Monday, January 16, 2012

Sometimes planning is just stalling

"You were made to create something. Something important. And sometimes, planning is just stalling. So get on with it." 
 Jeff Goins

I read a post last week that I've been mulling over and want to share with you.

Something you need to know about me first: I'm a thrower-awayer. I LOVE garbage day when all the refuse leaves my house and for a few precious moments the trash clutter is gone. 
I like drawers and doors shut. 
I like even numbers ($220 instead of $227). 
If a shampoo bottle is almost empty I either dump the rest into another bottle or throw it away. It's not worth my time to shakeshakeshake it until the last drop slithers out. (Honestly, I don't think the one penny I'm saving by using the last drop is worth my time either.)

So goals work for me. Nice, clean words on lined paper are a road marker to point me in the direction I need or want to go. When I've completed the task, I can cross it off my list! Aw! Sweetness!
Sometimes I get anxious when a goal is on my list too long. I have to do it now! Get 'er done!
*Blushes* And sometimes I cheat. I make simple goals so they're easier to check off.  Somehow I feel cheated. 

Last week I read Jeff's post: On Scheming: Planning, Decisions, and Accidental Accomplishments 
I had a personal epiphany. An uncomfortable epiphany for someone who likes straight edges, check lists and rounded numbers.

Here is the post in a nutshell (from one of Jeff's friends):  "It's far more difficult to resist the fear to plan instead of act."
Read it again. I'll wait. 
That. Is. Me.
I have the plans, the goals, the drive. But am I putting them into action?
Writing is not a one time goal. The goal to write so many words a day can get in the way of my writing. I stress about checking it off. Then my creativity is at a minimum. Oh! How my life would be complete if I could write a book in one day!

What happens if every day I decide to write? And the next day I decide to write? And the next? Soon I have a complete manuscript and writing becomes a HABIT.
A habit
Think about the difference between a habit and a goal. To me, a habit is something I do without thinking about it. A goal is something always on my mind, almost dictating the course of my day.

Here's another quote of Jeff's I liked: 
"What I did yesterday doesn't carry over to tomorrow. I have to start all over again. I can't rest in the security of goals; I have to embrace the present. Otherwise, I miss my chance to do what needs to be done today. So I try to keep showing up. And without realizing it, I'm further along in the process than I thought I'd be. This is the beauty of a goal-less life: if you focus on habits, you may end up doing more than you thought was possible. Not because of a plan. Because of passion and decision."

It's almost freeing to me to make a habit instead of stressing about breaking my New Year's Resolutions. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying goals are bad. For me I've come to realize my goals are not the same as my check off list.
Maybe I'll finally learn to enjoy the journey. That's the point, isn't it?

Life is about how you get there, not the finish line. (Seriously, would you want your gondolier to race to the end of your ride or would you enjoy the journey?)

What about you? What are your thoughts?

One last quote to send you off on an awesome week:
"If you're already struggling with meeting your goals for the new year, try this: start something. And keep starting. Every day. Follow your passion. Be decisive. Create new habits. Maybe you'll get to where you want to be faster than you expected."

Get there my friends.


Alice said...

I'm sort of the opposite of you. I have trouble getting rid of things ad they tend to pile up. I also tend to over plan my goals, so last year my goal was not to have any resolutions, which was difficult for me to do. I stopped writing even my writing goals down and just started writing as much as I could each day. Some days I wrote a lot, some days I wrote a little, some days I wrote nothing, but it was okay because I didn't have a set amount of writing I had to do, and instead of rushing through, I slowed down and tried to get each page right. I'm back to having goals this year, but only a few.

Julie Daines said...

I love his idea of making habits instead of goals. I definitely see this as potential gospel doctrine class material. Haha!

Alleged Author said...

I have trouble getting rid of things (and sticking to goals). Ugh. AA = FAIL!

Anthony Dutson said...

LOVE it! I love to plan too. And plan... and plan... Someday I really mean to follow through. The days I do follow through are gold to me.

Andrea Mack said...

I try to write a bit everyday, no matter how little. Eventually, I end up with a finished story. Little bit by little bit does work.

Taffy said...

Interesting how we all work, isn't it? But our same goals are to write. Good luck on everyone's goals/resolutions/habits this year!