Goal Setting and Grit

I asked a colleague of mine, Cindy Pearson, if I could share this poem of hers on my blog. She obliged, but said she might need to apologize to Maurice Sendak, the children’s author who wrote Pierre: A Cautionary Tale. I don’t think so; I’m sure he would appreciate her version of a cautionary tale. And I know you’ll like it, too.Pierre

Here’s the story of a family like yours

With a daughter and two sons, of course.

Their sweet daughter, it is true,

Always knew just what to do,

She was amazing as a learner

So this story does not concern ‘er.

Instead, the story I will tell

Is how these boys, both loved so well,

Took two very different paths

For learning reading, science and math.

One boy was praised for being smart.

The other learned to work with heart.

School was simple for Son One.

He passed with ease, had lots of fun.

“You’re very smart,” his parents cried.

“I know I am,” the boy replied.

“I don’t work hard, I just know it,

I get good grades and never blow it!”

Son Two was not as fortunate

He wanted to be lucky, but

He always struggled with his work.

“I just can’t do it.  I’m a jerk!”

His parents said, “You’re not, you see,

Your brain just functions differently.”

“Eat an elephant in just one bite?

It can’t be done; you know we’re right.

Dig in, work hard, and set a goal.

Your effort puts you in control

Of what you learn and what you know

You decide where you can go.”

So both boys went to college; though

For Son One it was a blow.

His grades were often very bad.

Which made him feel extremely sad.

“I’m not so smart any more,

I never had to work before!”

He said, “If I’m not really bright

Then going to college isn’t right.”

Son One decided to drop out.

He seemed paralyzed by his doubt.

Son Two was able to excel

Because of lessons he’d learned well.

Now the biggest regret for their mother

Is in the messages to each brother.

They praised Son One for being smart.

But Son Two got a stronger start.

Smart is good, but hard work’s better.

All kids should be great goal-setters.

New Month Resolutions

Blogging every day in October turned out to be a major light bulb for me–


I stuck with it because a distinct end was in sight and I knew I could survive the short length of time before I was able to return to tending the neglected areas of my life.

And I didn’t realize this yesterday, on the last day of October, and it didn’t hit me until I woke up today and it was the first day of a brand new month, but every month is the perfect reason to try something new, to set a goal and stick with it.

So here it is November 1st and the calendar is screaming at me, “Opportunity!” I know I hinted that I would clean and cook during this month, since these two things went by the wayside during October, but you didn’t really believe that nonsense, did you? Me neither.

I have some better ideas. I am calling these my November Resolutions and I’m already thinking the heck with New Year’s Resolutions, from now on I’m going strictly with New Month Resolutions.

November Resolution #1 – NaNoWriMonanowrimo

Shortly after I posted my last NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) post, I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I knew nothing, really, about NaNoWriMo. Something came through my inbox about it yesterday and I started reading. The goal, as I understand it, is to pound out 50,000 words–the length of a short novel–during the month of November. I am not writing a novel, but I did start a memoir last summer that I figure I can continue working on for this. I doubt I’ll add another 50,000 words to it by the end of the month, but this I do know–if signing up results in me adding another 1,000 or 10,000 or 25,000 words, then the NaNoWriMo will have served its purpose of motivating me and giving me the confidence to move forward with the memoir. Also, I believe the rationale behind NaNoWriMo is to get as much down as possible, as fast as you can, and then go back and tweak words and perfect sentences and all that later on. This is exactly the encouragement I need. I tend to want to get things as good as I can as I’m going and that really doesn’t make sense with a full length book because some of the original content could be cut anyway.

November Resolution #2 – The Racquetball Tally

My friend and I have played racquetball two or three times a week for about three years now. We have a ton of fun with it, mostly because we are so well matched. He wins about half of the games and so do I. This morning when I went to the gym, right after the whole first day of a brand new month hit me, I told him we should keep a tally this month of how many games we’re winning against each other. I don’t recall him agreeing to it, per se, but… it’s happening! We both played harder than usual, I do know that.

Psst. Just for the record, which I will periodically post, I am ahead three games to one.

November Resolution #3 – My Fitness Pal and The Seven Minute Workout

I need to lose those few pounds I gained while sitting on my butt writing all of October. So, in addition to my regular exercise, I am going to monitor my calorie intake with the My Fitness Pal app and try to do the Seven Minute Workout app daily. The latter works on body parts that running and swimming and racquetball don’t.

There they are, my November resolutions. I’m putting them out there. And even though I realize that probably not many of you would have noticed or cared had I not posted something on my blog every single day in October, and therefore you won’t be keeping track of whether I stick with these new resolutions, the fact that I announced the post-a-day kept me motivated and held me accountable, just as, hopefully, this will during all of November.

Now, what are you planning on doing with your November?