Monday, December 31, 2007

Random Thoughts on Goals

That last post about resolutions was quite jumbled. Sorry, but I can't figure out how to improve it. The story I'm writing even though Nanowrimo is over is going quite nicely, and it must use a different part of my brain because I can't seem to write a blog post I'm happy with.

Liam and I agreed to wake up at 7 every morning to work on our stories, and that's made all the difference, so I'm going to use that as a paradigm for something I wanted to remember about methods in setting out resolutions.

Goal-setting ought to be a process, not just a onetime thing. I think that's important. Different things will work at different times. I used to think there was a problem with my follow-through if something that worked once didn't work twice, but now I think it's more along the lines of: You can't step in the exact same river twice. It may be the same river, but not the same water. Newman says that people, being finite, have to change in order to keep their ground.

Also, it has been helping me to remember that there is a flow between larger goals and smaller action steps. Maybe that's another way of talking about the river. If I can tie a simple action step to my big picture goal, the goal is much more likely to get carried through. I think that is the idea behind some of the traditional Catholic "mental prayer" guidelines. They are often set in terms of "Considerations; Affections; Resolutions." You think about something with your mind, then try to involve your heart, then your will.

So take my goal of story-writing. I want to keep writing my story, and eventually have a finished product. So I plan my plotline, ponder the happiness of having a story to work on -- but then a simple practical idea like "get up at 7 am and write for an hour" is what actually makes the difference in doing it.

I know there are people who find the practical ideas easier.

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