A Few Thoughts On #Goals and #Milestones…

Photo from Ubergizmo.com

Last year in July, I wrestled with that swamp alligator, GOALS.

Goals, especially those we state in public, often feel like scary, slimy monsters. What if we don’t achieve our goals? (What if we DO?) The Life List Club is all about goals and reaching for your dreams.

About this time last year, I began participating in ROW80, but those goals are more short term. (Mine usually focus around writing and exercise.)  On the other hand, my Life List Club goals are focused on quality of life, work/life balance and the big milestones for my career.

Confession: My Life List Club goals are a much scarier bunch (for me), but I’ve learned that the two seem to compliment each other. It’s been interesting to see that usually when I’m having a crap week at ROW80, it’s because I’m working my tail off at a bigger picture goal on my Life List.

Now…it’s time to celebrate!!

Below, I highlighted the goals I’ve achieved (even parts of) in green. The rest are a work in progress. Those that I’ve decided are unfeasible, I’ve crossed out.

Jenny’s Life List – started 7/1/2011

  1. Finish the polished first draft of my high-risk pregnancy memoir.
  2. Visit ROW80 blogs and bloggers every week – encourage at least two new people.
  3. Exercise a minimum of 3 hours a week. (HIGH on my list! Current avg = 2 hr/week)
  4. Try kickboxing classes at 24-Hour Fitness. (I signed up for 10 weeks yoga instead)
  5. Send the rest of last year’s presents – with death, moving and baby I’ve been pitiful in this department. (I’ve gotten some out still trying to find the others. Oy.)
  6. Make more time for reading – at least two hours per week.
  7. Implement guest bloggers on More Cowbell.
  8. Research climbing vines for the back yard perimeter wall – plant them.
  9. Create an area to plant potatoes – plant them.
  10. Plant the 3 bags of bulbs in my garage!
  11. Read “Save The Cat” and Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey.” (Reading Vogler’s book now – here’s a fantastic review!)
  12. Take Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer again when I have time to devote to it.
  13. Take two courses from Margie Lawson’s Lawson Writer’s Academy. [I’ve signed up for two – one worked out and one didn’t – I’m going to take Margie’s April course.]
  14. Look into teaching at LWA or elsewhere online.
  15. Attend the 2012 DFW Conference (I’m going!)
  16. Begin submitting freelance pieces to build writing income.
  17. Take Baby Girl to Gymboree at least 1x per month. (I’ve focused on church playgroup so far…Gymboree or YMCA is still on the list.)
  18. Take Baby Girl to Story Hour at the library at least 1x per month. (Didn’t care for this.)
  19. Entertain at home every few months. (Success – every month but one!)
  20. Have one night a week that belongs solely to my honey. (This quarter has been a bit dismal on the dating front – we’ve vowed to be better next quarter.)

I’ve got most of the little goals knocked out and I’m thrilled  to be able to go to the DFW Writers Conference to meet up with so many of my peeps in person.

BUT. The same thing that always bugs me in book-length fiction is bugging me again…

I get impatient to be done already. I am so much further on my memoir than I was this time last year, when it was just a glimmer in my mind. I’m light-years ahead of where I was career-wise, but…

I’M NOT DONE WITH MY BOOK AND I’M TIRED OF IT AT THE MOMENT.

Thank God for these milestone parties! They let me:

  1. Give out amazing prizes – today’s is a Margie Lawson lecture packet for one lucky subscriber (Go! Go! Go, subscribe!) and a $10 Starbuck’s card for one lucky commenter on this post.
  2. Remind myself of how many goals I’ve achieved – it’s good for me to look up at that list and see so much green. It keeps me from obsessing over what’s NOT done. It keeps me focused on the process  of chasing goals.
  3. Stop a moment and practice gratitude. Y’all might not realize it, but you’re a big part of my goals. You help me stay accountable. If it was just me tracking my progress, I might give in to the urge to take a nap, rather than write. THANK YOU.

What else is being given away today, by my fellow Life List Club members??

I hope you take a moment to visit and comment on each of their posts. Our newest LLC member is Sherry Isaac – she’ll be stepping into the mix in April and I’m sooo excited about it! If you want to know more about how to make a Life List, click here.

How do you push yourself to achieve goals? Do you celebrate your milestones when you achieve them? What is your favorite goal that you’ve accomplished in the last year? Enquiring minds love  to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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43 Responses to A Few Thoughts On #Goals and #Milestones…

  1. Emma Burcart says:

    I am a lot like you in the area of patience. I just want to be where I want to be already! The thing I really need to work on is celebrating. If I look at how far I have come in a short amount of time, I would have a lot to celebrate. But I tend to just look ahead and see that I’m not there yet. Thanks for the reminder to celebrate the small steps! Guess I better look into making a life list. Maybe if I see things crossed out I’ll see how far I’ve come.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Emma, it has made such a difference! To my self-esteem as much as anything else. Like everybody else, I fret about what still needs to be done. This year I’ve learned to appreciate the joy of the journey too. (But I still get impatient!)🙂

      Like

  2. tomwisk says:

    I’m having a hard time keeping one item on my list, writing the first draft for a WD writing contest. 60% of the problem is in my lap. I have a ton of excuses and there’s always one tailor made for the day when life waves one of many shiny objects in front of me. The up side is that the stalling causes me to check the story daily to see if the writing elves stopped by, they never do, and I wind up adding a small part of the story. Because of time costraints the words that hit the page are more organic (this means a real heavy rewrite) and more in tune with the straight from the brain right to the fingers writing. Your post is a guidepost for me.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Tom! And I’m going to put on my Bob Mayer/Kristen Lamb hat for a moment… WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? When you answer that question, it gets easier. You’ve let the bogeyman out of the closet and said, “You’re not the boss o’ me!” Makes a huge difference. You’re still scared afterward, but at least it’s defined.

      You keep at it! I want to see that story submitted. Submitting is the hardest part.🙂

      Like

  3. K.B. Owen says:

    Go, Jenny! These are awesome goals. I feel ya on the patience thing, too! Writing a book is such a long process. But you’re going strong! Let me know what climbing vines you come up with – I need to do the same thing. Thanks!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Climbing vines! I love that – it immediately put my brain in Blog Land. (You are so GOOD at that!!)

      I’m having to learn that 500 words a day becomes a few books in a year, as long as you do them. It’s hard to focus on those little things when you’re not patient, but I’m trying.

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      p.s. I planted two kinds of bower vines along that wall already, but I think I’m going to buy 6 more and really get busy with it on the back wall.

      Like

  4. Jenny! I devoured this post. You always seem to be able to do everything, so it was a relief to see you cross some things off the list. Like…we can do that?! Thank you.

    The other thing that really resonated was your in black caps statement.

    “I’M NOT DONE WITH MY BOOK AND I’M TIRED OF IT AT THE MOMENT.”

    I think I gasped audibly there.

    I am feeling positively overwhelmed with life obligations and it’s making writing feel like a chore, rather than a joy. Maybe I need to take a little break until after Boy’s June bar mitzvah and then pick up again. Right now, I’ve lost all balance.

    Last, I just wanted to thank you for our fledgling friendship, and for being so kind to my friend Kasey. Her book is gorgeous. I hope mine will be born someday. I can’t believe I’m going to have to miss you all at DFW this year.

    Am. Devastated.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I thank you right back – for the friendship AND for Kasey.🙂

      Having grown up in an all-Jewish area in Los Angeles, this shiksa gets what an important milestone this Bar Mitzvah is. You only get to do it once and afterward all of us and your writing will still be there. And just think…finally all that Hebrew school will pay off!

      I’ve always been amazed that life cycles so that the crap-pile happens all at once, to the point that you flail around feeling smothered. Then all of a sudden a little time passes, and life spreads out in front of you again in a manageable pattern. It’ll happen, Renee… AFTER the Bar Mitzvah.🙂

      Like

  5. I am definitely an instant gratification seeker so long-term, far out there goals are harder for me to manage. I think breaking them down into smaller parts helps. Instead of writing a novel, I have a goal to plot a novel. Once I have it plotted, I plan to break goals into small chunks like “write act 1” and so on. I hope that helps. LOL!
    I also think focusing on what you HAVE done is HUGE at motivating and making sure that is what’s growing!
    Woot woot on all you’ve achieved thus far and here’s to continued productivity! LUV it Jenny!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      We are one on this, Natalie. I’d rather do something for three hours and have it be done than do 10 minutes a day for time on end. That’s just how I roll. I’ve learned to make my goals smaller too, and I think it’s helping.🙂

      Like

  6. Always like your posts but whenever your humanity shows through, Jenny, I am moved beyond words. I like the LLC. I’m going to check it out but I will NOT take on anything else right now. Part of my sanity has been learning to limit myself.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      How sweet you are, Louise! I agree that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, DON’T take on anything new. However, if making a Life List puts things in perspective for you, I say BRAVO to that.🙂

      Like

  7. Gene Lempp says:

    Seeing lots of green in there Jen. Nice job! You’re gonna love Vogler’s Writer’s Journey (and Save the Cat is fantastic as well). Thanks for the linkage🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are welcome for the linkage. I’ve started Vogler’s book a few times and each time have realized that I needed to have better focus to really get the most out of it. May the third time be the charm.🙂

      Like

  8. Sherry Isaac says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Jenny. EEE! We’ll be in FAB30 together! We’ll pass notes. We’ll giggle in the back of the classroom. We’ll learn lots.

    Like

  9. I need to start doing these things – I see them everywhere. I’m not so good with planning though – feels like boundaries, becomes something I feel guilty about. Sometimes we have to recognize the limitations of the season of life we’re in – and admit that we can’t do it all all the time. Been trying to work through that.
    Lisa

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      For some reason, writing these things down and looking at it every few months has made an enormous difference for me. I get much more done now than I did. Not everything (and yes, it’s hard to get over all the guilt) but more than I used to.

      Good luck on your goals, Lisa! You are so, so talented.

      Like

  10. alberta says:

    being a bit senior here – for a chance to win are we subscribing to you (already am) to the life goals (they only take 1 a month) or to Maggies newsletter or classes:(

    Like

  11. Jenny,when I looked at your list my immediate thought was you’ve found a balance. Not easy when you’re a young mother and wife with a job AND kickstarting a writing career AND keep a successful blog going. I say… YEAH Jenny! May we all find that balance in our lives. Tippin’ my hat to ya girl!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      THANK YOU, Kate! I have more balance than I used to, but it is a constant struggle and I just had to let some things go.

      For example, I get my house deep cleaned once a month now. If I have two hours extra in a week, I don’t want to spend them deep cleaning my house – it’s all I can do to keep up what they do. That was worth the $75/mo to me. The balance was in learning not to feel guilty for it.🙂

      Like

  12. LauraDrake says:

    I’m so proud of the massive strides you’ve made this year, Jenny! Hope you can see the progress…

    Like

  13. Marcia says:

    Great job in the past year, Jenny! You’re finding a way to balance it all and that makes all those tasks so much sweeter. If the memoir is calling louder than the fiction, don’t feel guilty about putting the fiction down for a bit.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Marcia. Really, I’m just perverse – if I’m on the memoir and it’s a pain in my butt, the fiction calls. Vice-versa when I’m on the fiction. LOL…

      Like

  14. Carrie says:

    I had a few simple goals (to me). Complete a first draft edit of my NaNo project and finish off my current WIP…somehow neither have been done though the WIP is progressing.

    I find I get bored easily and I like crafting new pieces so other stories take hold and I go merrily along. Until I begin to feel guilty about those two *points up*

    Congrats on your accomplishments. It’s encouraging to see someone meeting some of their goals🙂

    Like

  15. Pingback: The Milestones are Partying Again « Sonia G Medeiros

  16. Just a minute . . . phew – had to catch my breath after reading all those goals. And you didn’t even mention that you work a day job! You know I’m in awe of you, Jenny, and I can’t wait until DFW to meet you face-to-face.

    Like

  17. alberta says:

    Jenny I have looked at this life goal thing on your blog before and thought I really must! today I have decided ,I will – am off to write them all down, having spent a time sitting in the garden, contemplatingwhat I want to do in life. I have decided on 20 goals – I like goals , I discovered doing ROW80, putting them out in public means I have to do them, for my own pride’s sake:) – I have no more ambitions as such, having acheived all the ambitions I had as a girl, but short term goals suit this oldie . Watch this space:) Thanks for the kick up the proverbial!

    Like

  18. If I understand correctly, it sounds like I’m a lot like you. I’m completion motivated. if I work my tail off and don’t see any results, I start to feel dejected and my drive dies. For the really big goals, I like to break them down into smaller pieces. That way I have something to cross off my list and I see a result. The current non-writing biggie for me is getting back down to a healthy weight. Since I got married, I’ve put on 25 pounds due to some of the life stress we’ve encountered. 25 pounds seems like an insurmountable mountain to me, so I decided in January to work for half a pound a week. I know that seems tiny, but when I weigh myself every two weeks and see that I’m actually making those baby steps, it’s a HUGE motivator for me. And by meeting those little baby steps I’ll be at my healthy weight by the end of this year.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      We are a lot alike, Marcy, except I like to see BIG changes whenever possible. I’m going through the same thing with my weight and am shooting for a pound a week. Since I went off gluten, it’s actually working. But it still feels like watching paint dry sometimes. LOL…

      Like

  19. Hey Jenny, As a LLC member, am I eligible to win the Starbucks gift card? (Didn’t think so, but hey you never know.) That’s quite a life-list you’ve got. You’re making the rest of us look bad with your kick-ass list–exercising, coursework, conferences, martial arts, (blogging when free time allows). . . You’re amazing Jenny and I can’t help but root for you. Go Jenny!

    Like

  20. You and your fellow LLClubbers are an amazing group that totally inspire and motivate. Your goals rock, as do you. Putting them out there is super scary, but you know we’re all here to help and support.

    Like

  21. I totally hear you on the inpatient thing, Jenny. I feel that way with my MIP. I just wish I was done already! I guess that means I need to spend more time with my but in the chair, writing.

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  22. Jenny, one of your many strengths is being candid. You wear your honesty well and somehow we all benefit from that. Thank you!

    Like

  23. I relate to that impatience with goals, Jenny. Even when we’re making huge progress and dig the process, we want ___ done, NOW. LOL I’ve called myself ‘the finisher’ for that reason.😉 (Totally not mafia/hit man related.)

    Congrats on all of your awesome steps! Off to tour the fabulous Life List peeps’ posts.

    Like

  24. Lara Schiffbauer says:

    You have wonderful goals and have accomplished a ton of them! You definitely deserve to celebrate today, and bask in the successes you’ve had! Congratulations!

    Like

  25. Amazing achievements, Jenny!! I think we so often focus on what we haven’t achieved that it is truly a pleasure to see someone focus on what you have achieved! I recently decided to no longer create “To-Do” lists and instead make “Ta-Da” lists – focus on all my achievements! This was a nice reminder – thank you!

    Like

  26. Jess Witkins says:

    I absolutely love your goal list, Jenny! It has such a variety of necessary things: you have goals that pertain to YOUR self health and spirit, goals to spend time with your baby girl, goals to learn about and send out writing. I just love it! You’ve got the big picture going here! Can’t wait to meet you LLC friend at the DFW conference!

    P.S. How will I know you? Leopard pants? Will you be carrying a tour guide flag with underwear flying at the top?

    Like

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