Midyear Goals and Adjusting the Sails

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox, from Tis’ the Set of the Sail, poem, 1916

Spinnaker and Sailboat on the Baltic Sea, Sweden
Spinnaker and Sailboat on the Baltic Sea, Sweden

Tis’ the Set of the Sail

In the summer of 2011, I stood at the edge of the Baltic Sea and watched sailboats tap into the violent wind and virtually fly across the water. The Swedish blue of the sea, the unfiltered colors of the land, the richness of the contours as they rushed out to the water still linger in my mind. The sailboats, though, had their own kind of beauty. They flew flags from most of the surrounding nations: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Poland. When the boats crossed paths, they looked as if they would strike each other, from my perspective at Sandhammeren. Their sails billowed and flapped furiously in the wind as they changed tacks. The sea seemed wild, choppy, uncharted, until the sailors adjusted their sails, tapped into the wind, and once again raced across the water.

As I reflect back on this year, I realize I’ve been sailing that wild, uncharted sea. The wind has blown with gale force and made 2013 a wild ride.

My family and I moved back to our native US after almost 4 years in Prague, which, of course, has been huge in every way. But now, after much work, we’re feeling settled into our new home. My sons are ready for a new school year.

I feel as if I’m standing at a new threshold. My goals for 2013 again seem possible and within reach.

It is a delightful feeling.


No matter how achievable our goals may seem, the reality is that life is busy. The claws of activity, worthwhile or not, sink into our skin and pull us, quickly, from our goals …

… unless we stick to them, like anchors in the midst of the wild sea.

I’m sticking to my goals …

Sailboats, Baltic Sea
Sailboats, Baltic Sea

The Importance of Goals

There is still time to reach our destinations this year, and reach the markers we’d hoped to reach in 2013. Without realistic goals, it’s easy to get pushed off course and become overwhelmed with busyness and distractions. It’s impossible to reach a goal unless we’ve set one, right?

My 3 Big Goals:

  • My novel. This novel I’ve been working on for 1+ years is so important to me. I love the story. I love it so much, and hold the goal of getting it out into the world so dear, I’ve been getting up since May at 5 am every morning to write for several solid hours before my house turns to chaos. It’s getting close. The title: The Golden Willow. My goal: to get it out into the world, to esteemed literary agents, before the end of the year.
  • Physical. Movement is important to me. For many years, I’ve set a mileage goal and achieve it, step-by-step, day-by-day. This year is much of the same. 800 miles. A few thousand pushups. Several thousand situps. Some swimming time and some group fitness classes. Fitness is bliss now back in the US. One day at a time, I’ll get there again, and will feel energized each day. The benefits are endless.
  • Mental. Reading. 50+ books in 2013. I’m on my way … here is my reading list. Also, GreatNewBooks.org is going strong and growing. That was a huge goal for 2013, and thanks to Nina, Jess, Lindsey, and Hallie, we’re on our way! Have you seen our list of guest authors for the coming months?
  • +1: my manifesto

I’d love to hear about your goals, and how you plan to reach them … What are your goals for the remainder of 2013?

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

6 thoughts on “Midyear Goals and Adjusting the Sails

  1. First, I really like how you transitioned from the sailing metaphor to your goal statements, and the photos are glorious. One of my big goals for 2013 is to write a book proposal for a non-fiction book on conflict and creativity. I really like how to talk about doing it step by step, and day by day. Onwards.


    1. I love hearing your goals for your book proposal. Yes, step by step is the only way forward. Your concept and website seem to be the keys in the right direction. Onward, and thank you, Jagoda!

  2. Bravo to you – I think naming our goals is a huge and essential step towards achieving them.
    And I’m obviously further away since I have more trouble articulating my specific goals. Something amorphous re: writing, something more concrete re: my professional life, and something both specific and impossible to fully capture in words re: continuing to live my life in the right now with my two children. xox

    1. You are so right about having a hard time articulating goals. I have a hard time, too. I think it’s some looming whisper of “what if …” that makes it hard to say something I hope for out loud. One most important thing to me is making time with my family for hanging out, with no item on the agenda, and for moments to do what sounds like spontaneous fun. I can’t put those moments into a goal, but I try to clear the way for those moments to become possible, and to recognize them when they’re here. You are always someone who knows the moment when it’s there… it’s a gift. I know you’re enjoying it all to the fullest, and it’s inspiring. Keep on keeping on! Thanks, Lindsey!

  3. These sound like great goals! And really you have achieved so much this past year. Moving to another part of town is hard, but across the world–YIKES!

    1. The move has definitely been a challenge in every way. The hardest thing in the midst of a change like that is when it feels like there is no anchor, no norm, and there never will be again. We moved through it and past it, but it definitely means I appreciate so much now about being home. That my kids and husband and I are stabilized is something I’m so grateful for — everything else I could work toward this year pales in comparison. Whew. 🙂 Onward! xo

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