I know every year, we all do the same thing. We make some goals. We are going to get richer, thinner, smarter or come up with a way to make our life better. All the books and all the pundits tell us that goal setting is the one thing that will help us.
Great. You set some goals, some pretty big ones, where you’re going to lose all that weight that has been magically appearing around your middle, you’ll take that course, and get around to decluttering your life – in essence, a magical new you.
The problem is, and we all see this. By this time next year, you’re writing the same goals. Somehow, those pesky pounds fell off then jumped back on. You find you’re no wealthier, and the magical new you faded sometime in June.
So, what if you just resolved to make little changes. Things that would stick? The reason I’m putting this out there, in the past year I resolved to just make small changes. I wrote just a little more every day, and I submitted some of my work to a National Newspaper.
Strange thing was, I ended up finishing another novel, and getting an essay published in the Globe and Mail. I hardly felt like I did anything strenuous. I just added a bit more effort and pushed my own boundaries.
I heard this story of a man who was extremely overweight and unhappy with his life. One day he walked out his front door and walked around the block. It was a struggle. He continued the next day and the next until he was walking a mile every day. Then two miles. He lost all his weight and felt wonderful. But he’d done it in small steps. Not by trying to jog three miles a day.
For those who are amazed at the world of writing. No writer completes a book in a day, a week or even in a month. They may do a short story in that time or they may pound out a first draft of a novel in a month, but then they go over it, painstakingly word by word and sentence by sentence until it’s finished.
They may have a goal of a short story or a novel, but to get there, they need to push their boundaries and personal limits each day.
I also participate in road bike racing. We have these 90 and 100-kilometer rides that we do with large groups. To get to a 100-kilometer bike ride you start with a 25, then you push it to 35 and then 50. All the time you’re pushing your limits of endurance on the bike.
There are some road bikers that call this pushing the pain. If you can’t take the pain that your body is going through after a solid three hours on the bike, you’ll never make the four hours it takes for the race.
This, indeed, is pushing boundaries. However, to get there, you make small steps and before long, there you are at the finish line.
So, if you’re like me, and you’re tired of writing those lofty goals and seeing them crumble and wonder what happened? Try small steps. See what your boundaries are, then push them out a bit. Walk a bit further if you want to get healthy, write a bit more and submit more if you want to be a writer.
We all know what our goals are. We just don’t know how far we can push our boundaries until we try. I wish all of you happy reading, writing, and a new boundary by the end of the year.