Life Interrupted: How to stick with your goals

September 13, 2017

 

I swear this is me trying to stop time. Hanging on for dear life in the hope of gaining just a few more minutes hasn't been working too well for me.

I can't say that I'm surprised.

Hey, it was worth a try.

 

So, what do you do when life is interrupted and your plans get swept away, and you feel like you should just toss in

the towel and say "done"?

 

You change it up.

 

Take stock of the situation and look for new ways to do things.

 

Instead of forgetting about the goals you set and feeling defeated, re-evaluate.

 

Yep. That's what I had to do this past week.

 

Sometimes you may have fallen into a rut because things just got a little boring, or maybe your goals have changed and you're just now realizing it. That's all good. It means you need to take a look at what makes you happy and get rid of the things that aren't working. It's a big clue that the goals you started out with have changed. Take some time to think through what you want to do next. All is not lost. Really.

 

Something has altered and your original goals have taken you just so far, but now you need to open your mind to other possibilities. Think of it as stepping into a new direction. Once you do, chances are you'll capture the excitement you felt when you set those original goals. Life is back on track and it's all good.

 

That's one scenario.

 

Then there's the situation where you still want those goals you first set your heart on, but life interrupted with an unexpected circumstance--an addition to the family, a lost job, a move, an illness, or the loss of a loved one.

 

In my case, I had two of the above. The addition to the family came four years ago while I was in grad school. It came in the form of a beautiful grandson. I love my grandchild. I do. I also love time to read and write and reach my publishing goals.

 

The glitch? I had to step into a caregiver role. Besides less sleep, I ended up with less time to work toward my goals. I've had to adjust to the delights of having a little one living with me, even when that tiny person has behavior issues that usurp the normal flow of the household. Yet, I refuse to give up.

 

My goals are pretty much the same. I just have to fine-tune my concept of time. It takes a lot longer to get tasks done. Such is life. It will get better. My mother told me this many times, so I trust her judgment. I just have to be patient. In the meantime, I take joy in seeing life through the eyes of the little guy. 

 

The second thing that caused life to be interrupted was the loss of my mother a couple of weeks ago.

 

The day of the eclipse Mom had a massive stroke and passed away three days later. It came unexpectedly and changed my life forever. Gone was the person I talked to every day, and who listened to my problems and rejoiced in my successes.

 

I will miss her.

 

My daily routine once again took a turn in a new direction. I spent time on funeral preparations rather than writing to meet my publishing deadlines. I had many hours traveling. I spent time with my father. I spent it on what is important--family.

 

How do you stick with your goals when life happens?

 

I'm sure there are plenty of ways to maintain your goals, but I'll share what I've done in the hope it helps someone else who finds themselves in a similar situation:

 

1. I gave myself permission to stop chasing the old timeline.

 

2. I spent time with my family because someday we won't all be here and making memories is what life is about.

 

3. I sat down and looked at what I had in-hand that I could use to salvage some of my time-sensitive goals.

 

Think of it as you're searching your cupboard for supplies to make a meal and you have to get creative about it. Got the image? Yep. That was me figuring out how I could meet my publishing goals and get ready for an upcoming book festival. Lol.

 

4. Next, I gave up control over some things--I outsourced.

 

-I enlisted the talents of family and friends.

-I purchased software to help me create the visual items I needed for my projects.

-I hired an illustrator to create what I didn't have time/knowledge to make.

-I put some ideas on hold. Notice I didn't say I gave up on them. I just got realistic about how much time I had to accomplish everything.

 

5.  HERE'S MY BIGGY: I use every available moment I have free from childcare to maximize my productivity.

 

-Preschool started just in the nick of time. And, so far anyway, I don't have to stay in the classroom to deal with behavior issues from my grandson. I spent the past year and a half in the classroom pretty much acting as an occupational therapist because we didn't qualify for that kind of professional aid.

 

-I write a task list and prioritize to get the best value from the time I have each da.y

 

-I don't waste time driving back and forth to school. Once I'm at the preschool, I stay there. I take my laptop and find a good place to work.

 

-I also work after the little guy goes to bed, but I try not to exhaust myself by staying up too late. I also make sure I put family first.

 

These may not be major revelations for some people, but I do hope it helps at least one person regain their goals and their life.

 

What's left?

 

Just do it!

 

 

 

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