Friday, June 5, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Making the goal

"Do not turn back when you are just at the goal." ~ Publilius Syrus, Latin writer of maxims

As often as we seek success, I have been noticing that some people are truly afraid of it. They will spend a lot of time building a goal and working toward it. Reaching a goal can be a frightening prospect. We see this with students who get increasingly nervous as they approach graduation and with professionals who inch toward retirement. What they do has become so much of who they are that they can't imagine life after their goal.

With writers, these emotions play out in a strange form. Writers, when close to completing a piece of work will often procrastinate by starting another new piece of work that consumes them, leaving that first project undone. This is procrastination by distraction. There is a great risk of this happening if the main contributor is allowed to determine their own time line.

So what do we do if we see ourselves turning away from our goals just as those goals come into focus? Here are a few techniques to help drive to completion:

1.) Understand that there is always another goal out there. For writers, there will always be more material out there. For students, there is always more to learn. For professionals, there is always a new career opportunity, even in retirement.

2.) Remember that incredible high that comes from achieving a long sought-after goal. While it may be scary to approach it, there is also a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from achieving goals. Don't deny yourself that joy because of fear.

3.) Utilize a buddy. A brilliant friend of mine is delaying the completion of his PhD. He has some valid reasoning for taking as long as he is to complete the degree - the need to work full-time to support himself, for example. However, he is certainly putting off the completion of his degree by distracting himself with other interests. I give him a hard time about it every chance I get, and so do some of his other friends. He needs people to remind him where his sole focus needs to be.

4.) There is something to be said for self-control and willpower. Completing tasks is all a head game. It has to do with strong, conflicting emotions, and the key is to manage those emotions and get them to work in our favor. Fear and anxiety, if we use them properly, can give us a tremendous amount of energy. If channeled through meditation, yoga, and visualization, that energy can be used to work toward a goal instead of running away from it.

The photo above can be found at:{005D0CD4-98F3-4129-93D1-46B13233B07B}


runner52 said...

good ideas

Christa said...

Thanks, runner52! Do you have any ideas that have worked for you? Would love to hear them!


runner52 said...

I like to watch how others respond to a situation. You can learn form the chaos the ensues... working in adult services, you learn a lot from the people that you work with.. I just pay attention, then afterward, reflect on what I did or should have done. Sometime it works well. a few weeks ago, I was getting ready to help an 82 year old client relocate..he lost his home to back taxes and had to move after 82 years,,,he was born in the home...I went to talk to him about his impending eviction,and found him dead in bed.. I think he just gave up...a very nice man..lesson learned??? Plan ahead, some day it may be was a long day....

Christa said...

What an incredible story - there's a lesson there for every one of us!