Goals vs. Resolutions

Well, I knew this day was coming. The day when I, for the first time, did not get in my daily writing practice. It happened yesterday. After going to church in the morning, we ate lunch and then spent the best afternoon just hanging out as a family. The little boys took naps… Rusty and I laid on our bed for a long time just talking and cuddling… then Rusty and Alex played Star Wars on the Xbox. For dinner, we built a fire in the fireplace and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. And after putting the kids to bed, we decided a movie was in order. Josh and Julie started Rusty on a collection of all the James Bond movies for Christmas this year. So far, we have all the Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig movies. So we started at the beginning with Dr. No.

And by the time it was over, it was late and I was tired and the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write.

I knew the day was coming, but now that it has come and gone, the question is how I am going to respond. I am a perfectionist, which means that when I don’t do something perfectly, I have a tendency to beat myself up over it. Do I tell myself I’m a miserable failure and just give up on the whole project? Or, do I give myself permission to miss a day now and then and take the attitude that tomorrow is another day and I can start afresh?

I think, because I made it a goal to write a little bit every day this year, it is easier for me to take the second approach. This is the difference between goals and resolutions. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. You fail at a New Year’s resolution the first day you don’t keep it. And then you just want to give up entirely. And who needs more feelings of failure and guilt? I have enough of those just as a mom, thanks very much. But a goal gives you something to strive towards. So what if you mess up one day? The goal is still there. Pick yourself up and keep going.

This is what I’m telling myself. 26 days of daily writing… 1 missed day. Pretty good track record so far, nothing to be ashamed of. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it,” as one of my favorite literary characters, Anne Shirley, once said.

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