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Friday, 15 July 2011

Goals and Gremlins by Gene Lempp

Hello my minions. Welcome to my FIRST EVA blogging joy ride as a proud member of the Life List Club! Today my fellow members and I share some thoughts on goals, and this is what the extremely talented and diverse Gene Lempp is doing today on my precious- I mean blog. Lovers of Gene, enjoy! 

You can check out Gene's bio under the post and you can find my guest post on Anne-Mhairi Simpson's site. (What's the first rule of the Club? I'm such a movie dork.) But don't stop there. There will be lots of other posts written by members of the LLC, which you can find by following the bread crumbs. You didn't think we'd leave you clueless, did ya? 

Goals and Gremlins
by Gene Lempp

When I was in high school the world was overrun by Gremlins. Not real ones of course, I'm referring to the 1984 movie Gremlins, (I'm also showing my age, but I'm okay with being older). In the movie, the teenage protagonist Billy is given a mystical pet known as a Mogwai that he names Gizmo. Over the course of the movie, Gizmo accidentally replicates himself creating a small band of evil Mogwai that transform into mischievous Gremlins. Led by the evil Gremlin, Spike, this eventual army of chaos causes massive destruction and a few deaths before being destroyed by Billy and Gizmo.

So what does this have to do with goals, you may be asking? (I know you are, I can see you. Don't look behind the monitor).

The premise attached to the Mogwai gave three simple rules to follow to avoid disaster. Don't expose it to bright light, don't get it wet and don't feed it after midnight. These three rules also happen to be the bane of our personal goals, the antithesis, if you will. Let me show you what I mean.

No Exposure to Bright Light

Until a goal is made public, vocally and in writing, it’s just a thought, not a goal. By making our goals public (i.e. exposing them to bright light) we accomplish several things.

First, by expressing our goals we make ourselves accountable to the pursuit of those goals. I know from personal experience that when I only think a goal and never express it to anyone else that I'm not serious about accomplishing the desire.

Secondly, by sharing our goals with others it locks us on our target and provides motivation to power through the rough moments. Trust me, there will be rough moments, if what we are after was easy it wouldn't require a goal to achieve it.

Keep it Dry

Our goals should be realistic, taking into account the complexities of our lives and circumstances. Flexible, like water.

When we set rigid goals without consideration for the many tasks and obligations we each have then disruptions can derail us with ease. Since life loves to interfere with our plans (like a gremlin), setting inflexible goals increases the likelihood of frustration, excuses and eventual failure.

By allowing flexibility into our goal planning we give ourselves better odds of success.

Recently, I joined an online writing challenge called ROW80. As a part of this challenge each participant states certain goals they would like to achieve during an 80 day period. Initially, I had planned to write 500 words a day on my novel. My writing partner saw the goal and wisely said, "What will you do on the days when life happens?" After considering his advice, I adjusted the goal to 3000 words per week, which allows me time to catch up when the chaos of life interferes.

Never be afraid to adjust your goals in order to compensate for life. The important thing is to consistently press toward the goal, not the speed at which you achieve it.

Design your goals to be flexible. Keep ‘em wet.

No Feeding after Midnight

This is the most curious Mogwai rule since it is always after midnight somewhere. I guess Mogwai are time zone sensitive, but I digress.

Unlike the Mogwai, our goals must always be in front of us. Write them on a slip of paper and tape them where you will see them. Read the list daily, preferably at the beginning of your day.
By doing these two things we keep our goals fresh and prepare our minds to stay focused on achieving those goals throughout the day, no matter what time it is.

You will be amazed how keeping your goals steadily in mind will help you seize the open moments during the day to achieve them. For example, another of my goals is to read four books over the next 80 days. This past weekend, while waiting for my wife at the salon I was able to read several chapters in one of the books and made my goal for the day.

Feed your goals constantly and you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished.


The Gremlin Overlord

Gene Lempp is a post-apocalyptic science fiction writer pursuing publication. He blogs about the uses of history, archaeology and myth in his Designing from Bones series. Gene lives in Northern Illinois and is a friend of trees, squirrels and a resident chipmunk named Bob. "Only the moment seems eternal and in a moment everything will change."


Anonymous said...

Great post, Gene! I wholeheartedly agree that putting your goals out there makes them very real.

When I posted that the second book in my Sunwalker Saga would be published in August, suddenly it was like WHOA! I gotta kick this thing. lol And you know what? I'm right on track.

(And don't feel bad. I am also old enough to remember the Gremlins.)

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Life List Club and ROW80 have both been excellent for getting me to commit to goals and make them real. Having a group of people to work with and help support those goals is great motivation.

Not worried about my age, I still feel quite young :D

Thanks Shea!

Lyn Midnight said...

(I do not remember the gremlins.)

Gene, I just have to say that when I read your post I was like 'whoa!' I love movie references. I love it when people take something fun and turn it into a lesson of sorts. Kudos for that!

And thanks again for your wonderful post. I am happy to display it in all its gremlinness on my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Things are always more fun when a few Gremlins are thrown in the mix!

Thanks for hosting me Violeta :)

Jen said...

"Time zone sensitive" lol! You are so right. Now if only I could walk around with my goals posted to my forehead I'd be good!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Great post!! Plus I love Gremlins. Especially the cutie pie at the top. :D But does this mean if I mess up on one of the rules about goals tiny, sharp-toothed monsters will take over? Because that ought to keep me in line...

Marcia Richards said...

Love, love, love that analogy. Like 'Lyn', I too love movie references! Getting goals out in the open can be so hard because that means you have to hold yourself accountable, if for no other reason than not be embarassed! Great post!

Margo Berendsen said...

Awesome - esp. that last line "feed your goals constantly" :) I love movie analogies! I am so terrible at keeping my goals but this gives me new inspiration. This lifelist thing is a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Jen: Just be sure to write them backwards :)

Lisa: Yes, yes they will. And not the cute guy on top, although you can cuddle him every time you gain a success.

Marcia: Thanks! I am a total slacker when I don't openly state my goals. Learned all of this the hard way.

Margo: Glad I could give you some inspiration today. Check out the List List Club, great group of very supportive people :)

Anonymous said...

Gene, this was a great post. Very inspiring. As I read it, I got out my to-do list page and started writing down what I want to do with the rest of my day. You're such a smart guy. I'm proud to call you my friend.

Age: I had hoped you were older than me. I remember Gremlins pretty well. LOL

Anonymous said...

Thanks Catie! I'm proud to call you my friend as well.

Not sure which one of us is older but you can always ask :)

Carrie M said...

I loved the Gremlins! Thanks for a fantastic post. I'm off to read my Life List right now.

Anonymous said...

The Gremlins are awesome! Thanks for the comment Carrie :)

Sonia G Medeiros said...

The Gremlin Overlord. Bwahahahaha! One of my favorite scenes is the gremlin with all the cigarettes in his mouth. What a great post! Gene, I love how you connect up gremlins and goals! Such a great way to make the point stick. :D

Emily Moir said...

I'll never the Gremlins movies the same again ha ha.

Pam said...

I love the Gremlin analogy! Now, whenever I look at my Life List page, I think "bright light, bright light!" Thanks for bringing up a fond memory of a favorite movie, too!