Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

Don’t Give Up on Goals

Don't Give Up on Goals

Don’t Give Up on Goals

Are you one the growing number of people who have given up on New Year’s resolutions because you’ll just break them anyway? Please, don’t give up on goals. I’m reminded of the old axiom, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” I totally get that. I have fallen short on goals (especially health-related goals) many, many times.


Year after year, I continue to set goals for myself in multiple areas of my life. I have fixed my eyes on over a dozen resolutions some years and very few in others with varying degrees of success. The older I get, the better I find that I am able to work toward goals and give myself the best chance to reach them.

General consensus is that five or six specific, measurable goals is enough of a challenge without becoming goal overload. With that in mind, I have set a handful of challenging but attainable goals for the coming year. For the purpose of this blog, I have focused on my writing goals for 2017.

Goal #1: Publish Coach Dave Season Four by April 1.

I tried binge writing over Christmas break this year. It was a new technique that I had planned for and outlined for before it arrived. I finished Christmas break, like most teachers, on fumes. However, the next morning when I went to the coffee shop to write, my energy for the next installment of the Coach Dave series was abundant. Seventeen straight writing days (and fifteen chapters, 57 writing sessions, and 36,567 words) later, I’m two chapters away from having a first rough draft. By Opening Day of Major League Baseball season, barring any major setbacks, Season Four should be ready to debut.

Goal #2: Publish Coach Dave Season Five by November 1.

I will set up the inciting incidents, middle builds, and ending payoffs for the global story, each section, and each scene of the final installment of the Coach Dave series by summer break. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I will spend the first three weeks hammering out a first draft. That will give me several months to edit and close out the series around the time of the 2017 World Series. (A series, in case you are interested, that has consistently picked up momentum since the release of Season Three. I was told be other series writers that to push a series before at least book three was fruitless. I’m glad they shared that advice.)

Goal #3: Complete the first draft of my first biography.

It’s a story I have thought should be written since I first heard part of it in 1988. A small-town Mississippi football coach faced a situation that called for a play he had never run before…never practiced…never even considered. His players didn’t want to execute the play. His son was the quarterback, and he made sure the play was run. The game film–grainy as it was in those days–went viral in an age before the internet. But the coach’s fifteen minutes of fame only scratched the surface of his story.

In 2015, I knew that I was the one who should write this story. I began doing research in 2016 and will continue to do so throughout the spring so that I can begin writing the manuscript in the summer. The story has appeal far beyond the sports element of the book and has tremendous potential to do much more than entertain. I’m looking forward to getting more of it written.

Don't Give Up on GoalsAgain…Don’t Give Up on Goals

I haven’t always been someone who has pushed through to accomplish long-range resolutions. Year after year, I would give up on goals that I had set for myself…only to set more goals the following year. I’m not sure at what point it began to click, but it did.

So if you’re someone who thinks that resolutions are a waste of time, let me encourage you: Don’t give up on goals. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. If you continually set goals and give them your best effort, you give your yourself a chance to pick up momentum and accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible. And you’ll love the way that feels!

Happy New Year. Give 2017 your best shot.

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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