This past July, Laurie Halse Anderson challenged her blog readers to write for fifteen minutes every day. I thought this was genius. Fifteen minutes is nothing. A drop in the bucket. You can squeeze that in at lunch time. Or your kid’s nap time. Or right before bed. Or first thing in the morning.
But that’s not why I think her fifteen minute challenge is genius. It’s genius because it gets us sitting down, ready to work. And once we’re sitting, we often do MORE than fifteen minutes. Because, you know, we’re already sitting so we may as well keep going.
That got me thinking about goals in general. When I was growing up, goals were always defined as some big think you work toward. But there was never any detail between START and FINISH. No rules. No guidelines. Just, here’s the goal, now find a way to get there. As a result, I did a lot of flailing early on in my life. There were things I really wanted, like a college degree and still make writing a big part of my life, but no one was there to help me figure out how to get them. I took a lot of wrong roads, learned a lot of things the hard way, but managed to get my degree and then collapse in a heap.
At that point in my life, I was attacking goals with a full-on vengeance. Kind of like shoving an entire steak into your mouth. If I had known what I was doing, I’d have thought to actually cut the steak into chewable pieces, then slowly work my way through it. And, if I got full, I could set it aside until I was ready to come back to it. But I didn’t know I could do that back then.
I think that if I’d known more about goals, and effective ways of reaching them, I wouldn’t have been so exhausted once I’d attained this particular goal. Laurie’s method of fifteen minutes per day illustrates a more effective use of attaining goals.
A good friend of mine, Lori Howard, is also a genius goal-setter. She can take any goal and break it down into manageable chunks. She has written a five-day set of steps which will get you on the road toward obtaining any goal you want. It’s brilliant, and I highly recommend reading it.
Since I’m a planner and goal-setter by nature, all of this rang true for me. But I’m curious, what about those who aren’t natural planners or goal-setters? Do you create a path based on what pops into your head each morning? Do you just wander along the path and see what comes up? Or do you have a destination in mind? Inquiring minds want to know!