Two years ago I ran my first half marathon. Two and a half years ago I decided to take up running, something I had not attempted to do since I was in high school, six years prior to this. My first runs were in below freezing weather and often in the snow. Why I chose to begin running in January in the Appalachian mountains is a thought I ponder often, but no matter, I did and because of it I accomplished what I saw as a goal. My mistake: Seeing this as an achieved goal rather than a milestone.
Maybe you are thinking, "Milestone?! That's more than a milestone." However, I am here to tell you that setting a goal of running a half marathon was a mistake. Six months from the time I started to run to when I ran the race, I was running around four times a week. Not two weeks after I completed the race, I came to an abrupt halt with running. In my mind, I felt as though I had accomplished what I set out to accomplish and my work was done.
If I would have instead thought of the half marathon as a milestone or a stepping block to a bigger goal, whether that would be completing a full marathon, a larger number of half marathons or creating a permanent lifestyle, then I would have continued on with running rather than dropping it so quickly.
Writing and other crafts can be viewed in the same way. Set huge goals. Don't limit yourself here. These goals may seem lofty and unattainable, but if you zoom into the smaller steps or milestones you can achieve, then the larger picture won't feel as daunting. Set these milestones out as steps to get you closer to your larger goal, but keep in mind and remember that they are only milestones. This way you will stay focused, driven and keep on pushing through and creating rather than coming to a halt in your craft when you complete a milestone.
Celebrate when those milestones are complete, but then keep on plugging away.
My current milestones are writing each and every day, staying on top of my blog by consistently posting compelling content and continuously working on a short story. These are just milestones to a bigger picture of publishing novels. I am working on creating a lifestyle by getting my ass into gear, even when I am not feeling like I want to do so.