Soul Goal (Cheryl Renée Herbsman)

This year has been one of altering my relationship to goals. I have always been a very goal-oriented person. I love goals -- hate deadlines -- but love goals. I'm happier when I'm working toward something, preferably something in the realm of dreams come true. But as Anna posted on Monday, sometimes reaching a goal can make us really second guess our efforts on the next one. After my debut, Breathing, became a book, I got lost in trying to understand which elements led to its publication and in trying to figure out how to reproduce them. I started to see myself as a professional, which in some ways was great, and in other ways tied me up, caused me to forget the simple beauty of just writing without all those expectations.

When my daughter became ill this summer, I didn't care about writing at all, and I wondered if I ever would again. It didn't take long for me to remember how much I need to write. And when I came back to it, it was with a new understanding. I wrote for me. I wrote what needed to be written. And I'm pleased with the writing.

So when I think about goals for 2012, for me it's not about getting a certain amount of writing done or aspiring  to a specific endpoint. It's about trusting life more, not fighting windmills, not pushing through closed doors. It's about moving forward in my own way, at my own pace. It's about trusting that the right doors will open at the right times, that there's no rush, no urgency. It's about not trying to please everyone or compare myself to anyone. It's about writing what my soul needs to write.

There's something very freeing about this type of goal. I don't have to worry about whether or not I'll accomplish it. Because it's not an accomplishment. It's not something that I either succeed or fail at. It's something I can try anew each day. And if I don't move forward on it today, I can try again tomorrow. It's calming to start the year not feeling stressed about reaching my goal. I plan to focus on balance and presence -- sinking into the world of writing when I write, being present with my family when I'm not writing, enjoying each in its time rather than being lost in one world while living the other. It can be tempting to declare our work "important" and set it on the top of the priority list. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't treat our work as a priority. I set aside writing time almost every week day. But there are other things that are just as and even more important. I want to remember that this year and allow it to help me find the right balance.

Whatever your goals may be, whichever type works best for you, here's wishing you a year filled with health and hope, joy and laughter, love and peace.


  1. I hear you, Cheryl. Write what your soul needs.

  2. So many lovely thoughts here, Cheryl. Love your image with the reminder about the "big things," too...

  3. You always have a way of saying just what I need to hear, Cheryl. Thank you!

  4. Love this post! Referred to it in my own today:

  5. I get what you're saying. Writing for yourself is where we all started. If we don't do that we lose where we're headed.

    So sorry about your daughter, but pleased she's better now.

    Take care. Lee


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