I was shocked to discover that I am a Type-A, perfectionist over-achiever personality. Oh, there are quid pro quos to that label, of course, but on the whole it is accurate. I had no idea, really I didn’t, until about two years into therapy. When I exclaimed to a close friend my surprise at this discovery, her response was an uncategorical “DUH.”
Okay, then! (Always listen to what your friends take for granted about you, kids: saves you years of counseling fees.)
Part of being this way is to place incredibly high, nay unrealistic and impossible, demands upon myself. The other part of this is the feeling that if I don’t believe I can meet those demands, then not doing anything at all is the only reasonable course of action. This isn’t about logic on either side of the coin. It’s about holding oneself to impossible standards vs. driving into the abyss of hopeless despair.
Working on my word count issues (i.e. how many words I write a day on my original fiction stories) brought me a new realization, though: something is better than nothing.
I know! Crazy talk! That’s me, at one with the blazingly obvious.
But in practice, it’s not so obvious. If I can’t hit my goal of 1,700 words a day, then I tell myself, “well writing 100 words isn’t even close to that mark, so just don’t bother.” Yes, it is true that 100 > 0, yes, very true. Again, let me point out that logic has no home here.
What I never thought about though, was setting a minimum goal. As you can see, I’m goal oriented: I want a goal. I NEED A GOAL. *grabby hands* That’s just the way I operate, and it’s not going to change now. However I have spent my life until now equating ‘goal’ with ‘best case scenario.’ Best case scenario is that yes, I can write 1,700/day. However, goals are more flexible than that. Who knew?
I realized that minimum goals are important too. I want to write 1,700 a day, but now I have also set a minimum goal of 200 words. That is a paltry, measly number of words, but it nonetheless is a valid goal. Anything over that is not bonus, as my ideal goal is 1,700 words; but anything over the minimum is at least within my “goal range,” a concept I’m not used too.
We’ll see how this goes.