Sunday, September 9, 2012

Missing Self-Imposed Goals – A Clue from Your Subconscious?

August has drawn to a close and I did not finish the rough draft of my novel but I am undaunted. My characters are yelling loudly at me even now as I type this to come finish their story and I shall heed their call in a precious few minutes. 

I am a goal-oriented person and I guess to some degree, I always have been. I can look back over the chapters of my life and see the things that I thought were important, that I was working toward. By and large, working towards those goals has made me a better, stronger person even when I didn’t achieve what I set out to do.

I know so many people who bully themselves for not achieving goals and at times, I fall prey to this as well. It’s easy to see it as failure. When faced with failure, human beings often need to lay blame and quite often there is nowhere to lay it but on ourselves.  ‘If only I’d made more time,’ or I could have worked harder’ are common refrains I hear in my own head. But with age comes wisdom. 

Sometimes we do not achieve the goals we set out for ourselves because they are, well, not quite right for us. For example, at 16, I thought I wanted to be an actress and a singer. I studied a little, took voice and dance lessons, acted in community theater, belonged to the chorus in high school, etc. By the time I was 18, I realized I didn’t really have the drive to make it in that industry. I didn’t enjoy being away from friends and family – yes, I’d even gone to California briefly to pursue my dream. I came home, humbled and ready to find a new dream.

I have gone through many dreams in my life and I have learned that missing a goal or deadline that I set for myself is not the end of the world. I am not giving myself or anyone else permission to blow off goals. I think if you set one, you should work as hard as you can toward achieving it. But if you don’t make it, stop and consider why. Perhaps the goal wasn’t right for you at this point in our life.

As for finishing my rough draft by the end of August, I know why I didn’t. The plot line for the final chapters was skewed and didn’t bring out the ending I (or my characters) wanted. I could have pressed forward and I tried several times but it didn’t feel right. Holding back and letting things gel for a bit gave me the chance to rethink where the story needed to go and now, I believe, I have a powerful finale.

I’d love to stay and chat more but Maddie and Jack are quire insistent that I come write the rest of their story. Perhaps September will be my month to finish. I certainly hope so because other characters are beginning to clamor more loudly, too.


  1. Good luck on finishing your novel, Theresa. I'm sure you will when you and your novel is ready.

    This post makes me think of the many dreams I've had, like different career interests and places I wanted to travel, but didn't fulfill. They served their purpose at the time, which was to give me something to look forward to. But they were not right for me, like you explain in your post.

    This post also reminds me of how I didn't finish my college education. Like my various career interests, I had a few different educational interests, and therefore, college majors that I pursued. I am close to getting my Bachelor's degree in English, which is still a goal of mine. I am just not in the right mind-frame right now to tackle those last few classes that I need to take to accomplish that goal. I know I will someday when the moment is right.

    There are, however, many goals I've accomplished and am proud of. Your post reminds me that I will not accomplish everything I set out to do, but working towards a goal and giving it my all is what is important.

  2. Great post, Theresa, and I learned something new about you. (Didn't know you wanted to be an actress.) I think it's awesome that you try for your dreams--so many people don't--and are able to not get stuck go for others when they don't pan out. Maybe seeing all those possibilities is part of what make you such a fantastic writer.

  3. This is a really inspiring post. I tend to beat myself up when I miss a goal but you've shown the value that's in the process.