A Promise to Myself

Sundays are normally where I post my status update for A Round of Words in 80 Days, ROW80 for short. If you’re like me, setting short-term goals (e.g. “Outline The Great American Novel”) works better than setting long-term goals at the start of the year (e.g. “By this time next year, I will have written The Great American Novel”). Since it’s a long-term goal, you figure you can slack off and get back to it eventually, then you reach the end of the year and you haven’t done JACK! SQUAT! on it.

(Chris Farley, David Spade, and Christina Applegate in what I consider the funniest sketch ever done on Saturday Night Live)

I’ve found that making long-term goals and plans works best if I break them down into smaller, shorter-term tasks. It’s the old “divide and conquer” gambit, the way Caesar conquered Gaul, the way you eat an elephant (one bite at a time).

Last night, though, Michelle Shaeffer, the woman who co-sponsors the Ultimate Blog Challenge, sent something out that caught my eye. She said that she didn’t make any resolutions, set any goals, or choose a theme for this year. Instead, she made a promise to herself:

I will not be afraid.

Wow, huh? I think I’ll make myself the same promise. How about you?

5 thoughts on “A Promise to Myself

  1. I make loose yearly goals and tighter short-term specific goals. I like to have things to shoot for, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t accomplish everything on a certain time schedule. I have a full-time job, plus my proofreading job. My actual writing job sometimes depends on how many proofreading jobs I have, so I have to be flexible.

    I’m almost never afraid. I think that comes from having an easy-going personality.


    1. I’m learning it does no good to be scared of things, but I was raised by an inveterate worrywart, and I guess I picked that trait up.

      Life is too short to obsess about not getting everything done. Best to just get the big stuff and as much of the little stuff as possible.


      1. I think the way we’re raised makes a big difference. My mom’s motto was always “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. She was saying that long before that book ever came out!


    1. Trying to come up with a plan that far in advance is a recipe for failure. E.L. Doctorow once said that, when driving at night, you can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make it to your destination that way. It applies to writing and to planning.


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