Learning to choose yourself over unrealistic expectations.

A lot of us set ourselves high expectations. Sometimes they're not realistic, and we spend time beating ourselves up, full of self sabotage. That's why I want to share my story of 'failure' with you today.

A month ago, I wrote here on my blog about this year being the year to complete NaNoWriMo (50,000 word novel in a month).

Well, it didn't happen.

I can officially say, I failed.

What actually happened?

Well, I got about a week in, got to just under 7,000 word and decided the pressure I was putting on myself just wasn't worth it.

I was starting to feel a sense of dread about writing every day; I knew it was unlikely that I would make the word count, and it even got to the point where I was starting to feel a bit nauseous and very stressed at just the idea because I've had so much else going on in November.

Because that's the thing about NaNoWriMo - you have to be willing to put most of your life on hold to complete it, and be able to completely 100% dedicate yourself to just your novel.

And you never know what will happen in a month.

Not to mention, that when you start off with a (very) vague plan and not much else, it's pretty hard. I mean, I didn't even have an outline of my story. I was a bit doomed from the outset to be honest.

Not that other people haven't managed it, but I for one didn't.

So I've officially failed.

But, what about unofficially?

Well, I'm fucking proud of myself.

I might not have finished but I made a great start. Writing aside, I was able to make the decision not to continue, instead of putting myself through the stress like I would have a couple of years ago. And I stopped when I was still enjoying myself, so I know it'll be a project I return to some day.

I had a good look at my expectations and chose myself.

I may have not been able to write a 50,000 word novel, but I've been blogging consistently, three times a week for the past three months (which works out to be about 30,000 words, with additional top secret side projects on the side). And that's no mean feat.

But it is not about the word count. It's about the fact that I've loved writing every single blog post.

I've got lists and lists of future post ideas, I feel really inspired, I feel confident with my writing and I'm enjoying it! 

Isn't that the point?

You can apply this to any of your goals. Reframe the situation: you might not set out to achieve what you wanted to, but on the way, I'm sure you'll do things that you didn't think you would, and you'll find things that you've been wanting to do for a long time, that you're already doing without even realising it!

So I can officially say I'm ending 2014 without writing a novel, without achieving one of my dreams. But on the way, I collected more goals, that I have achieved and managed my expectations.

And they're worth their weight in Harry Potter books.