A Bad Start

file0001215190277Do you ever have the feeling that you’ve failed before you even begin?

The new year was no surprise, of course. I’d been planning for a couple of weeks. This was going to be a year of changes in my life. My word for 2014 was purpose-driven–something that had been lacking in 2013. After praying for my word, I began to make goals and discuss changes with my husband. We were in complete agreement. January 1 came, and we celebrated the new year with smiles and hope.

And by Jan 3, all the hope and excitement drained away. It started with an innocent cough. That cough brought sinus issues, fever, stomach issues, and fatigue with it. Then my daughters caught it. If my youngest’s ER diagnosis was accurate for the rest of us, we had really bad colds AND the flu AND bronchitis. As an asthmatic, colds and bronchitis can be especially bad. I was in bed for a week. The kind of “in bed” that required my husband to take off work to care for the kids and I. After that, I tried to get back to normal, but, although the flu had taken the fever and stomach issues and fled, the cold and bronchitis insisted on vacationing in my body awhile longer.

The house was a mess.

I was behind in my work.

Homeschooling wasn’t even a blip on the domestic radar.

Here we are, 17 days later, and I’m feeling much more like myself. I still have a lingering cough and a headache that continues to rear its ugly head. Yay!

All my plans–all my hopes for change–all of it fell apart before I even had the chance to start.

I look at everything that was supposed to happen this month, and two things happen: I get overwhelmed at all the catching up I need to do, and I get depressed at the complete and utter failure I was this month.

Now, in my head, I know it’s not my fault. I didn’t plan to get sick. And it wasn’t your normal, everyday cold where I could just push through and get stuff done. I needed to take the time to recover, so I wouldn’t relapse and be out even longer (that’s just the way my body is). Still, I look back at the month and can’t help but feel like I failed. I think it’s because I had built up the new year so much in my mind. THIS was going to be the year we did everything we kept putting off.

I keep telling myself that it’s just a set back. Sure, we weren’t able to implement any of our changes before I got sick, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start now. The nice thing about yearly goals is that we have a year to make it happen. If we can’t start, or fall of track, we have 12 months or 52 weeks or 365 days to get it right.

Yeah, 365 days. That’s enough time to get it right. Right?

How are you doing with your goals so far?


About Ralene Burke

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 4-part serial! When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

8 comments on “A Bad Start

  1. So far, my goal of keeping James 4:13-17 clearly in mind is beating all expectations.

    Leaving that aside, trying to keep my personality to a rigid schedule or continually on task is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. I work best when I set a few must-have project lines and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances which surround them as I go.

    Sorry to read of your illness! A friend’s illness is one of those circumstances which shifts me around. So does my own chronic illness.

    • You made me go look up that verse. 😛 The “do it now” mindset is definitely one I want to adopt this year. We really don’t know if we have a tomorrow or what will come. Thank you for a great verse to kick off the week!

  2. I’ve heard it said when you miss a meal, you don’t give up eating. You’ve missed a month, yes, but don’t give up living.

    I understand all too well how easy it is to give up. I urge you to take this setback in stride, focus on restoring your health, and implement your goals as you are able.

    I decided last Thanksgiving that I would add more exercise to my life. Didn’t make a big deal of it. Just 15 minutes or so on the treadmill during any portion of an evening’s TV watching. A little weight training. Nothing crazy, no freaking out if I miss a day, just the decision that a little is more than nothing, so I’ll do it. So far, I have done it more days than not, and I’m starting to enjoy it a bit.

    I decided I would finish my WIP. No pressure, just the decision that couple of paragraphs a day will see it done. I want it done. I’ve been writing more days than not, too, and I’m starting to find the joy in the journey again with the focus shift on doing something instead of nothing.

    Life is what happens while we make other plans. Your decision hasn’t changed, just your expectations of achieving your goals in an arbitrary time frame. You will achieve them if you don’t give up. Maybe not in quite the same time frame, but you’ll make it.

    May God grant you the energy and health you need to do His will for you.

  3. I am way behind in my writing goals. The good news is, I’ve been busy with paying work. I’ve accepted some positions of responsibility in organizations I belong to, and that’s taken some time that I might otherwise have spent writing.

    The better news is, I think the pieces that are the Rubick’s cube of my current WIP are falling into place. Now if i would just carve out the time to finish…

  4. I’m right there with you! I suffer disabling migraines, and already in January I’ve had twice my monthly average. So much for the best laid plans. My son is a senior in H.S., so the home-schooling thing is on him, but my goals for writing, housekeeping, and life are backlogged in a big way. Good things His mercies are new every morning.

    • Amen! Although I love the time homeschool gives me with my children, I do look forward to the day when it’s a little more on them.

      I hope your migraine problem eases up! I get sinus headaches every time the wind changes, but they aren’t as debilitating as migraines.

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