I've got a confession to make - all the blogs I read are written by women. Most of the people I follow on social media are women, and most of the people I talk to on Twitter are women. But whenever I read a piece of content written by a man, I'm intrigued and entertained. Which leads me nicely on today's post...
There is officially a new writer to the blog - my partner in crime, Tom.
If you've been following A Branch of Holly since the beginning you'll have heard me mention him quite a bit, and we both thought it was about time he made an appearance. Tom helps me out so much with my online space and I've always wanted it to be a collaborative tool. He adores writing and asked if he could write a post for me. So he did, and we both thought it would be good to make it a regular, monthly feature.
For his first post, he'll be talking about setting goals - a bit late to the party I know! But I hope you find his words inspiring. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment and on social media - I know he'll be interested to hear what you have to say.
When I was younger I always found it to be more of a challenge actually achieving a goal more than anything else. These goals were, after all, mainly set by others - A in this subject, B in another, score in this football match... I could go on & I'm sure you could with yours too.
The truth is we're littered with goals throughout primary school & high school, each fairly insignificant in relation to our development as a person, but necessary just the same to pass each exam, each year, each stage of our life. Growing up learning to achieve set goals is a precedent for later life when only you have control over how high you want to aim; not a teacher, a parent or a sports coach, no longer to the extent they had previously anyway over what should be expected of you. Only you know what you're capable of after all.
This is why now I find the challenge in actually setting the goals in the first place because I know deep down that I should always have a clear idea of where I want to be in a month, in a year, in five years. It's good to give yourself direction but don't lose focus of everything currently happening around you in the process as these are usually the little things that affect your long term goals. Don't worry about tying yourself to success or failure because your goals are exactly that - YOUR goals. You set them & you know what to do to achieve them so there's no reason why you can't. Accept advice & criticism equally along the way because really there's no greater satisfaction in achieving a goal that you set for yourself after fighting past any doubt & uncertainty - that is the true reward.
So, I guess it's only fair now that I share with you a couple of my goals for 2015. I picked these based on things outside of work & family life & coming up with them was surprisingly not as tough as I thought it would be. There is thankfully some progress considering we're two months into 2015 & hopefully they can help you decide on some goals of your own for the year if you're struggling so far.
Write a draft of my book
I'd probably sit & write all day if I could. At one point it was novel ideas, then it was the pile of assignments & essays, then it was a football blog, and now it's gone full circle & back to where it all started with a novel, but this time with an actual plan to make something of it. A plan to not let ideas evaporate away after a few months.
That was the problem in the past - losing focus if a particular section was taking longer to write than I had planned. I'd usually be so desperate to write one bit that another section would suffer & the whole process would take twice as long.
So at the start of 2015 I adopted a new philosophy. I took my idea & properly planned out a novel like never before. Profiles, timelines and, most importantly, structure. Putting thoughts & ideas from your head down into actual words is only as good as the structure you have waiting for them, & patience to make it work.
I recently drafted out a first chapter. There was no rush so I took my time, even adding in bits I hadn't initially planned for, but it was better for that. I've no doubt there will be significant changes as I write & review on a continuous cycle over the next ten months, but it'll all be worth it if I have a first draft complete by the end of the year & the goal of 2016 becomes a full successful review.
Run a marathon
Distance running has been a big part of my life for well over a decade now. I'm still not entirely sure why I started putting myself through it all back before my teenage years, but I definitely know now that I can never give it up completely. Not by any choice of mine anyway.
I probably don't compete in as many races as I'd like to but that all comes down to training &, more importantly, fitness. As well as keeping my fitness up walking to & from work most days during the week, I'll be out running at least once a week aiming to stack up the good training sessions before I have enough behind me to feel confident in racing competitively.
I've had some great races in the past when I've felt at peak fitness & conditions have been perfect, but even in the races where I've struggled & not performed as well as I might've hoped, there's still a special feeling to be had when crossing that finishing line, all the hard work paying off. The longer the distance, the better the feeling.
That's why I've turned my attention to marathons recently - slowly building up the distances as the year goes on & finally run that whole 26 miles on my own before 2015 draws to a close. I'm still some way off doing the London Marathon, particularly this year, but that's definitely one to add to my list of goals by the end of the decade.
What are your goals for 2015?
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