Congratulations, You Did It! Now What?

I just finished a hectic, and productive, week of NaPiBoWriWee and I’m gearing up for the NESCBWI conference this coming weekend. I’m cranking out some work for the conference, and trying to catch up on Day Job. Which means not a lot of time for blogging. However, I remembered that I had a perfect post in the drawer for this week.

Originally published in 2005 as a Goals Gone Wild newsletter, the message is still appropriate for anyone living deadline to deadline. That’s you right?

Living the Project Based Life

I totally rock. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been in a musical revue, run the Falmouth Road Race and completed a major life goal. I’m living the dream and things couldn’t be better.

How’d I get so lucky?

I realized a long time ago that I have lived most of my life in the middle of one “goal based objective” or another. In both personal and professional areas it’s the type of activity that attracts me. Give me a project, a deadline and a goal and stand back. Web site development, marathon training, and theatrical productions all have one thing in common – the deadline. The show goes up, the gun goes off and the launch date arrives. Woo-hoo! I love it! I love the training, the rehearsing and the planning. I love the adrenaline rush of crunch time and the awesome feeling of success when the goal is achieved. Baby, there ain’t nothing better.

And that’s the problem.


So what do you do when the race is run, and the show closed? Take a break. Relax. Heck, you’ve just worked your butt off for weeks and need some downtime to recharge. Right?

Wrong. At least for me, and I bet for many of you too.

The first day or two it is nice to kick back. But then, suddenly it’s a week. Maybe two. You’ve got time to kill. You’ve got that itch and nothing to fill it. Sometimes it gets nasty. Post “show/race/project” Depression. The blues. Maybe there are other things you should be on top of but they just don’t have that urgency.

How do we jump start ourselves? How can we get back in the game and be the goal getter we are inside? Where’s my mojo?

Move Your Own Goal Posts

Here’s my trick. Maybe it’s a method. Whatever you want to call it, here it is: Always be making new goals. Before you finish the current big project look around for the next one. Get excited about it and put it on deck.

So the marathon is coming up in a month? Great! Pick another race a few weeks after that! That big project done at the office? Don’t wait! Look at your own inbox. Elevate one that’s been hanging around and get ready to kick its butt.

This doesn’t mean you don’t take a breather. This doesn’t mean you don’t revel in your achievement. Taking care of yourself is a key component of the THRIVE! lifestyle (and I’m sure we all want to THRIVE!, right?).

It does mean look ahead. Plan your next step. Life keeps moving and we need to move with it.

Here are a couple of sayings that fit this issue:

“Life’s a Journey not a Destination”

“Don’t Rest On Your Laurels”

and I’d like to add a couple of my own:

“Activity is Victory”

“The Next Step Is Now”

OK then. Let’s get moving!


  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jim! Congratulations on your achievement 🙂 I am so glad you wrote about ‘What next?’ I was just thinking the same. It was so much fun challenging myself with NaPiBoWriWee, although I felt quite exhausted and was glad I’d finished by the end. Then, only three days past the finish line boredom/depression/sadness were already setting in! I was already thinking that I might have to participate in five phantom NaPiBoWriWees each year to keep this feeling going!
    Thanks for your thoughts about how to push on after a great month + 1 week.

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks, Carolyn! I find the writing/submission/publishing cycle so slow that the only way to survive is to find new goals and milestones along the way.

    Finding like-minds to share it all with, through blogs, twitter and in person, makes a big difference too.

    Good luck with your next steps!

  3. Gina says:

    Jim, thank you for posting this! I often find myself sliding into a post-goal funk and have to push myself extra hard to get over the hump. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I generally have several projects going at the same time but I haven’t conciously planned ahead like you do. I’m so much better at reacting than I am at planning!

  4. Jim says:

    Gina, it took me a long time to understand pre-planning was, for me, better than the funk. I still take time to celebrate the completion of a goal, but I already have my eye on the next mountain to climb.

  5. Lizzie says:

    I am a planning fool, I love it and I love everything about it. My follow through is not so joyous. Something to work on. Next project on deck, good idea, thanks.
    Sorry I didn’t know you were in the Road Race, would have made an effort to cheer you on at our water station. Good for you!

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