Back in January, I got my latest edition of Nicole Cody's beautiful Journeymaker's Planner/Journal. Each new year, I sit down, write out my goals/hopes/and wishes for the New Year along with the help of Nicole's planning tools and inspirational spiritual insights. Besides the monthly "running lists" of things hoped to be accomplished, the hardbound, spiral book offers additional encouragement. Each week/month/and quarter, the user pulls two oracle cards to spur the soul and to also offer guidance for the coming days. There are spaces in each week/month for gratitude, self-care ("lucky dips"), your weekly focus, crystal of the month, daily musings, and more. For the past several years, I've relied on Nicole's wonderfully illustrated guide to spur me forward throughout the year. 

This January, I proposed to myself that I would write four more of my little Marvelous Message books, bringing me to a total of seven of the twelve planned. They were to be Marvelous Messages from the Heart, Marvelous Messages from Your Ancestry, (and its companion card deck), Marvelous Messages from Your Spirit, and Marvelous Messages from Your Weight. According to my well-laid-out plans, I would have three months to write and market each (leaving the last of the four to launch in January, 2025). I simply had to write a few pages each week. How hard could that be? Easy-peasy. 

Note, I have always believed in the trickle method (do a little each day), which, sadly, rarely ever works for me! 

Awe, the best-laid plans!

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February 1st, my husband, Tim, and I drove to Ohio to have lunch with his mom. That morning, Tim had come down with the sniffles (common for him when our weather quickly switches from warm to cold and back to warm again, a weather pattern we'd been experiencing a lot this year in the great white north of upper Pennsylvania). By the time we said our goodbyes and were driving home, Tim was feeling quite bad. I asked him to pull over, and I took the wheel for the rest of the journey. I got him home, and put him to bed.

The next morning, I got up and ran over to the store for some over-the-counter meds, soup, and the like. I worked all day while also nursing him, and then, as I got ready for bed, I noticed I too was getting something.

Long story short, I spent the next ten days flat in bed. I could barely walk to the bathroom. The first five days, I ate nothing and barely drank anything. By day four, I had a video call with my doc who prescribed some meds, then several days later, hubby (now up and walking around—at least to a minor extent), put me in the car in my pajamas (no energy to dress) and took me to see the doctor again. More meds. More bed rest.

Thank God, my mother-in-law reminded me to try eating some jello or popsicles to get any possible sustenance into my body. That (along with the meds) began to help. Tests showed I had Influenza A. (Not like any flu I had ever had before!)

After ten days, I was able to shakily get out of bed, wobble my way downstairs to my favorite chair, and spend most of the day sitting there. After two weeks, I gradually worked my way up to standing more than 5 minutes and being able to do the most basic of functions (such as take a shower—life's simple pleasures).

Needless to say, none of this was a part of my writing goals (not to mention my daily client work and typical home maintenance). My beautiful writing plans now had a giant hole in them, and February had disappeared like a puff of smoke. Poof. An entire month—just gone. (Luckily the short month of the year!)

I'm writing this because maybe you too have had glorious plans that went awry and at some point and you were then faced with several choices. Give up. Or start again. You probably know which one I picked but with a few changes. Here are a few tips should you find yourself in a similar position. 

During my illness, as "luck" would have it, an old meme I had posted on my social media some years ago popped up as a memory. It was a quote attributed to St. Francis Assisi. The first line states, 

"Start by doing whatever is necessary. . ."

In those early days of February, that meant a) REST. b) Get fluid into my body, then something of a nutritional value to keep myself hydrated and my strength up. C) Shower. Those first ones meant sitting in the tub with the shower on. It felt like an attack, not a cleansing, but felt good to wash my hair and get rinsed off. Putting on clean pajamas was nice too. D) Let everything else go and don't worry about it. (I did let it go. I had no other option.)

The second line of the quote says, 

"Then do what is possible. . ." Goals DP 102595886 XL Sm

Each day I found I could do a little more. Maybe I sat up for a while and caught up on email. Maybe I ate a little more soup. About eight days out, I finished a client project she'd been patiently waiting for, albeit, I did it from bed with my computer on my lap. It took me several days just to do a few simple things that would normally maybe take an hour. My mind would say, "We feel great! Let's go do ___." Then I would stand up, feel dizzy/wobbly/weak, and that would be the end of my great ideas.

The third line says, 

"and suddenly, you're doing the impossible." 

A month out, I am just now starting to be "normal" again. Though I am taking things slowly. I find it's very easy to overdo, even now.

One thing I realized during all this was that my wonderful planning schedule wasn't so wonderful after all. Here's why. . . 

I do not now, nor have I ever been good at following a schedule or a rigorous plan. Especially as an author and somewhat of an artist, I work better on inspiration and "going with the flow." In other words, if you sit me down and tell me I have to follow a precise written schedule (i.e., "write four pages a day") I will likely fail miserably. (And I did.) Yet given the "go with the flow" method, I may sit down one afternoon and write 20 pages. 

So it became clear to me that once I got up and around, I would need to revise my plan. This plan would need to be more in keeping with what works for me, not just what sounded good. For me, that means to stop forcing myself into a writing-goal box (the "write four pages a day" thing) and just make space to allow it to happen. (Miraculously, even while I was so ill, I continued to scribble notes for my next book.)

Several years ago I set the goal to write this monthly newsletter. Like other scripted goals, I doubted I would succeed. (It's on a schedule!) However, each month I would set the intention in my mind that I needed an article and, without fail ('cept this past month), the ideas would "miraculously" show up right when I needed them. Admittedly, sometimes on the last day before my newsletter's due date. 

One way I found to make it work was to allow myself a somewhat flexible schedule. Instead of always sending my newsletter out on, say, the first day of the month, I allowed my sending date to be flexible. That flex allowed me to keep a goal going long after I thought it would fail. (I started this newsletter in November of 2022.)

Last month was the first one I missed. Being that ill, I had to let everything go, so I did. But amazingly, just as I wondered if I could keep it going, voila, here I am in your e-box! So setting an intention (and meaning it) is one key component to my achieving a goal, no matter what roadblocks pop up.

Whether a New Year's Resolution or just a simple goal to move yourself forward in life, are you trying to make your goal harder by creating a routine that would never work for you in other circumstances? Are there ways you can tie your new hopes and wishes to habits you're already doing? (A tactic suggested by James Clear in Atomic Habits.

What things have you already accomplished in your life? How did you accomplish those? Are there tactics you could borrow from those successes to help you with new desires?

While the release of Marvelous Messages from Your Heart is not going to happen by the end of March as I'd originally hoped, I do know it will be released this year (barring any other strange and unexpected occurrences.) However, I'm going to take the path of least resistance because I know that will make reaching that goal more likely to happen. 

I look forward to MM-Heart being my new lead title as I have believed for a long time that following the call of your heart will take you quickly where you're supposed to be in this life. Yet, that is often the first thing we shut down and we scurry around in this fast-paced world.

What goals are you working on and what means do you use to make them happen? Hit reply and let me know.