Impatiently Plodding Forward

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Impatiently Plodding Forward

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

When I run a 5k the first mile is always easy. The excitement of the start, the mass of people around me, the promise of what I hope will be a good race, propels me forward. All I have to do is control the pace that first mile, so I have enough energy to finish strong.

Somewhere between miles one and two, things get bad. Body parts start to hurt and my ego’s like, “dude, why don’t you pull over, grab a latte, and stop this nonsense.” I have to work hard just to keep my body moving.

Around mile two, what I’ve dubbed my crazy gene takes control. At this point, it would take a pack of rabid ninjas to get me to quit running. Pain, discomfort, and all feelings of stopping rapidly recede as I train my focus on dragging myself across the finish line, no matter what.

Since starting this goal setting thing, I know the key to making it work is keeping my ego in check. Even though I’ve kept a goal list to keep myself on track, I decided a two month review to get a big picture overview of my progress was in order. Chris Guillebeau, does an annual review where he asks himself two questions:

          What went well this year?
          What did not go well this year?

I really like Chris’ questions, so using them here goes….

What has gone well so far this year?

Generating income is going well. I have a J-O-B working with people I really like and respect. I show up five days a week, six hours a day, and two times monthly they deposit money in my checking account. This makes me happy.

Paying off debt and building our savings back up is also going well. Even with the holidays, a costly repair to the van, and some significant pet expenses, we’ve been able to whittle down some of those pesky bills.

I went on a week long silent retreat. It was a much needed time of rest and reflection.

While strength training is kicking my butt, it is going well. I’ve stuck to a schedule of two work outs per week.

I made spending time with family and friends a priority and have spent focused time with my spouse, kids, and close friends. When someone asks for my attention, I do my best to give it.

Instead of going it alone, I’ve reached out to others for advice and help. It’s making a big difference.

What is not going well so far this year?

Sleep is not going well. I got horribly off schedule over the holidays and am still struggling to get enough rest each night. The net of this is that I’m tired during the day which of course effects everything else I’m doing.

Writing is not going well. Yes, I’ve continued to post weekly essays on my website, but very little other writing is getting done.

In spite of my overall fitness efforts, I’m not making progress as quickly as I want and this disappoints me.

Several side projects I’m working on are not progressing. My J-O-B and lack of sleep are hindering my ability to focus and get things done in my limited free time. Conflicting schedules makes it difficult to meet with people. This frustrates me to no end.

Self-care is not going well. I’m tired. I’m busy. Taking care of myself often gets shifted to the back burner.

For the next two months…

I’m remaining focused on generating income, paying bills, and socking away more savings.

I plan to continue to work with this wonky sleep issue. I’ve started drinking chamomile tea at night and am using a Blue-Lite in the morning in the hopes that this will help. In the meantime, I will be easy with myself.

I’m going to continue to write and post weekly on this site but will put other writing projects on hold for the short term.

I’m adding one weekly strength training session, three weekly stretching sessions, and increasing my daily cardio.

I’m making work on my “side” projects a priority and will focus my extra time and attention on them.

I’m choosing one self-care/stress relief routine from my tool-box and am implementing it daily.

Moving Forward

In the past, I would set goals for myself. Sadly, after a couple of weeks my goals would get shuffled around and lost in the busyness of day to day living. I’m trying to avoid that this time by talking to my accountability partner, writing down and tracking what I’m doing, reflecting on what has happened, and retooling as needed.

I’m impatient. I often feel like I’m not making any progress. Since asking myself these questions, I can see the tiny gains I’ve made and feel a teeny bit better. I just have to push through this middle part and make it to mile two and hope that the crazy gene kicks in before the ninjas show up. Then I’ll be ok to the finish.

What goals are you working on this year and what strategies do you use to stay on track? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comments below. If you’re feeling shy you know you can, pm me.


  1. You’ve got a great list of what has gone well this year! You should pat yourself on the back and feel good about those accomplishments! I’m rooting for you in all your goals. 🙂

    • This is the point where I’ve become diverted in the past. I’m holding myself to my commitment and it’s not easy. I think once I start to see some positive results it’ll get easier.

  2. Denise, I’m struggling to finish things (anything?), too, yet feeling some small semblance of victory whenever I make a few steps forward, immeasurable as they may “seem.” (Not sure if it’s my timing or not the right time, but whatever it is, I empathize with your frustration.) However…

    Good heavens, girl! You’re working full time, taking care of people (and pets), weight training, writing, dealing with breakdowns (I meant the vehicle…) and still putting out inspiring blog posts. Please accept my sincere and hearty pat on the back. And a hug or two or three!

    • I’m learning that I need to start to acknowledge and revel in those small victories. It’s hard, but necessary (or so I’m told). So, thanks for the “sincere and hearty pat on the back.” I needed that.

      Timing? Right time? I wonder about that too. I’ve decided (at least for this year) I’m pointing myself in a direction and staying the course (with blinders off just in case I need to reset said course). I’m hoping that if I put in the effort that the results will come and trying to remind myself that even if I only achieve a fraction of what I set my mind to, that fraction of success is still better than in I didn’t do anything at all.

  3. I love the Confucius quote at the opening. How true. It’s like that quote about insanity is doing the same thing and getting the same results. But yes, reveling in those small victories might help you see the bigger picture. You ARE doing a lot and you ARE succeeding…though it may not look exactly as you wish at this minute. Our wants, dreams and desires are our fuel so I know you’ll be soaring.

    • Thanks for the kind words. I just have to keep reminding myself. The insanity quote was a game changer for me. Confucius may save me.

  4. I love this post and all that you write, Denise. For me, writing down goals and tracking my success has always been a recipe for disaster, one more reason to berate myself for not living up to the ridiculously high expectations I constructed for myself. Oh my, what a tortuous life that was. Now, I measure my success in what I did NOT do today. I know that sounds counter intuitive but I actually got healthier when I stopped working so hard at, well, just about everything. My goals now are pretty simple: Eat, Play, Sleep.

    Thank you for writing these posts. From the outside looking in, your writing is going very well, indeed.

    • Thank you for the compliment. I’m with you and it doesn’t sound counter intuitive at all, Sue Ann. I’m learning what I let go of is as important as what I hold on to. Eat, play, sleep…love it. I guess at this point mine are love, be fit, and write. It’s always a process.

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