Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Actually, I really believe in goal-setting. I’ve read studies and surveys on the power of goal-setting. I’ve heard many respectable and amazing people talk about it. But I truly have a love-hate relationship with goals. Since I often think in visuals, right now in my mind I can see Heath Ledger in the movie “A Knight’s Tale.” After he has allowed himself to lose round after round of jousting in order to prove his heart to Jocelyn, the woman he loves—which means he’s beaten up, bruised, bleeding, and in pain—she sends a message that she now wants him to win. The Paul Bettany sidekick character points out that Jocelyn is watching him, and our hero says, “Oh, how I hate her!” It’s a great laugh line, because we all have just witnessed what he was willing to sacrifice to prove his love, but it connects into our own human experiences in so many ways. And so, I respectfully state that I love and respect the need and power of goal-setting. But oh, how I hate it!

Just to give you one example, at the beginning of 2010 I set the goal (and prayed for specific help in this) to be on the path to better health. In that year I had my gall bladder removed, my neck fused with titanium, and a complete double mastectomy. Seriously? Of course, my prayer was answered. God knew my gall bladder was diseased, my neck was about to break, and cancer was brewing, but it was a rough year, and since my health was already teetering at the edge of a cliff, having six surgeries in a year pushed me over the edge and I still haven’t recovered. (Complicated; I would need a power-point demonstration to explain. We’ll just leave it at that for now.)

I know that sometimes, if not often, things have to get worse in order to get better. But after many years of diligent goal-setting and only having life become more difficult, I hardly dare breathe a goal out loud, or heaven forbid, write it down. And so . . . this January of 2016, I have a mental list of things I want to work toward doing better at, and things I want to accomplish. I’m keeping it to myself, which might perhaps keep me from thinking that I might jinx my aspirations somehow. 

I have an accountability agreement with Holly and Amanda that I will post on this blog at least once a week, for reasons previously explained. Beyond that, I’m keeping my goals to myself. Still, I want to challenge each of you to consider these questions:
Am I striving to improve my life in the ways that I CAN control?
Am I honestly looking at my situation to assess what needs improvement?
Am I doing all I can, or just waiting around for things to change that won’t change on their own?
What can I work on that is REALISTIC and will really help my circumstances, or help me feel better, even if it’s in tiny increments? 
How can I work on improvement without further discouraging myself, especially if I’m prone to depression? 
Does it work better for me if I write it down, tell someone I trust who will help keep me accountable, or keep it to myself? If keeping it to yourself will only help you bury something so you don’t have to be accountable, then that’s not the best path. 

So, here’s to goal-setting. Cheers! And may we all keep moving forward, even if it takes getting beat up here and there along the way. 

Feel free to share your goals in the comment feed below, or just tell us your feelings about goals in general, or . . . whatever. 


Unknown said...

Oh my friend - I have likewise been afraid of goals. I remember years ago when I was a smoker, I was afraid to say the words outlaid, "I'm quoting smoking" because then I would actually have to quit. Now that I've climbed that mountain, I can see the power in saying the words you don't want to say outlaid.

I make the same goals everyone does at the first of the year - I will start exercising more. I will eat less. I will try to not grow out of these clothes because I do not want to waste money on any more. I will spend more time with my family. I will stop yelling at the children. I will be more patient. I will. I will. I will.

What comes to my mind as I read your blog is the beautiful word aspiration. I aspire to being a mother who spends some one-on-one time with each of my children every week. I aspire to reaching for vegetables instead of cookies and look forward to the way that will make me feel. I aspire to telling my husband how wonderful he is instead of only ever asking him to do things for me. I aspire to stopping myself before the judgment and criticism comes out of my mouth, thinking twice, and letting it float like pollen into the wind.

I aspire to being a better friend and more inspired human being, and for me it begins today, here, by having the great blessing of reading you. Thank you Anita.

Karsa_Writer said...

When I make goals, I have to tell people about it or I won't do what I planned to do. I made a goal back on March 1st of last year to work on a manuscript every day. That is so hard for me some days but I've done it every day since then. Some days I only get a sentence down right before I go to sleep but it's something. I have people that ask me how I'm doing on that goal and I show them on an app that I have for tracking it where I'm at. That helps me to want to keep doing it.

I know that not every goal can work like that one has for me but when I have people that will hold me accountable, it helps me to keep moving forward.

Lil' Mel said...

I loved this post, Anita. I don't write down my goals any longer either, because they are the same year to year. I realize that life is a journey of becoming and I am on it, striving to become my best self. It will take longer than life, and that's ok. I love you, friend.

Laurel Gallegos said...

I went through a time of depression after my 4th child was born. I think the thing that helped me the most is that I needed to go to work and was accepted for training as a Psychiatric Technician at Colorado State Hospital. Working with those who had more problems than I imagined was very therapeutic. I still at times have a day or two like that, but fortunately the Lord has blessed me and I do ok most of the time.

I love your writing. Really enjoyed the Hortsberg novels. Keep writing. The only problem with good writers is that they can't write as fast as I read! ha ha.

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us here, Anita. It really strengthens me and helps us all feel connected, knowing we're all human and have similar life experiences & trials. I have loved your novels for many years and still get excited when something new from you hits the shelves. You have a gift and I hope that the sun shines thru the clouds enough in your life to keep the wealth of your talent coming for many years. You are truly loved and I appreciate being able to read your blog and see the more personal side of who you are. Thank you!

whenDisneymeetsAnime said...

I have chosen to do something different with my goals this year. Some are written down and on the wall where I can see them so I remember to actually do it. Some I have only told certain people because they are people I can trust to help me achieve them, without all the judgment and criticism. And some that I feel are more personal, or sacred, I've kept to myself, and I keep them between me and the Lord. I have a little Christmas stocking that I keep hung up year round. It is white with some gold designs, and it's what I call my Jesus sock. I make certain goals with the idea in mind that I will accomplish those goals to "give" to him as his "birthday" present for Christmas. Some I achieve, and others I'm still working on. But I think this year will be very successful for me, in one way or another. Thank you so much for writing, and for giving me something to think about, to reflect upon, and to aspire to. You are amazing!