Ever feel like you’re going at breakneck speed?
Like you can’t stop, won’t stop, but gotta stop or something’s gotta give?
That’s how I felt a week ago.
After attending the most amazing writers conference ever, I was on a high. I had goals. Plans. And I had to kick it in high gear to make it happen.
I laid out my plan: to write 12,000 words a week (that translates to about twelve hours of writing for me) so that I could finish my next book’s first draft by Thanksgiving.
I laid out exactly when I would write. I got very specific. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you create goals, right?
And then, lights, camera, action.
Except, the action wasn’t so hot as I’d imagined.
One reason after another—all legitimate—impeded my forward motion.
Things like working forty hours a week and being tired. Like getting a new puppy and being tired. Like teaching an online course and being tired. Like living life: trying to fit in exercise (training for 5K), cook healthy meals so we didn’t eat out every day, spend time with my husband so our marriage didn’t suffer.
And suddenly…I found myself PANICKING.
Because I’m a go-getter. A rule follower. A deadline queen. If I say I’m gonna do something, well, I’m gonna do it.
And it’s not okay to back down from something you said you’re going to do, right?
Wouldn’t that be lazy of me?
In the words of my husband, NO.
Where does he come into play? Well, last week he took me out for ice cream (which, as we all know, heals nearly any wound…or at least puts you temporarily in heaven) and we had a good chat. I really think God used him to speak truth to me and help me realize some things.
He asked me how much it would help to cut my goal down by a third: to 8,000 a week.
I thought about it. It would help relieve a lot of the pressure. I could write in smaller chunks here and there and still reach my goal.
Then he asked how much it would put me behind my original goal to do that.
I calculated. Only three weeks.
Isn’t that amazing? I was freaking out trying to get this done, when easing up a bit would make a big difference and not put me behind really that much at all.
Now understand…I don’t have an established deadline with a publisher. If I did, this would be different. What I’m talking about is self-imposed deadlines.
And I think there’s a fine line between pushing ourselves to achieve what we need to and self-imposed MADNESS.
For me, my husband helped to show me that line. He reminded me that I have a lot on my plate. I really hadn’t factored in how having a new puppy would change my schedule in the mornings and evenings. It does. No getting around it.
And he reminded me that the holidays are coming. Fall is my favorite time of year. Do I really want to put myself in a frenzy—an unnecessary frenzy—when instead I could be enjoying the season?
No, I don’t.
Your Turn: Do you ever struggle to know where that line is between pushing yourself toward your goals at a reasonable, respectable pace and pushing too hard? Any tips for telling the difference?