A few years ago I spent my summer writing a novel. I had the idea in my head for awhile, so I decided to get serious about it. I outlined my chapters and set the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel. A few weeks after I started, I decided that I would publish the novel when it was finished and edited. Why not? It seemed like a great goal to aim for, the natural next step after writing a novel.
At the end of the summer, I had completed my novel. I had written 50,000 words. However, I considered the whole endeavor to be a failure. Why? Because I didn’t complete my goal of publishing the novel, and it seemed to me I had failed.
Why didn’t I meet my goal of publishing my novel? Because I didn’t care about publishing it. I didn’t make any real steps towards self-publishing it and I didn’t send it to any publishers, either.
I had only really set the goal of publishing my novel because it seemed like a cool idea that others had suggested. Beyond sharing it with friends and family, I wasn’t sure I really had aspirations to be an author. I wanted to move on to blogging and other non-fiction writing. I didn’t really care whether my novel was published, so I didn’t work towards that goal. But because I failed at this arbitrary goal that I had set, I couldn’t see that I had actually succeeded in the goal I had truly wanted to complete: writing the novel.
As I near the end of my month of daily blogging, I’ve realized that I’m not focusing on the outcome, I’m focusing on the process. I’m open to seeing all of the benefits that will come from this process, instead of focusing on just one outcome. And when I set the goal of ending this month with thirty-one blog posts, I chose it because I want to complete it for me, not for anyone else. This is what can make the difference when it comes to succeeding at your goals. Focus on the process, and make sure your goals are your own.