"I need to plan ahead if I intend to slice next year. I need to have a game plan going into next March if I decide to take this challenge again. It's hard to come up with writing ideas for 31 days, especially after a couple years of slicing. However, I know that if I think ahead, I can be better prepared with writing ideas that will help me when I'm stuck and don't know what to write about. I always tell my students that you have to have a plan if you want to meet a goal. This year, I failed to heed my own advice."
Those were some painful words to read and perhaps they were even more painful to write. Those are the words I typed on March 26 last year, after admitting that I had failed at my Slice of Life commitment. Failure might as well be a four letter word in my book. In some respects, failure is a four letter word because I equate it with fear -- a real four letter word that I wrestle with more often than I care to admit.
It seems odd to say that I am fearful of entering this commitment again. Writing isn't scary. Making myself vulnerable by sharing my thoughts doesn't make me uneasy. Coming up with different topics for 31 days makes me a little concerned, but doesn't fill me with anxiety. My fear, however, is real. My fear is that of failing to meet my goal again.
As I sit here writing, it would be easy to focus on that fear. It would be easy to make excuses, to give myself a free pass and a reason not to participate. No one would blame me if I excused myself from this year's challenge, nor would anyone think less of me if I never wrote another post this year. I could allow that fear of failing to honor my commitment keep me from committing in the first place. Certainly that would be much easier. It would be easier to say I don't have time, to say that I'm fresh out of ideas, or that my posts wouldn't be all that enlightening anyway. Yes, that wold be easy. Facing my fear -- that's much harder. Recognizing that it's going to take planning and preparation to meet my goal is easy. Putting that plan into action is much more difficult.
As I mentioned in my final post of last year's challenge, I failed to heed my own advice. Granted, that's not all that surprising, as it's much easier for me to give advice than to take it. This time, however, I realize that I must take my own advice. The words I penned almost a year ago must be put into action. I have set a goal to slice this year for 31 days, and in order to meet that goal, I have to have a concrete plan. According to Antoine de Saint-Exupery "A goal without a plan is just a wish."
So here we go again. I'm not wishing to complete a Slice of Life, I'm making it my goal. And in doing so, I'm admitting that I'm a little fearful of not meeting my goal. I'm a little hesitant to start and not be able to finish. But truthfully, I'm more fearful of not making a goal in the first place. I'd rather set a goal, make a plan, and perhaps fall short than be bound by my fear and fail to begin. As I've come to realize, Winston Churchill's quote is true: "Success isn't final, failure isn't fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts."
So here's to continuing. Here's to having the courage to start. And here's to realizing that last year wasn't a failure at all.