A Guiding Focus

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed my resolutions post and then the subsequent update posts I publish every Sunday. I feared that this repetition and constant harping over my personal goals would become boring or annoying to my readers (and there’s still plenty of time for that to be the case), but I’ve actually been really surprised by the amount of responses I’ve gotten in regards to these posts. Overwhelmingly, the response has been coming from a place of concern.

You’re doing too much. Try not to burnout. Cut back. Take care of yourself. 

I admit, those concerns are not unfounded. I have a lot I want to accomplish. I’m really involved in many different jobs, hobbies and interests. I have a hard time saying no, which makes those commitments increase even further. Of course, I always combat such concerns with gratitude while also brushing them off, telling people I know my limits and what I can handle. And there is truth to that. I have always been super involved (perhaps even over-involved) and I function best juggling half a dozen things at once while multitasking, with giant To-Do lists in tow.

Yet, at the same time, with so many different people expressing concern, it forced me to take a step back and ask if I truly am attempting to do too much. That resulted in reflection that didn’t really provide any more answers than it did headaches while repeating pros, cons and questions in circles.

I have five main goals I’m focusing on: blogging, fitness, financial, reading and writing. All of these aspects are very important in my life. All of them are areas I would really like to improve upon and grow within. So when people suggest cutting something out, my immediate instinct is to combat them. I don’t want to give up any of these things, especially because they are all aspects of my life that I want to be important aspects of my life for a long time. I never want to give up writing. I don’t want to reach a goal weight and then suddenly never run a mile again. The unique thing about all of these focuses and the goals surrounding them this year is that, while there is an ultimate goal I want to achieve within each, none of them have a deadline. None of them are meant to. Instead, they are lifestyle changes.

So giving them up isn’t an option. Yet constantly failing to meet my goals on top of balancing everything else in life is also not exactly ideal. Nor is sacrificing self-care. The only thing I have been able to come up with is re-envisioning how I see my goals in relation to balance and focus.

Let’s see if I can make this make sense.

Last week, I didn’t meet most of my goals, but I did meet my fitness goal of working out four times a week. And though I wasn’t shy about admitting what I didn’t do last week, to me, I felt totally accomplished. I felt like it was such a successful week, even though I only wrote once, hardly read any, completely fell off of the blogging bandwagon and am still financially incompetent. And it was that sense of accomplishment despite being surrounding by shortcomings that made me realize a potentially healthier approach to having so many goals I want to work on at once without being forced to give any of those goals up, all while avoiding burnout and giving up entirely.

I’ll always want to work on the five areas aforementioned. They’re lifestyle changes, as I said. Yet I do agree with my sweet friends and readers that trying to meet every goal that I set every single week is a bit overwhelming and is easily a recipe for burnout and giving up entirely due to always falling short.

So, I’ve come up with a plan.

I’m still going to write a goal post every Sunday. I’m still going to write out goals for each category. But instead of being stressed out and overwhelmed that I’m not accomplishing everything that I want to every single day, I’m going to try and focus on a different aspect each week. Last week, I obviously focused on fitness. And through that focus, I was able to achieve it. This week, I can already tell (based on the 200 pages I’ve read in the past two days and the less than 100 pages I have left) that reading is certainly what I’m focusing on, without “deciding” to focus on either category either week. So it’s not going to be a thing where I’m like, “This week, I’m going to focus on X.” Instead, it’s going to be organic, just like these past two weeks have been. Life is unpredictable. So are emotions. And though I love a rigid routine, in order to stay sane, I need some flexibility. I need permission to fail, just as I need a guiding focus on where I want to be.

So not a lot is changing as far as you can tell, dear readers. It’s mostly all what is going on inside my head and how I approach things mentally. Yes, this less-strict approach towards achieving my goals might make reaching each ultimate goal a bit slower or more difficult. But that’s okay, because what matters is that I reach those goals. A week, a month, a year, ten years from now. And, even more importantly, that I enjoy the journey along the way, instead of feeling like I’m in a permanent state of being a chicken with her head cut off, running around a massive To-Do list that never ends and just laughs at me as I stumble each week. I’m not sure if this change in mindset will work, but I’m certainly game to try. Thank you all for your support, your advice, your honest reactions and for your encouragement. You are the absolute best. ❤

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

3 responses to “A Guiding Focus

  • Adam

    Sounds like a good revision. I think one of the most crucial things to know is “If you can only achieve 1, what has priority?” And alternating may help invigorate other aspects. A week of less writing may build up the desire, and the ideas.
    Hopefully, with time, you can reach a point where you either feel comfortable accomplishing a little less, or find it easier to accomplish this much.

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