the point of having a goal

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

I signed up earlier this month for a challenge to write 500 words daily, for every day in January.  I did it because my writing really fell off again in 2014, after having written every day in 2013.  I signed up as a way to get momentum going again.

One could say I have failed the challenge – I have for sure missed some days on the blog, and while I wrote elsewhere on some of those days, others, I did not.

However, I’m calling it a success thus far, and here’s why:  the goal was to get back to writing.  I had fallen so out of the habit last year that I went days or even weeks without even TRYING to write – without even thinking about doing so.  Doing this challenge has gotten me back to thinking about it almost every day, and writing more days than not.  That’s progress, so that’s a win – I’m choosing not to take a “failure” hit on this one.

Goals are good.  My group at work that reads a daily devotional together and sometimes discusses it has changed recently – we used to read Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest” daily; now we’ve switched to “Streams in the Desert” (though I love Ozzie, and continue to read him at home as well.)  Today’s reading talked about the need for us to step out, take action in faith, and let God bless us in the acting, rather than laying back until a bolt of lightning illuminates a sky with instructions written across it (okay, not in those words, but I LIKE those words!)

That made me think about the one time in my life when I was on unemployment, having been laid off from my job as office manager of a shelter during severe budget cuts.  I had seen the writing on the wall, so it was all a much calmer ordeal than it might otherwise have been.  I got to walk through that passage feeling like I was tightly tucked into the palm of God’s hand.  Still, the first thing i did when I got laid off was:  make some goals.

The main purpose of my goals was to keep me from accidentally falling into a depression, though of course the other purpose was to ensure I would find work before the unemployment checks stopped coming.  I still had a part time desk job, at which I worked something like 15 hours a week.  So I created a little schedule for myself – I had to be up by a certain time (I kind of think it was 7 AM, but I don’t remember for sure.)  I had to shower and get dressed in the morning by a specific time, and it had to be in real clothes – I was not allowed to just change into a clean set of pajamas.  I had household chores that had to be completed daily.  I had to keep a specific workout schedule.  I had to search daily for a job, and I had to send a certain number of resumes or applications each week, and track that.  I think I also had to open my mail daily (since I’m quick to abandon opening mail if I am either busy or stressed or depressed or all three of the above.)

Was it crucial that I do any one of those things perfectly and exactly?  For the most part, no.  There was a ton of room for grace and flexibility.  The point of the goals was not to check things off, to feel like I was earning an “A” in the classroom of life, or even to “get things done.”  The point was to help myself not to fall off into a ditch.  The point was to tend to the kind of good habits that keep my brain and emotions from clouding up getting me lost.

Good habits.  In the areas of my life where I’m doing well or at least okay, I have and keep good habits.  In the areas where I’m floundering, I don’t.  Good lesson – and if it took a challenge to write 500 words every day in the month of January to bring me back around to it, then I celebrate the challenge.  Here’s to good habits!

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Comments
  1. Marla Reynolds says:

    And I, for one, am glad that you took the challenge. Thanks for being one of my sources of inspiration.

  2. Cindy Maynard says:

    I love when your goal is to write!!! A blessing for me, and I would assume others, for sure!!

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