Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Implementation is not a dirty word

By Maggie Toussaint

Each year many people take stock of where we are and where we’re going in January. Sometimes we like the answers we find, other times we draw a line in the sand and stand firm about reaching for our dreams. The ambitious among us create a list of goals.

I admit to being a goalsetting list maker. That annual to-do list becomes a roadmap of what I plan to accomplish. Then comes the hard part. Implementation. Many of us come up short on that aspect of goalsetting.

Implementation isn’t something that’s bandied about much in the first month of the year. After all, the new year is still mostly shiny and bright, limited only by our imagination. If you struggle in this area, I’m sharing a way to achieve the goals you’ve set.

Truly, I liken implementation to going camping. You need certain essentials to have a great experience, food and shelter being chief among them. Other elements, such as a scenic location and good company enhance the enjoyment.

So, applying that rationale to a 2019 goal, first I identify the bare necessities. For the goal of completing a novel and a novella, I prioritize writing time. That means mapping out a timeline of what has to happen when, i.e. prewriting, first draft, editing, etc. It’s tempting to set the goals to peak performance abilities, but life happens, so I plan for that in my timeline. I also make a habit of connecting with other authors routinely. They understand the challenges we face.

If your 2019 goal is weight loss, increasing accountability and decreasing temptation are essential. Sharing the journey with others helps, as does having an exercise plan that fits into your routine and lifestyle.

Think back on your life experiences: learning to drive, taking tests, starting a new job, having a baby, and going on a trip. What made those landmarks successful? Did you wait to the last minute and rush into them with no preparation? Probably not.

If 2019 is the year you finally reach a goal that’s important to you, give yourself the best chance of success through planning and implementation. Prioritize steps along the way and celebrate each milestone. Think in terms of definites instead of maybes. Search out strategies that worked for you when you accomplished prior goals and use those to make this year be Your Year.

For fun, share a camping (or any trip if you’re not a camper) experience that necessitated a change in plan. I’ll start.

One of our first camping trips with kids was to a nearby park. There was a playground and a lake and hiking trails that looked safe for little ones, and a nice bathroom with running water. What we didn’t count on was the nearby regional airport and lots of planes flying over all day! Instead of being disappointed by the noisy intrusion, we began to count planes and look at the different types of planes. Once we did that, the trip became fun again.

Comments

  1. Not a big camper but we had some fun on trips with our RV (we’re not really RVers, either). Best trip while we still lived in Texas was to Marfa and the Big Bend area over Christmas one year. We had NO idea how cold it was going to be and we were freezing in that RV! Had to pop over to the local hardware store the next morning to buy some portable heaters. But the cold made for some clear nights which was good when we were trying to spot the Marfa lights (and no, we never saw them).

    • Maggie Toussaint says

      Sounds like a memory you won’t forget anytime soon. How nice that you shared that experience with a loved one.

  2. My writing goals for this year are already being overtaken by another goal, and that is to take care of the body parts I neglected until after our daughter’s wedding. Between finger and foot problems, I may end up with more downtime than I’d counted on, but it’s necessary. I’ll have to make adjustments along the way as required. That’s the advantage of being an indie author. Deadlines are self-imposed and can be altered.

    • Maggie Toussaint says

      We have to take care of ourselves! I’ve found that continually neglecting personal/health issues to e detrimental to everything. For sure, be kind to yourself and allow the necessary time to heal. (Just think of all the creative ideas that will spark during this lull.)

  3. NOT a camper, but I did try. The last attempt was actually on the lawn of the farm where my mother grew up. My sisters and their families were all camping and lent us a tent. With the farmhouse close by, we had food and facilities (even though my sisters used their camp stoves). It rained. It was cold. There were tics. That was a never again experience.

    For my goals, I do set them out, and implement an action plan for the year. I make sure they are SMART goals, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic. I went easy on myself this year. It’s more about the process than the achievability.

    • Maggie Toussaint says

      It tickles me that people are either all-in or a NO to camping. There’s not room for gray area in the middle. Folks either like it or they don’t. Turns out I wasn’t a big fan of camping either because we basically had to pack up everything to take with us, use it, and then put it all away when we got home. Seemed easier to me to stay home and take day trips places, LOL. My take home from your experience, Karla, is that you participated in camping to make memories with your family, which is a noble goal. I’m sure there are some keeper memories in there besides the negative impact of camping. Best, it allowed your family to see that camping wasn’t for you, so hopefully they chose another style of get together for your next family excursion.

  4. cherylhollon says

    I love creating goals, breaking them down to tasks, and then setting monthly, weekly, and daily targets. You nailed the problem — implementation. I’ve learned to lower the targets and let in more room for life.

    As a child, camping was the only way we could vacation. One one trip to the Lake Cumberland State Park in Kentucky, we started our vacation early on Friday so that we could choose the best campsite with a view of the lake. We were the first campers there and chose the absolute perfect view.

    That night it rained like fury and the slight downhill grade formed a running stream that ran right through our tent site. What a mess. Next morning we packed up and moved to one of the sites along the entry road, not anyone’s first pick! It turned out to be level, dry, quiet, and best of all, we had our own private beach on the lake. Best camping vacation ever!

    • Maggie Toussaint says

      It’s hard to appreciate high ground until the water rises. We see that on the coast all the time. In today’s paper, they are predicting a 1-10 foot rise of seawater by 2100. Thanks to a great builder, I won’t be underwater but the road to my place will turn into a creek. On the plus side, I won’t have any landscaping issues or weeding…

  5. Breaking goals into small, measurable steps is critical if you want to succeed. As for camping … my parents were NOT campers. NOT. My only experiences with camping came from Girl Scouts, and were held in organized Scout camps. Maybe it’s because it was so long ago, and everyone just went with the flow, but from our end, everything was great.

    • Maggie Toussaint says

      I think most campers are high energy people. They get jazzed by doing more and more stuff outside. The rest of us get bogged down in the logistics of the experience, the possible inconveniences, and the break in our routines. Kudos to you, Terry, for trying camping and for going with the flow. That says so much about your willingness to try new experiences and thrive!