Don't Forget The Hows

I'm a hardcore goal setter. I love planners, my bullet journal, and the feel of the perfect pen in my hand. I can write out every task I have, check them off and keep on rolling. I see what I want and I mark it out on my calendar of when I want to accomplish it by. There's just one problem... I don't make myself a road map on getting there. 

See I'm great at the what and the when. I know what I want and know when I want it by but I don't put together the how. So, I want to submit a short story for an anthology and their deadline is Feb. 28. I want to send in a story. I know that I need to have it finished early enough to get edited so I plan to have a draft done by the end of Jan. to give me time to get a beta reader (or two) and get edits in.

I plan to submit my story by Feb. 20 so I have some wiggle room in my timeline if something gets thrown out of whack or a beta reader takes a little long to get back to me. That's awesome. It's great to have that laid out on my color coordinated planner. But what that plan doesn't take into account is how am I going to get that story written? 

Clearly I'm going to write it one word at a time but when? 

What I've found is that as my life gets busier, I keep making goals but take less time to worry about the steps between me and achievement. I want to skip to the good stuff and leave out all that pesky middle nonsense. But the middle nonsense is where the work happens and what really matters. The middle is the day-to-day that builds everything about our future. 
So now that I'm not ignoring that or magically hoping it all just kind of sorts itself out. Instead I've started figuring out the steps. What does that look like? 

Well it looks like me reviewing my commitments and building in time to work on these goals. If I want to finish this 7000 word story by the end of Jan. that's about 500 words a day. Now I have a measurable goal. Next, I figure out the times I have to write. Well, my days are pretty booked but I do get up early so I'll write first thing in the morning. 

Just by adding those two little bits of information already my goal feels a lot closer than it did before. Now I have a timeframe and a better idea of when I can get everything done. It sounds a little anal and type-A but I really have found that creating a plan helps keep me on track without getting so overwhelmed by all the things on my list. 

So, here's your task for the day, find a task you've been 'meaning to do' and set an exact time you're going to deal with it. It's even more fun if you give a ridiculous time like 7:13 and promise to work for at least 25 minutes. See what you can finally get knocked off your list and then celebrate that rush of  success. 

My Hopes for You in 2017

2016 was a doozy for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. It's been a rocky 12 months for a lot of people and the breath of air at the beginning of the new year is welcomed and needed. So here's what I hope for you for 2017. 

I hope that you do something that makes you laugh so much your sides hurt and tears stream down your face. I hope you're laughing with a group of your favorite people feeling human and like the physical embodiment of helium. 

I hope you read and write things that challenge you. Don't read your same favorites over and over again in 2016. Read an author who is nothing like you. Write a story you've been afraid to tell. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and see what new wonders the world has to show you. 

Be kind to everyone you meet. The world is filled with people suffering with things we never know about. Don't add any weight to anyone else's life and try to help carry weight when you can. 

But don't mistake kindness with silence. Kindness is offering a hand when someone is knocked down. Kindness is not walking away in silence when someone needs your help. When you see racism, sexism, xenophobia, and hate in all its form, I hope you turn the spotlight on it. Tell hate that you see it, point it out to everyone around you and watch it wither. Hate thrives in the dark so don't let your silence be its fertilizer. 

I hope that you find your footing in anything you're struggling with. Whether it's with your budget, your relationships, your career, your home, whatever it is, I hope that you find the path that you've been searching for. Just remember that it's not going to be the easiest one, walk farther to end up where your heart longs to be. 

I really hope that you get rest. The world is so constantly go, go, go that it's almost impossible to not get washed into the current of busy-ness. The 'hustle harder' mentality is burning you mentally, physically and spiritually. I hope that you take the chance to sit down and take a breath. Enjoy a bubble bath, go on a walk, take a nap. The world will still be here when you get up. 

Reach out. Despite the ease of digital communication, it's easy to lose touch with people. Take 5 minutes out of your day to send a friend a nice tweet, a text, a Facebook message or a call. We are all on this ball of mud together, we might as well find a friend. 

I hope that you keep track of the good things that happen to you this year. The bad things fester in our memories, but there are moments of joy and beauty even in the awfulness. 2016 was filled with terribleness but there were moments of brightness, even if it's just something as simple as PokemonGo coming into our lives. (Team Instinct!)

Most of all, I hope 2017 brings you closer to your goals and to the person you were always meant to be. 

I'll be cheering you on.