Tag Archive: Month


Goal-Setting

Up until I passed my 100th post, every time I posted, there would be a little line telling me how many posts I had and giving me a small goal to reach, but after I passed 100, it stopped giving me goals to reach and then rewarding me when I reached them. I found this very annoying until it stopped. Now I am disappointed that I don’t have a goal to work toward.

I’m not really one for making goals because I don’t really care about them and I find them ridiculous. I know people that need to have goals to accomplish or else they don’t feel like they’re doing anything productive, whereas I feel productive when I do anything at all. I know that it’s important to set goals so that they motivate you to reach them, but I don’t feel like we should decide what the line is that we can reach to feel good about ourselves. Life seems like it would be so much more than just a bazillion different little lines or marks that we need to pass, like the mile markers on roads.

Our family went on a trip to California last summer. We drove all the way from Utah. I’m not sure how many miles that is, but it took us ten hours(ish) to get there. The entire time we were driving, I was either sleeping or watching the mile markers. Mile markers fascinate me, for some reason, especially the ones that we saw on our trip, seeing as the little markers look different depending on what state you’re in. In California, the mile markers didn’t just have the number of the mile you were at, they had a whole bunch of things on the sign (also, they were white with black writing instead of green with white writing, like they are in Utah). It took me a week of staring at them with hypnotic fascination to figure out that they stated the mile, the highway/name of the road, and the county that you were driving in.

The point is that my father kept giving us the number of miles to where we were going, seeing as he had no idea how long it would take us to get there, so I kept staring at the signs, keeping track of how many miles we had gone so that I would know when we would arrive. This probably kept me from seeing a lot of things on our trip. I’m sure there were cool things to see, but I missed them because I was staring at the same part of the side of the road, waiting for the next mile marker. I do this whenever we drive anywhere. I like knowing how many miles we’ve gone. This is where I tie the story in with what I was talking about:

Little goals can sometimes be like mile markers. If we keep obsessing over them, we’re going to miss some stuff. Now that I think about it, little goals are also like pennies. Maybe they are more like pennies than mile markers. When I walk down the hallway at school, I keep my eyes glued to the ground, number one, so that I don’t fall over, and number two, so that if I see any stray coins, I can snatch them up. It’s rewarding (sort of), but if I actually payed (is it payed or paid? I’m never sure…) attention to what was going on around me, I may get to see people and wave at them or talk to them or something else.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have goals, I’m just saying that people shouldn’t obsess about goals. They also shouldn’t be so obsessive about productivity. You can contribute to people’s lives even if you aren’t being productive.

For example, during the month of November (and occasionally during the months of June and August), I write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I set specific goals (big and small) and then I make a detailed plan of everything I do to make sure that I finish the novel in the time I am allotted and to make sure that my story-line isn’t just one big plot hole. Fortunately, after November is over, I have written a novel that I’m usually quite proud of (at least for a while until I realize how horrible it is). Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on my school work or I have neglected some other aspect of my life (There aren’t really all that many aspects in my life, but whatever).

It’s nice to feel like I’m being productive and writing a novel is SUPER fun, but afterwards I’m glad I’m not in the middle of NaNoWriMo because it’s stressful and I am particularly prone to stress. People are always wondering why their lives are so stressful, but it’s really not all that hard to figure out. People think that getting organized will help with the stress (and it may very well do that), but a better way to decrease stress is to stop doing so much stuff. Stop setting such horrific goals, stop worrying so much about how far you’ve come and start enjoying where you’re going.

Unless, of course, you don’t like where you’re going, then that’s going to be stressful, so just make sure you’re going someplace nice… like a castle… or a forest. Forests are nice.

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THIS is the prologue for the novel I’m writing for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I’ll be writing the second half of the novel in August.

On the bank of a river, on a large stone, the silhouette of a man sits with a small pipe pressed against his lips. The sounds of the river, flowing past, dampen the pure notes that emanate from the little, wooden pipe, making them little more than a whisper.
The sun is sinking below the high mountains behind the man. He ignores the heartbreaking beauty that seeps out from the sun, through the trees, and is filling the sky. His eyes are closed.
A single sparrow floats down from the branch of a tree near the rock and lands on the ground at the boots of the man. The man’s eyes open. The music stops. The man smiles at the sparrow. He begins to play again, watching as the small bird hops up and down on the pebbly ground.
Out of the bushes behind the rock, a cat leaps silently, startling the sparrow into flight. The man lowers his pipe and tucks it into a cloth case that hangs from his shoulder like a sash. The cat jumps again, this time into the man’s lap. The man strokes the cat’s fur as it turns in circles and lays down.
“Ah, Wolfgang, at last.” The man says, leaning over to put his head nearer to the cat. The cat meows once and then begins licking its paws. The man looks around at the small overgrown path that leads away from the bank of the river. “A visitor?”
Moments later, a shape appears out of the trees and makes its way along the path. The figure, another man, stops in front of the man on the rock, who raises his eyebrows at the new arrival and then turns back to stare out at the river. He continues to stroke the cat’s fur.
“John.” The first man greets. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“There has been another call.” John answers in a low, slightly rough voice.
“Another? So many lately…”
“Yes.”
“And what is so special about this call? Can another not…”
“No.” John interrupts. “This case is… rather advanced.”
“Of course it would be.”
“We need the best.”
“And I am the best.”
“Yes.” The man sitting on the rock sighs and looks back up at John.
“Where am I off to this time?”
“A small town by the name of Hamelin.”