Define your goals

Saturday, January 06, 2018
Guess which one of these women I can relate to?

A) The woman who learned to speed write and complete a novel in 10 months while raising twins.

B) A single mom I worked with who told me one morning in the coffee room that because she was wearing a bra, clean clothes and shoes that matched, she considered herself the winner of the day!

The answer is B.

It's not that I've never accomplished a goal. I have. But in the long run, I have many more days like my former colleague than I do the Wonder Woman in the Example A. And that's OK. For Wonder Woman, she set a goal and accomplished it. My colleague did the same. They are both winners, but their definitions of the word "winning" vary greatly.

I'm happy for Wonder Woman, but I will never be her. Her goal won't work for me, just like my goal of finding the best burger in town probably won't work for her (this is really a goal of mine). We have different strengths and weaknesses. I couldn't have written a book in 10 months when my (twin-free) household included two small children. But I finished graduate school while pregnant with my oldest. I also know I couldn't have done it after having a baby like my friend Michelle did. We each determined our own best path.

There are many ways to fail, and trust me, I've tried a lot of them. By making our goals too difficult, we set ourselves up for failure. By comparing ourselves to others, we fail, and by letting others dictate the parameters of our success, we fail.

But there are also many ways to succeed. For me, it was listening to that inner voice that told me what I was doing right. We each get to set the bar as high or low as necessary, and define the goal. We can even change our goals when they no longer work for us.

Knowing yourself is the key, because success comes from within. For some of us, it's speed-writing a book in 10 months. And for others, it's just getting out of bed each day and heading off to work wearing a bra, clean clothes and matching shoes. So define your own success, and go for it!

Mary Horner's story Shirley and the Apricot Tree was recently published in Kansas City Voices. She has written for numerous publications and teaches communications at St. Louis and St. Charles Community Colleges, and earned the Writing Certificate from UM-St. Louis.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Your post had me nodding (and smiling). I DO manage to leave every morning with a bra on (the dragging appendages, if I didn't have one on, would warn me of my forgetfulness) but I DID go to work once with mismatched shoes (and it wasn't "tacky day" at school, either.

I'm glad we all have our own measuring sticks...

Angela Mackintosh said...

Mary ~ I have a similar goal: finding the best vegan burger. I've tried them all. I finally found it after years of searching! It's "The Impossible Burger" and scientists spent ten years perfecting it. It tastes exactly like beef but without all the emissions etc. They have them at a couple restaurants by me, and one Fatburger carries them. As a burger connoisseur, if you get a chance to try one, I think you'll be amazed:

I agree with you about goals, and I'm still trying to figure out how to set them realistically. It seems I keep lowering the bar each year in hopes that I'll finish something. LOL

Mary Horner said...

Sioux, I think we all have our good and bad days! You r doing something right, though, because you keep killing it on your blog posts.

Mary Horner said...

Angela, I also love a good vegan burger and will definitely check this out! And I’ve become more realistic as time passes, as well, but I’m ok with that!

Pat Wahler said...

My goals vary from day to day (sometimes minute to minute), reflecting what is consuming my mind at any particular moment.

Mary Horner said...

Mine vary a lot, too, Pat. Sometimes I am more ambitious than others. I just heard someone on NPR today talk about the fact that we always think we will have more time in the future, which is probably not true. I thought that was very eye-opening, and it may force me to look at my goals more realistically.

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