Life, the Biggest Excuse We Give Ourselves When We Stop Working Toward Our Goals

Posted on Jun 19, 2014 by   8 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

by MM Pollard, editor, Black Velvet Seductions and  ffnpmmpollard 2

the MM in Workshops with MM


Did you make New Year’s resolutions?

Maybe a better question is, Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?

We all have the best intentions on January 1st with our new resolutions. If you are like most people, though, you’re not that great at keeping them, even though you really, really want the results all your hard work will give you.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

I give you the biggest reason we tell ourselves: LIFE.

Life happens to all of us. The kids get sick and we have to stop working on our goals to take care of them. By the time they are well and we can go back to work, we’ve lost our momentum. Beginning something takes a lot more effort than continuing something. I can’t explain exactly why, but it’s got something to do with physics.

How do you take care of those you love and not lose your momentum in working toward your goals?  By doing a little every day that brings you closer to your goals. In between filling the sick with liquids, meds, and some TLC, fill yourself up with motivational books to keep your desire and drive alive.

Life can also throw unsupportive people in your way. Family—yours and his—will call you just to talk at the exact moment the light bulb turns on in your head. Don’t answer the phone! You read that right. If it’s an emergency, they will leave a message. If their call isn’t an emergency, call them back after you have written that scene. Don’t mention that you were writing if they aren’t supportive. You can say you were busy or in the bathroom.

Spouses who don’t believe in our goals are an obstacle we have to deal with. The sooner we deal, the easier it is to remove that roadblock to our success. Resentment festers when we don’t confront a problem.

How do you deal with unsupportive spouses? Have a heart-to-heart talk. Talk about your dreams for you and your family. Then listen to your significant other. Don’t judge what is said, don’t react; just listen. You might be surprised to learn that he is scared that once you’re rich and famous, you won’t need him anymore. Don’t expect that admission to be the first words out of his mouth, but if you keep the dialogue going, and you have a strong relationship, he will get to the real reason for his lack of support.

Once the reasons for the lack of support are out in the open, you might need to compromise, but you shouldn’t have to give up your goals. At the very least, the two of you should be able to agree to disagree about your goal.

Work is another part of life that can derail our best efforts to work on achieving our goals. Our “day job” requires overtime, time we were planning to use to write. So many of us feel we work inside a pressure cooker, the stress is that great. We get home and collapse. Sometimes, our own perfectionism causes us to put in more hours that we really need to, to do the job.

How do you work at your job at the same time you work on your goals? Compartmentalize your time. When you are at work, work for your boss. When you are home, work for yourself. Even if you must bring work home from your job, still carve out 20 minutes of the night for you. You may not write a word, but do something toward your goal of writing a novel, maybe editing a scene you have already written. Maybe add to your character sheets or your plot outline.

Life is an excuse for most of us. Life is a reason in these instances:

serious illness, yours or that of a loved one’s; death of a loved one; loss of a job; divorce or separation. You MUST take care of yourself and those who depend on you during these difficult times. Don’t beat yourself up if your writing has to sit on the back burner for the time being. Tell yourself that you are delaying your goal, not abandoning it. Having a goal, a reason to get up every morning and face LIFE, often makes life bearable when terrible things happen.

Are you ready for some clichés?

When life hands you limes, make margaritas. If you are under twenty-one, make limeade.

Only you can run your race!

Don’t let the naysayers get you down!

It doesn’t matter where you start. It only matters where you finish, and you’re going to finish on top! – my favorite from my days as a Mary Kay consultant.

Don’t let LIFE be your excuse you didn’t finish your manuscript, you didn’t give it to an editor, you didn’t submit it to an agent or publisher.

When LIFE gets your down, sing the song that is played at every Mary Kay Annual Seminar.

Sing with me, now. “It doesn’t matter where you start. It only matters where you finish, and you’re going to finish on top!”

Again, louder. “It doesn’t matter where you start. It only matters where you finish, and you’re going to finish on top!”

 See you at the top!

More About MM Pollard:

As a copy editor for Black Velvet Seductions, MM Pollard reads many entertaining and thought-provoking stories, some littered with common mistakes in the fundamental skills of writing.

With fifteen years of experience teaching English serving as a resource of knowledge and a life-time love of teaching and of language, MM began presenting workshops in February, 2011. Her goal is to teach writers what they need to know about the writing craft through her fun workshops. She has presented workshops for many RWA chapters, Savvy Authors, Writers Online Classes, and in her own virtual classroom. MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of English.

MM Pollard, editor, Black Velvet Seductions

MM’s Fundamentals of English – blog – mostly English-related information and a complete list of MM’s workshops

MM’s Fundamentals of Writing – monthly newsletter – sign up on her blog

Don’t miss MM Pollard’s


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8 Responses to "Life, the Biggest Excuse We Give Ourselves When We Stop Working Toward Our Goals"

  1. Comment by Paula Millhouse
    June 19, 2014 8:43 pm

    Hi MM Pollard!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to post your article about how LIFE can steal us away from our writing dreams.
    I try every day to carve out time for my writing. What helps me the most is to set a timer, and while that timer runs I’m totally dedicated to Words On The Page.
    Everyone in my circle understands this is MY time.

  2. Comment by Nancy Lee Badger
    June 22, 2014 4:12 pm

    I will finish this manuscript! It is important, it is my livelihood, and I have no excuse but to keep writing. Thanks, MM!

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