Tag Archives: goal setting

G: Goals – Motivational Quotes A-Z Challenge

Today, our journey continues through an alphabet soup of motivational quotes especially geared towards writers and creatives working on a big project.

Of course, all of us know that goal setting is important. Indeed, many of us also know that goal setting needs to be SMART:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable 
  3. Achievable 
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-based 

Developing SMART goals is all about removing that fantastic dream-like quality from what you want to get done, and creating an actionable plan for results.

For many creatives, no doubt terms like goal setting and SMART goals sounds way too business-like and we’d prefer to go with the flow.

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can

spend your life running up and down the field and

never score.

– Bill Copeland

However, for me there comes a point where your credibility is at stake. Not just when it comes to other people, but also with yourself. If you’re not even striving towards your life’s goal, what are you waiting for? Life is short. Not only that, it can be shorter than you thought. After all, not everyone receives their full entitlement of four score and ten. Not that I want to be morbid, but I do live under the shadow of a nasty auto-immune disease and I’ve already slipped through the net a few times. That has made me think, but it hasn’t always led to action!

The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is

too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach

it.

– Michelangelo

However, I don’t believe that goals need to be rigid and stuck in the ground like football posts. They can and do change, and it’s important to be responsive. Intuitive.

To be perfectly honest, this is probably something I need to put some more time and focus into. I have worked in small business and been to quite a few seminars and one of the big catch phrases for small business owners is about spending time on the business as well as in the business.

As writers, writing is our business. The same goes for artists, photographers etc. However, we still need to work on our business which includes things like goal setting, planning, keeping our desks and computer files sorted and backed-up. Having the best goals in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have the wherewithal to carry them out and see them through to the end.

Otherwise, they’re just dreams!

Well, so far I’m somewhat keeping up with the annual Blogging A-Z April Challenge again this year and am finding there’s much I need to action from these posts.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

A-Z Challenge…A for Adventure.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller

Just to remind you, my theme for this year’s A-Z April Blogging Challenge is motivational quotes. I am currently hunkered down working away on a collection of biographical short stories and was concerned that the challenge would be a distraction. Howe3ver, I’ve changed my mind and thought that coming up with motivational quotes every day could really boost my efforts and keep me going. After all, I’ve only just started writing up the stories and it’s going to get harder down the track. Of course, the going is always good at the start and it’s fine tuning the stuff at the end where things get really hard. Well, I think it’s how it goes. That’s how it’s been for me in the past. This is why I’ve also decided to go with short stories, even though many of these stories could be a book in their own right. They just didn’t quite seem to have enough oomph to make it to 80,000 words, although perhaps they’ll follow down the track. At this point, I just need to get a book I can be proud and has commercial potential done and dusted. I’m not investing all this time anbd effort into this for no reason. There’s a lot riding on it. I am the gambler who has stacked all their chips on one number and the wheel is spinning.

I guess that’s why I this quote by Helen Keller came to mind and I had to Google to remind myself who wrote it. Naturally, Helen Keller was a great choice because they other word I was considering was ADVERSITY and she covers both.

In case you’re not familiar with Helen Keller’s story, here’s a brief bio:

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. In 1882, she was stricken by an illness that left her blind and deaf. Beginning in 1887, Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate, and Keller went on to college, graduating in 1904.

She’s an incredibly encouraging woman and an inspiration to all.

Touching on the featured image, that’s our dearly loved and departed dog Bilbo looking at the “cliffs”, which had developed on our beach after a storm. He’s certainly looking rather circumspect, and not at all likely to jump in for a swim (his idea of a daring adventure). Indeed, most of the time, Bilbo didn’t like getting his paws wet let alone going swimming. His paws were rather precious. That was until his beloved tennis ball started drifting away, in which case, his heart was seriously torn.

Do you have any adventures planned? What is your A for the A-Z Challenge? I’d love to hear from you!

Best wishes,

Rowena

A Magical New Year!

Being the New Year, I’ll need to reintroduce myself now that I’ve lost weight, finally become chocolate and sugar-free and have been exercising with such focused determination that I can now do the four minute mile straight up a vertical hill.

Of course, I’m doing all this while juggling husband, kids, dogs, home renovations and simply pressing the almighty “Write” button on my laptop and hey presto, the long awaited Book Project is not only finished, it’s been published. I’m now touring the globe on my book tour.

Darlings, this isn’t just your average ordinary book tour. Not free appearances at suburban libraries where you’ve got to be thankful that they’ve stocked your book so your audience can borrow it for free.

No, we’re talking Prime Time TV, the glossies,  newspapers and of course, there’s a movie in the pipeline.

All this magically happened when the clock struck midnight and a little bird poked it’s head out through the door and said: “cuckoo!”

Reality check!

Rather…

cinderella 2

Cinderella woke up with a nasty bang on the head. Still had all her age-old bad habits intact. No weight loss. No new found fitness. Indeed, the evidence was telling. There was even a half-eaten box of chocolates by her side, which she promptly scoffed with a burp.

AND…there definitely was no a magic wand!

Just her self.

Billy Field – Bad Habits

When I get the urge
I just got to splurge
I’m a slave to all my desires
Well I’m in a mess
Because I can’t repress all of these
Bad habits

 

These bad habits are the downside of persistence!

After all, Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So, in 2016 I’m committed to change.

Yet, while identifying where you are and where you’d like to be is a good start, more importantly you need to work out HOW you’re going to get from A to B. What is it going to take? I’m talking about the nitty gritty.

No more thinking, writing, talking, philosophising about it.

Just do it!

Problem – Solution.

So, “running on time” starts looking something like:

  1. Buy a new watch.
  2. Use an alarm.
  3. Use a diary/calendar.
  4. Make lunch the night before

Unfortunately, if your bad habits are anything like mine, you’ll have quite a lot of work to do. Feeling overwhelmed, it’s all too easy to give up before you even get started.

So, instead of trying to build Rome in a day, choose one thing and get moving. Even if you only move a a few degrees away from where you started, things have changed. You’re heading in a different direction.

Our New Year’s project involves renovating our son’s bedroom. He’s about to start high school, which is a time where you particularly want them to feel comfortable to home and for their room to become some kind of oasis. He’ll be studying out in the office or kitchen most likely but he’ll still need to make space for his books etc. We also want to his room to be his happy place where he can unwind and process stuff.

DSC_9124.JPG

Our Boy Scout Leaving home in FULL uniform at 4.30 this morning.

This morning, he left for the Scout Jamboree and will be gone for 12 days. We ran the colour scheme by him beforehand and have cleared his room out, sugar-soaped the walls and plastered a few nasty spots and will be undercoating tomorrow. He’ll have light blue walls, white trim and door a couple of red shelves. It will be a vast improvement.

I am hoping that being better organised and having a space which he’ll love and take pride in, will be good for his self-esteem. Help him feel loved. We are certainly working hard enough. It’s a lot of hard work and we don’t have a TV crew helping us out. Of course, we could ask for some help but you can’t fit a lot of people in the room either. We’d easily end up painting each other and tripping over the dogs all at once.

Meanwhile, the dogs are looking rather put out. We’ve moved most of Mister’s things into the lounge room and their space has shrunk dramatically. I think Bilbo is seriously thinking of taking over Mister’s room. Thinks it’s a wonderful kennel with its garden views…a great vantage point for keeping an eye out for the postman, garbage truck, anyone on a bike and anyone who dares walk their dog past our house. As you could appreciate, he has a long list of things which he considers “intruders”.

I am still putting together my goals and strategies for 2016. With both kids starting at different new schools, once they get settled, I’ll have a better idea of where I’m placed. It’s an important year for them and I’m more than happy to work around them. That said, they’re expected to work. They have been having quite an easy run but you’ve got to start growing up, taking responsibility and being part of the team some time.

Although getting the kids more organised isn’t directly working on my own goals, it will make a phenomenal difference if I’m not chasing their missing tails!

Shock horror! I might even manage to get from A to B.

Oh what a feeling!

How is the New Year going in your household?

Well, I hope. It doesn’t all have to be about making plans either. Lounging beside the pool drinking cocktails should never be scoffed at!

Love & Best Wishes!

xx Rowena

PS: If you’d like to see the Sydney Fireworks, click here:

Sydney Fireworks: A Prelude to Midnight: How we spent NYE:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/sydney-fireworks-a-prelude-to-midnight/

Sydney’s Magnificent Midnight Fireworks:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/happy-new-year-sydney/

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re also generally trying to downsize a bit and create some space for future growth. Otherwise, we’re all just going to end up stunted. It’s like trying to grow and expand inside a sardine tin. It’s just not going to happen.

 

 

The Secrets of Staying on Course

When my parents bought this place, the previous owners left behind a couple of kayaks as well as a small sailboat known as a Laser. We were really stoked because Geoff has kayaked since high school and I’ve also enjoyed kayaking but never had access to one. Back in the day, Geoff was quite the “Solo Man” traversing those very same rapids at Cora Linn near Launceston, Tasmania where the ad was filmed back in 1986. He’s also played competitive canoe polo.

These kayaks have not only given Geoff the chance to get back out on the water but Mister goes out there as well…either with us or by himself.  The bay is very tidal and he can stand up out there even at high tide and at low tide the place resembles some kind of moonscape covered in crab holes and frequently beats to the sound of thousands upon thousands of marching soldier crabs. It’s a great place for him to just get out there and he can go wherever he likes in relative safety and have a freedom and independence we don’t want him having on the road quite yet. Independence which isn’t going to cost him his life.

This kayaking trip was about having some one-on-one time with Mister. I’d spent last Tuesday with Miss. Thursday was chemo and by Friday, I’d wanted to spend some time with him. Going out in the kayak is a great way of spending time together away from all the distractions of the house and we’re in our own little bubble paddling along together. That said, I must admit that I was a little circumspect about going kayaking. It was the morning after chemo and even though I was dosed up on prednisone and feeling pretty good, I still had to be sure we could get back. Even when you’re out there in shallow water, you still need to make sure that your kayak doesn’t become a beached whale and you can still get it home. But Mister is pretty good on the kayak and I thought we’d be right. Besides, Geoff was also home from work on holidays if we needed a Plan B.

We were off to the mangroves, which is a reasonable paddle away. While I was enjoying something of an Australian Huckleberry Finn experience with my boy, his gaze was fixed under the water looking for his big, elusive fish…the Mighty Mullet. He had his net in the back and he was prepared. These days I’m not too sure about catching fish with a hook but so far Mister hasn’t caught anything and I would at least like him to catch one fish. It doesn’t need to be a whopper but it does need to be legal.

As much as I love kayaking, exploring all the nooks and crannies  and getting out there on the water, this trip was so much more than that. It was about being with my son and getting to know him and exploring the channels of his heart, mind and soul and for him to get to know me as well. He was the captain perched at the back of the kayak steering, providing me with paddling advice and being the expert. He was chatting away to me about all sorts (especially the mullet) and it was just the two of us together in our own space without all the usual distractions of home. It was just the two of us out there “in our bubble” on the water. his felt incredibly peaceful and comfortable…lovely!

We were paddling along with the Careel Bay Marina in the distance as our goal. It didn’t take long for me to realise that keeping on track required constant vigilance and that we were constantly correcting our strokes to stay on course. This involved doing a few more strokes on either side. We are just novice kayakers. We didn’t have any grand manoeuvres or techniques. We had to keep our eyes on the bow and on our destination to stay on track. I thought about how easy it would be to drift right off course and how much extra effort is then required to get back on track. It is so much easier to gently correct your position as you go.

I mentioned these navigational observations to Geoff back at home. It soon became apparent that staying on track involves technique as well as focus.

Geoff quickly taught me a couple of strokes:

Sweep Stroke: this is a wide paddle stroke where the kayak turns quite a lot.

Power stroke: This is down the side of the kayak with a more vertical paddle. The kayak doesn’t turn as much but you go further with each stroke.

Support Stroke: If you are starting to fall over, you use the support stroke to regain your balance. You slap the paddle blade flat on the water as hard as you can as though you are killing a spider or a snake. Geoff also offered a word of warning regarding the support stroke: to get the paddle out of the water, you must you must twist the paddle so the blade is vertical and then lift. If you leave it flat and try to lift it, the paddle won’t come out of the water but you’ll fall into the water to join it.

Geoff also enlightened me about the J-stroke which is a complicated canoeing manoeuvre designed to enable you to paddle on one side of the canoe. However, I decided to apply the KISS principle and keep it simple stupid. I figured that I had enough to learn with those 3 strokes without trying to canoe in a kayak.

So what are the life lessons of a Solo Man?

Well, first step, you need a destination. This is where I’m going. No detours. No distractions. No alternatives. This is it.

Plan your journey. What are the pitfalls? What’s the easiest, most direct route?

Then it takes commitment. How are you going to stay on track? Again using the analogy of the kayak, it is the small and little things which add up and ultimately make a difference and get you where you want to go. These also take much less effort than a big, strident gesture. It is definitely much easier to correct your strokes as you go than it is to recover from a major detour…getting lost!

I must confess that I’m very good at detours which from a creative perspective are called taking “the road less travelled”. I am still not entirely convinced that being 100% focused on a single goal or destination is such a good thing. That life is as much about the journey as the destination or as John Lennon put it “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. I have found some truly amazing places on these detours such as taking up the violin and we do after all need to be flexible and be open to a bit of divine serendipitous influence. After all, how can God guide and enlighten our path if we don’t let him in.

There definitely needs to be some space between the lines and yet somehow we need to be focused enough.

I guess that’s where balance comes in and that all important support stroke. Making sure we don’t get so extreme that the kayak topples over and we fall out. It’s obviously much harder to recover from a fall.

Personally, I use a weekly check list where I list all these things and every day I need to tick off the tasks. All these little steps add up contributing towards my goals.

This is my list:

  1. Read Bible
  2. Practice Violin
  3. Practice piano
  4. Take calcium drink
  5. Take olive leaf extract
  6. Piece of fruit
  7. Pray
  8. Exercise

These are all those little good intentions which are so easy to forget with the busyness of daily life. I want them to shift from the intentions into actions and help me on my way. I have really noticed how much my violin playing improves when I do my daily 30-60 minutes of practice. These small sessions added up and rewarded me with an A in my Preliminary Exam. It wasn’t a fluke or some raw unnurtured talent. It was perseverance, commitment, passion and consistent hard work. Never giving up even though it was very, very tempting especially with the pneumonia. I didn’t have an easy run at all and yet I succeeded. Not because I’m some amazing superhuman. No. I simply stuck at it day after day in these small little ways and kept going. I kept my eyes firmly focused on my destination and didn’t give up.

You can do it too!

What would you like to change about your life and when are you going to get started?

Geoff and I are now racing against the tide to get out in the kayak.

Come on! Last one in is a rotten egg.

xx Rowena