Monday, June 29, 2009

See You At The Finish Line(s)!

When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get them, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either. -Leo Burnett

Obviously, Mr. Burnett never met me.

Fourteen months ago I told the world that I, a 56-year-old, out of shape, 200+ lb woman was going to do the Camp Pendleton Mud run – a 6.2 mile race over a muddy, hilly, military obstacle course. People laughed. Some called me insane. A few even voiced their concerns for my well being. As the months ticked by, most were sure I would cancel. One friend even told me a few months before the event that no one would think less of me if I bowed out.

Oh yeah? What about me? I would think less of myself if I didn’t do it. I didn’t set and announce that goal to impress people. I set it to prove to myself that I could set a course, prepare for it, and turn it into a reality. The public arena kept me honest and hopefully motivated some folks to set their own goals.

Well, I did it! And here's the photo to prove it.

It was pretty much the same thing when I finally decided once and for all to write and keep writing until I got published. In spite of naysayers, I plugged on, and look where that determination got me!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been a little aimless. The Mud Run is behind me and I am without a major goal. Sure, I have book deadlines – lots of book deadlines. But those are not goals. Those are contractual obligations. Not at all the same thing. I need a goal.

This weekend I went over some of my prior goal lists, which I prepare every January. These are not New Years resolutions to keep for a few weeks then abandon, but goals to strive for. There are a few that I never hit within the time frame I set. And that got me to thinking. Does that mean the goal is no longer valid? That I’m off the hook because I didn’t reach it in the allotted amount of time? Do goals have expiration dates like milk?

I think not. They are still alive, they’ve just been in hibernation. So here they are, back again, this time until I reach the finish line.

*In January 2008, I declared I was going to lose 100 lbs. by the end of that year. To date I’ve lost 35 lbs., I have 65 left to go. New deadline: June 1, 2010, just in time for the next Mud Run. And yes, I want to do it again.

*In January 2009, I vowed to finish a stand alone novel that year. I’m now committed to spending 4 hours every week working on this novel until it is done. New deadline: January 1, 2011.

Bottom line, if you don’t challenge yourself, you will never know what you are truly capable of doing.

So, who’s with me? What personal goals are you willing to voice out loud and make happen?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations on your accomplishments this year! And for reminding us, half-way through the year, not to give up on our goals.

My goal is to increase my writing productivity this year--to double the amount of time I write each day.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Lisa Bork said...

I'm impressed with the Mud Run. I think achieving that goal should count double. Good for you!

I'm trying to decide on a new goal, too. It won't require athletic prowess, that's for sure.

G.M. Malliet said...

My goal is to get up I can either get more writing done or quit earlier each day!

G.M. Malliet said...

p.s. Congratulations on your self-discipline. I am in awe.

Alan Orloff said...

Sue Ann,
Nice job on the mud run. I have a feeling that whatever you set your mind to, it will happen.

My goal is to wake up later and get to bed earlier...and still get the same amount of stuff done!