Category: goals

Knowing When to Compromise Goals

I’m a well-established goal-oriented person. I basically construct my whole schedule and life around a series of smaller goals, and then I stick to those goals week in, week out, to keep my life on track. And for the last long while. that has really served me well.

Until this semester. Right now, with all the different demands on my time, I just haven’t been able to keep up with everything I’ve wanted to do. I know that for some people, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to just jettison some of the different things they have going on, but for me, it’s been a real struggle. I’m a completionist at heart. I like to finish what I start, and I like to meet the goals I set for myself.

However, when all those different goals are just getting to the point that I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ve realized there comes a time when I have to just decide to let some of them go and (more importantly) not beat myself up about it. I think somehow I have it in my head that if I stop doing all of these things for even a little bit, that I’ll stop doing them forever.

Part of this, no doubt, is due to flossing. Hear me out. Each time I go to the dentist, I leave determined to Do Better. To floss every day. To brush my teeth thoroughly. And as long as I stick to that “do it every day” goal, then I’m fine. But I know myself, and I know that as soon as I start skipping a day here and a day there, that it won’t be too long until I’m skipping a week or two, and then I’ll mostly just give up. It’s the same thing about me and eating sensibly. As long as I stick to a routine, I’m fine. Blow the routine? Things go downhill fast.

Yesterday I was trying to come to terms with how I was going to stay on top of everything I still had to do, and it occurred to me: I could just not do some of those things. I know this sounds like a really basic concept, but it was a big leap for me, folks. I have a goal to read a book every week, and I’m behind by about two books. What would happen if I just . . . didn’t meet that goal for the next two months? Would the world fall apart? Would I stop reading altogether?

How about writing? I go for 1,000 words every day but Sunday. What would happen if I cut back on that for two months? Would I stop writing, never to start again?

The answer to both of those questions is a definite no. I love reading. I love writing. But not finishing a book a week isn’t going to screw me up for the next ever. Literally no one will notice but me. Not writing as much? I’ve got DON’T GO TO SLEEP already turned into my editor. I don’t have any commitments for any finished pieces coming out beyond that. Yes, I like my current project, and I’ll still work on it to keep my fingers warmed up, but what would happen if I slowed down and went easy on myself for a while?

I’d probably have time to get the other things done that I have going on. The class I’m teaching. Helping Tomas apply for colleges. Renovating the kitchen. Getting the Makerspace set up at work. All these big things that have all converged on this short window of one semester. Get through the semester, and then things suddenly start to open up.

Yes, knowing me, it’s important that I do a hard reset after the semester, because I genuinely like writing and reading and doing all these goals. They give me a great sense of accomplishment. But for now, I need to have confidence that I can let some of them slide for a bit so I can focus on the other more immediate demands.

And keep my sanity. Always that.

So anyway. I don’t know how much reading and writing I’ll be getting done. I’m still going to work on both each day, but perhaps for a set amount of time, or just . . . not pay attention to how long I’ve been at them. And once mid-December rolls around and the class finishes and my kitchen is (please please please) complete, then I can worry about picking up those goals again then.

It’s all going to work out.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

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Final Weigh In (for now)

Let’s cut to the chase. I was 177.4 this morning, meaning that I’m down 11.4 pounds since I began six and a half weeks ago. And I’ll be honest: my heart’s just not in this anymore. I know my goal was 175, but I’m low enough now that I don’t feel like continuing, and 6.5 weeks of oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches has proven to be as many weeks as I want to go.

The good news is that I was still going along at a good clip, even at the end here. I mean, I’m down 1.6 pounds for this last week, which is the most I’ve been down in a single week for well over a month. Clearly if I wanted to keep going, I could. And two or three weeks from now, I’d make it to 175. I might end up doing that after a bit of a break, but . . . I guess there’s a balance between how bad I want to lose weight and how much I want to eat pizza, and it’s Tomas’s birthday, so the “eating pizza” part of me just veto’ed the rest.

Still, I’m considering this “mission accomplished.” In a month and a half I got my weight back down to a spot I’m very comfortable with. I’ve added some weight lifting back into my regimen, and so I’m still going to be working at doing things to keep getting into (slightly) better shape. Where will I go from here? Well, for now I’ll be transitioning back to a maintain eating style, meaning that I’ll still generally be eating a small breakfast and lunch, but I’ll eat more for dinner than I have been, and occasionally have some dessert. I’m going to do that for 3-4 weeks and see where I am.

Thanks for putting up with these weekly posts from me. They honestly help a ton in making and keeping and reaching goals, even if I know they’re not the most interesting topic to all of you. It’s amazing what a little accountability will do for even the least attractive goals out there. If any of you have something that you’ve always wanted to do (whether it’s losing weight or writing a book or learning a language or whatever), I wholeheartedly recommend making a public goal. It doesn’t have to be on Facebook. It can be nothing more than telling your family about it, though the more people you tell, the better this life hack works. Also commit (publicly) to a regular check in, and ask them for help remembering. Once you’ve got that in place, it’s really just a matter of sticking to the plan. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it definitely works for me.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

One-on-One Time with My Kids

I’m setting a new goal. One that I should have been setting a long time ago, but sometimes you need perspective before you see what you need to be doing.

The past while, my video game time has been steadily increasing. I’d justify it to myself by reminding myself that the rest of my goals and chores each day were already done, so why did it matter if I took some time to destress by playing video games for an hour or two (or three)?

But as I looked at my family, it was becoming clear to me that this “destress” time was having a lot of side-effects I didn’t want. I’d come home and play on my own. Tomas would be off playing something on his own. MC was watching something on her own, and DC was watching something else. Denisa would be working, because it was the end of the semester, so you’d have all of us at home, but we were all in different rooms doing different things.

Not a fan.

Of course, I’m also not a fan of being grumpy, and I recognize that a bit of destressing can really help me be more pleasant to be around. My solution? I’ve decided to cap the amount of time I can spend playing video games each day, and I’ve started up a goal to spend more one-on-one time with my kids each day.

I’ve always done a pretty good job connecting with Tomas. He likes to play Magic. I like to play Magic. Problem solved. But I can’t just spend all my time with him. DC and MC deserve some time and attention as well. So yesterday I started reading Fellowship of the Ring with DC, and I’ve been trying to do things with MC that she likes to do. (Her current favorite activities are making crafts and watching Spirit on Netflix. But she really just loves it when people spend time around her and talk to her. It’s not rocket science.)

I’m not sure yet if I can make it a “one on one time every day” sort of a goal, or if it’s “at least some one on one time with a child every day” goal instead. I tend to think I’m busy enough that it will often have to be the latter, but I’m going to shoot for the former whenever I can. Spending time doing an active activity all together counts for something as well. Watching TV day after day? Not as much. Playing a board game as a group? Sure, why not?

Because Tomas is just home for another three years, folks. And he’s followed by DC a few years later, and MC a few years after that. The video games aren’t going anywhere . . .

Here’s hoping the new goal sticks. It’s always a bit of a balancing act to see how I can fit new goals into my schedule and life, but this one’s important enough that I’ll prioritize it over other goals if need be.

Wish me luck.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

The 100 Pushup Challenge

Late last year, a friend of mine shared a video with me of what turns out to be a pretty common health fitness kick: The 100 pushup challenge. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Do 100 pushups every day. Not necessarily all at once, but over all, from the time you get up to when you go to bed, complete 100 pushups. He was giving it a shot, and he encouraged me to do the same.

I’ve been doing some strength exercises each day (after I do my 30 minutes of jogging in place, which continues to be my go-to exercise of choice), and I thought I might give this one a whirl. The research I did into it said it was a decent goal for people who can do 15 pushups at a time, and that was the outside range of what I could accomplish, so it seemed like a good fit. (Though they go on to say that for people who can manage 30 pushups at a go, they’ll need to switch things up some to keep it being a challenge, either by increasing the reps or changing the pushup style.)

The biggest hangup for me has been that my left wrist hasn’t been up to the “pushing” motion. I injured it a while ago, and it’s had trouble healing. So instead of doing a regular pushup (where you use open palms on both hands to push against the ground), I’ve switched to doing ones on my fists, basically punching against the ground. I can’t do as many pushups this way, but it doesn’t hurt my wrist, so . . .

I’ve started with 50 pushups each day. It’s all I could really manage for the first week. Now that I have a week under my belt, I’m trying to branch out, doing as many pushups as I can each set, and then doing more after that by switching to knee pushups. I hope I can get to 100 a day with that approach.

So far, I like it. It’s easy for me to do, it lets me keep exercise in mind all day, every day, and I think it will help me get in better shape. Nothing earth shattering, but as usual, big changes can only happen if you overcome inertia and start doing something.

What exercise goals are you setting for yourself this year?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. I’m looking to get to $10/month to justify the amount of time I spend on this blog. I’m at $6/month so far. Read this post for more information. Or click here to go to Patreon and sign up. It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out.

The Best is the Enemy of the Good

I generally like to do a good job at whatever I set out to accomplish. More than that, I’ve been taught from the time I was little to “always do my best.” And that’s generally good advice. But I’ve definitely come across instances in my life where that desire to do my best overwhelms me, and I end up doing nothing at all.

Case in point: studying Slovak. Last year, I set a goal for myself to study Slovak for a half hour each day. I kept up with that for a while, and then I dropped the goal down to 15 minutes, because finding a full half hour each day was difficult, and I found myself skipping the goal when I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete it that day. Except I found on days when I was really busy, even 15 minutes was rough to meet.

Now, if I’d taken a step back and asked myself, “Which is better, studying some Slovak every day, or only studying if I can get 15 minutes in,” I think the answer would have been clear. Studying it a bit each day is better than not studying it at all. But I didn’t think of it like that. I felt like I had to do my best on the goal, or else I’d fail. And so I just did nothing at all, in the end. The goal slipped off my radar, and I admitted defeat.

This has happened before with me. Good things I want to do end up going nowhere because I can’t do them as well as I wish I could.

For me, this is the classic example of the best being the enemy of the good in my life. Because I can’t do my best, I don’t even accomplish the good I could get done if I settled for less. Whether it’s decluttering, reading my scriptures, cleaning the house, getting work in on a writing project, or anything else. I opt to do nothing because I can’t do everything, even though I realize how nonsensical that is.

Additionally, so much of getting something done on a project involves simply starting work on it. If I can commit myself to do something on a project, even if it’s just a little, I’ll often find myself ending up doing much more on that project than I’d thought I’d have time for. Overcoming inertia is a huge step.

So I’m trying to keep that in mind this year. I’m back to studying Slovak each day, even if it’s just for five minutes. Because with five minutes a day, I’ll still end up having studied Slovak for over 30 hours over the course of the year. And 30 hours is much better than nothing, right?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. I’m looking to get to $10/month to justify the amount of time I spend on this blog. I’m at $2/month so far. Read this post for more information. Or click here to go to Patreon and sign up. It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out.

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