Many of my friends know that I love the beginning of each new month, for its promise and potential. In fact, I always start an entire new life on the first day of a month: a life in which I'll be frugal, fit, and astonishingly productive. I make specific goals for each month. As often as not, I fail to achieve them. But I generally come closer to attaining them than I would have if I hadn't made them a new-life priority.
This past month I shared my goals with one of my friends who is also a new-life-celebrator. I had five:
1) Writing and submitting a book proposal for a new chapter book series;
2) Revising and submitting a scholarly article on Ginger Pye and Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes;
3) Doing a good job as a mentor/adviser to several people;
4) Losing two pounds;
5) Figuring out "this work/family/life balance thing.
A few days ago, as I saw the end of October looming, I had this progress report to give myself:
Goal #1: Not done!
Goal #2: Not done!
Goal #3: Accomplished - made easier by the fact that I actually HAD to do it;
Goal #4: Not done! In fact, the opposite was done: I GAINED two pounds;
Goal #5: Not really the kind of goal that could ever be done, but maybe some progress had been made.
This was not a glowing report card to give myself.
I was ready to tell myself, as I so often do at the end of the month: Oh, well, I guess this month's new life didn't work out, but a new month is about to begin, and everything will be different next time, everything!
But then I remembered the therapist/life coach whom I used to see many years ago when I lived in Maryland. One month I went to report to her on the morning of the 30th day of a 31-day month, to confess my month's total failure. And she said words I've never forgotten: "There're still two more days."
This month, after tabulating my disappointing balance sheet of successes and failures a couple of days ago, I remembered those magic words from Judy Alexander: "There're still two more days." And in my case this time: FOUR more days!
I'm proud to report that ten minutes ago I crossed off Goal #1: I finished and sent off a book proposal for a new chapter book series to my editor. I think it's good. I think they might take it. And if they don't, they'll give me feedback that will get me that much closer next time.
So even though Goal #2 was a total bust, and Goal #4 was a total bust squared, and Goal #5 was un-doable, I accomplished Goal #3, which mattered to me, and then, with hours to spare, I pulled off Goal #1, which is probably the single most important goal for my long-term future right now.
Advice to self (and to you, if you want to use it): Don't give up prematurely on a month (or a day, or a week, or a year, or a lifetime). Don't write off October on October 28th, or October 29th, or October 30th. Or even on Halloween morning. It's possible to achieve a major life goal even as the finish line looms.
There're still two more days.
Thank you, Judy Alexander.