short, we all have things we want to accomplish.
So what do we do when something comes along and tries to botch up our grand plan?
It’s easy to say, “Well, you just dust yourself off and move forward.”
That may work for the minor hiccup on your way to greatness. But it’s not so easy to do while you’re standing there in mute shock watching the remnants of your goal shower down around you like sparks from a firework.
So let me share a quick story about one of my own goals nearly self-destructing in glorious fashion and how I managed to get back on track. Nothing gives you insight like experience!
Back in December 2008, my sister and I were neck deep in training for the 2009 Disney Marathon, which was to be our first full marathon.
With only six or so weeks to go until the race, and our most demanding training runs on the horizon, I get sidelined by a kidney stone that required some sort of outpatient procedure for removal.
If that wasn’t fun enough, both my sister and I ended up with bronchitis.
Our dream of running our first marathon looked a bit sketchy. But add a dose of determination to equal parts stubborn, foolish and a couple of doctors’ notes and we were laced up and back on the road in good time.
It was tough, but here’s how we pulled it off.
Get clearance – If it’s a physical goal, make sure your doctor is good with it. If you’re building something, get permits. You get the idea.
Keep the first steps small – You may not be able to jump right back in where you left off. If you were working on your first novel, review what you’d written before and write 500 words a day instead of 2000 to get back into the swing. My sister and I ran only ten miles that first time back out rather than 18 or 20. (We knew we could easily do ten.)
Don’t bother with blame – Assigning blame serves no purpose and wastes the precious energy you should be using to reach your goal. So don’t hop on the blame train; let it blow on by.
That goes for self-recrimination, too – None of that either. It doesn’t matter if you blew your diet by falling mouth-first onto a cheese platter at a party. Remember, you only have a finite amount of energy every day. Do you want to waste it on making yourself feel worse? Acknowledge that you goofed and move on.
Just keep moving – In the case of my sister and I, that meant literally. But whatever your goal is (lose weight, run a race, build a gazebo, etc.) keep moving toward it. It may take longer to get there now, but you’ll gain momentum if you keep moving. The alternative is to stop, and where will that leave you?
My little story does have a “Disney” ending though. My sister and I did make it to, and through, the marathon. We had to walk a little more than we’d planned on or wanted to, but we showed that racecourse who’s boss and collected our medals at the finish line!
What goals have you had nearly fall apart on you and how did you manage to get yourself back on track? Share in the comments or on the Writer’s Fitness Plan Facebook page.