Friday, November 15, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: Just Two Goals

"Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts" (Coleman Cox). Ha-ha. I read this today and had to laugh. It helps that the woodpecker has a stout beak for doing the job. However, Cox makes a good point. When do we apply our smarts (or that of others) when trying to achieve a goal?

All of us are self taught to some degree and some of us are more brilliant than others. I am hardly the latter! For the vast majority of us, there is a high learning curve. There are plenty of 'self-help' or 'how-to' books available for learning how to achieve more, be more, and do more. Goodness. An entire profession has been devoted by some on instructing in the various fields: writing, art, psychology, health, and religion, to name a few. I have read my share.

A huge motivator for me in the past in pursuing such instruction has always been a basic unhappiness or an unmet need...... I read avidly about the various faiths (mostly Christian), until God finally shook some sense into me and I saw how 'unworthy' and then (surprise) 'worthy' I was as a child of God. I pushed to finish a college degree rather late in life, alongside my adult daughter and son. After graduation, I took on two 'work for hire' projects for two publishers (I also had an editing job) and worked so hard the back of my neck actually swelled. I can be stubborn and persistent sometimes. 

Funny thing though is now that I am older, I am no longer as driven, which is a real handicap when you are trying to finish a novel. Is it laziness? A bad habit? Have I decided the original goal is not worth the effort? Perhaps the goal has evolved into something new, I have reasoned. For instance, I love blogging about family and things unrelated to the writing profession. I love letting a friend share her experience as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. I love that I now exercise regularly. (Health issues forced me to take exercise seriously and now I am ten pounds lighter). But truth be told, and here's the bottom line....I still want to finish the book!! So, in the left hand column of this blog I still record my (pitifully small) writing output and exercise (so proud of that).

Last but not least, my plate is rather full right now, but in a good, happy way. Vince and I have been exploring retirement options and the possibility of a move, and you can just imagine the reading material available on the topic. Next year is the year! We keep asking, where do we really want to live? Near our out-of-state children? Near our aging family? For that matter, staying here is a viable option, too. These are serious considerations that will determine so much of what happens to us in the future. We have spent hours discussing our options, a debate that will no doubt continue into 2014.

Like the woodpecker, I (we) will keep pecking away at the stated goals: finish the novel and decide where to live in retirement. When I look at it that way, it is really just two goals to accomplish. So today, I am celebrating the lesson of the woodpecker, who knows (in a small way) how to get the job done, one peck at a time!

How do you handle goals? Has your experience been similar?


  1. This is such a neat post. Our priorities change as we grow older. We're still driven, just in different ways. We still learn, but we approach it differently. We still dream, sometimes even in color.

  2. Super post! I can generally handle only two goals at a time as well, not counting exercise or cleaning or reading or eating-type goals--that's just life. I work on my writing goal during the daytime, and a different goal during the evening. The second goal sometimes takes a few days to complete, or a week, two weeks, a month . . . but when it's done, it gets pushed off the plate, so to speak, and then I work on a new goal, one of a half dozen that are waiting in the wings. One recent secondary goal was to read {15 or so} books on diabetes/gluten intolerance. Along with that, I scanned a couple hundred recipes from gluten-free, Paleo, diabetic cookbooks, or in the case of e-cookbooks, I was able to simply snip them out and print them in a Word file. I now have my own personalized cookbook.

    Loved your post.

  3. It's not always easy to keep the goals we set when there are so many life events that sometimes get in the way. I guess we just have to keep going at them. Like the woodpecker. :)

  4. one peck at a time sounds perfect

  5. Very true we can only peck away at our goals a bit at a time!

  6. I like your analogy to the woodpecker. I wonder if his head ever hurts from pecking so much? ;0)

  7. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read. We all have dreams and goals and sometimes an encouraging word is all we need to keep moving forward. I wish you well in your own endeavors!


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