Planning to Endure in 2023 and Beyond

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‘I’ll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,’ said Sam. ‘And I’ll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart. So stop arguing!’

J. R. R. Tolkien

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my readers! Also, if you are a Tolkien fan, don’t forget to toast the Master sometime tomorrow for his birthday.

Thank you so much for continuing to like and read my blog and here’s to another year of blogging on WordPress! 

So far, we’ve looked at planning to plan and planning to grow and why you shouldn’t leave either to chance. But what if something happens so that you can’t follow through on all your lovely plans? Well, that is why you plan to endure. To stick it out, even if you have to delay for a little while. 

We talk about endurance in terms of athletics or high-powered business deals, or sales calls. But that doesn’t exactly help the rest of us. Writers have endurance too. So do people who live with long-term diseases. And hobbits who have magic rings that need to be destroyed. 

Endurance comes in different forms and not all of them involve you hitting the gym 2 hours a day or hustling at all hours of the day. It also doesn’t just happen without you putting a lot of thought into how you’re going to endure. 

Planning endurance is just as important as enduring itself because if you have a plan in place so that you have the time and the energy to carry on, that’s half the battle of making it through when things get tough. 

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You cannot plan hardship, but you can plan how to deal with it. 

Take any rough spot in your life, the death of a parent, job loss, sudden illness, or a depressive episode. How did it affect your plans for the year? Did you end up changing your plans? Or did you end up giving up? 

This time last year, I was facing down COVID as well as trying to care for another family member with the same illness. It derailed nearly EVERYTHING I had planned for that month, and the fallout continued to derail me repeatedly over the last year. 

Well, I didn’t give up. I’m still here, still blogging, still plodding away at setting up my writing business, but I’d be a lot farther along if I’d gone in with an emergency plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate either. Even something as simple as pre-made posts for all of your socials letting your readership or customer base know that you’re out of commission is enough. 

I will fully admit I’ve dealt with some things well, and other things less well. The things I dealt with well were the ones I had long expected to happen and had mentally prepared myself for. There was still the initial shock, of course, but that slowly gave way to what I had expected I would have to do should that eventuality arise. 

It doesn’t mitigate everything, however. You throw a bunch of those in on top of one another and the one event you dealt with well, combined with another event you didn’t exactly plan on happening, and suddenly you aren’t well at all. Crazy person mode activated. 

If that happens, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, take a step back, re-evaluate where you want to go and what you want to do, and then get back out there.

If you are not an athlete, stop holding yourself to athletic standards. 

I can only say that hobbits are made of a stuff so tough that I never met the like of it. Had I known, I would have spoken softer in the Inn at Bree!

J. R. R. tolkien

Athletic endurance is also a good guideline. But if you can’t even walk too quickly without ruining your hormones (true story for some of us!) stop expecting yourself to run a marathon. We aren’t all suited to the same levels of endurance. Look at The Fellowship of the Ring if you want some prime examples. 

There are other kinds of endurance, however. There’s also mental and emotional stamina. There’s even just the dogged determination that you will succeed at something even if you spend years trying to perfect it. You don’t have to be a ripped, toned, or be able to survive on four hours of sleep a night.

Hobbits, after all, aren’t much to look at, and even less to tell about in comparison to elves or dwarves, yet they had endurance which no one suspected and gifts beyond what the likes of Boromir or Faramir could imagine. Oh, and hobbits sleep for more than four hours and definitely like their food.

Endurance, for you, may look like surviving all your depressive episodes without going into a tailspin. It may look like even posting to your business blog at least once per week, even if you really want to print three times a week. It may even look like Sam carrying Frodo on his back during their long trek up the slopes of Mount Doom. 

You have to decide what endurance looks like for your life, in your own career, family, and circumstances. No one else can determine that for you or tell you what it should look like. Others may help you find what endurance looks like, but they can’t sit you down and say with any authority that you have no endurance when they aren’t in your shoes and they aren’t living your life. 

Stick to SMART goals and your overall vision. 

SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound for those of you who are not in the know. What does that mean for those of us whose goals are mostly subject to our mental or physical illness? Well, that’s where you focus on the “A” and the “R” of SMART. 

Achievability and relevance are perhaps the factors that can help you the most if you have problems setting goals for yourself. If you’re new to setting any goals and you aren’t sure of your endurance, start small. If you can achieve that, then go a little larger.

Forcing yourself to your physical, mental, and emotional limits just to achieve a goal that doesn’t even have anything to do with you is setting yourself up for failure. You can still show endurance, but it would be extremely futile to endure hardship just to achieve a goal that doesn’t contribute in a meaningful way to what you ultimately want. 

Can you reasonably achieve the goal you’ve set for yourself? If not, then it’s not achievable. 

Does your goal actually fit into your overall vision for your life? If not, then it isn’t relevant to you. 

It doesn’t mean that those goals aren’t good. Making 6 figures is a wonderful goal if you’ve established your business, written your processes (or found a writer to help you with those!), and have a good rhythm established. If you’re just starting, however, that may not exactly be possible this year. Re-evaluate where you are after a year and then decide whether that’s a good goal. 

On that same token, don’t just dismiss a particular goal because it isn’t achievable or relevant this year. Make a note of it and save it for the next year, or make it a longer-term goal. Too often we dismiss goals because we can’t achieve them right now. 

Do not be afraid to adjust your goals when you need to. 

There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Endurance is about staying the course overall, not about winning at all costs. If your circumstances change during the year, you may have to re-evaluate what your goals are. Not every goal you set during the year remains achievable or relevant by the time you get through the first quarter.

It’s not failure, it’s reacting to reality. If you plan on a certain number of sales in your first quarter and, say a worldwide pandemic ensues, that number is going to have to change. Your entire business model may have to change.

You may have a health emergency, which puts a hold on something. That’s not a failure either. That’s life. 

So, if you’re going through your year and the things you’re doing aren’t really working to get you to your goal, or you just can’t do them anymore for health, financial, or logistical reasons, then perhaps you need to sit down and figure out where you can adjust a few things. 

Remember, endurance is about still standing at the end of hardship. It’s not about blasting through every barrier in your path by any means possible.

The very best of the new year to you all! Let me know in the comments below your own strategies for enduring and, as always, keep checking in for new posts!

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3 thoughts on “Planning to Endure in 2023 and Beyond

  1. What a nice post. I love these longer pieces. And I’m always one for finding our individual equations in life. We definitely shouldn’t follow others’ standards. Always staying ready for hardship is another thing. I guess that’s why we feel more satisfied at the end of the day after pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Get too comfortable and we’d just wilt at the first sign challenge. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Stuart! When I originally wrote this post, I had Jane Austen in mind. Her first novel wasn’t a great success but she didn’t give up either. Unfortunately, last month got really busy so I had to delay. And since Tolkien’s birthday is this month and hobbits are kind of the epitome of endurance, I think it ended up working out a lot better.

      Liked by 1 person

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