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.