The Test “Mile” and Goals

Each round here at ROW80, I always start off either talking about or directing y’all to my post on sustainable change.  I am a big big fan of teaching you to set goals that are realistic and attainable, goals that will fit into your life–whether that means you set them that way straight out of the gate or have to adapt as we go along through the round.  Either way’s fine.  The point is that you GET IT, do it, and get that boost of meeting your goals that helps you stick to them.

I want to talk about something a bit different this go round.

I am not a runner.  I have, at varying points in my life, tried to be.  For one stretch of college, I actually pulled it off, regularly running 2-3 miles a day.  But I have a very old knee injury that precludes me from really doing it, and frankly, I really hate running compared to other forms of aerobic exercise (not near enough payoff for the gasping, wheezing torture of the process).  But I did pick up one incredibly valuable concept from running, and that is the idea of the Test Mile.

There’s this notion among runners that even if you feel like utter crap, you should still get out there and do a Test Mile.  By the end of that mile you’ll know whether or not you need to stop because you still feel like crap.  Most likely, you’ll have pushed through the UGH and will go on to finish the rest of your run and feel better for it (Note: On a health and fitness front, same applies–you will never regret a workout).

I want to challenge each of you to set a Test Mile for your writing.  It’ll be different for everybody, given our wide variations in productivity.  But the thing is, we all have massive demands on our time.  Unavoidable stuff like doing our jobs, taking care of our families, partaking in other social obligations.  And then there’s the stuff we WANT to do.  Catch up on DVR.  Read a good book.  SLEEP.  In modern society we often operate on overload, constantly pushing ourselves until we’re cranky, tired, and the last thing we want to do is sit our Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard.

Do it anyway.

I encourage you, this round, each and every day, to sit down an write your Test Mile.  Whatever that is.  For me, that’s 500 words.  That’s my comfort zone, something I can usually rip out no matter how lousy I feel or distracted I am.  For you that might be 250 or even 100 words.  It might be 1,000 (in which case, you’re very lucky and should totally let the rest of us in on your secret).  Whatever your Test Mile is, sit your butt down and write it.  Even if you don’t get beyond it.  Even if every syllable blows chunks, that’s words, that’s practice, and that keeps your brain more properly oiled for the next time, when you’ll sit your butt down and totally kill it.

So write up your goals in a blog post (be sure your blog is not set to private or no one can actually visit you to leave encouragement) and link to it in the linky below (that thing that says “Click here”), NOT in the comments section.  Be sure to link directly to the individual post, not the main blog page.  And if you need to change your goals as we get further into the round, that’s totally kosher around here.  The key is to keep pushing forward and not quit, and focus on the positive progress you do make instead of what you perceive as failures.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list of other ROW80 participants’ goals…


Kait Nolan


39 thoughts on “The Test “Mile” and Goals

  1. I love this idea–especially for me, who seems to have a mental block about just opening up my word document. Once I do, I get right into the groove, and actually produce. But something about not wanting to open up that document reminds me about not wanting to lace up my running shoes–and I love to run. Maybe its about objects at rest staying at rest!

    Thanks for the inspiration today, Kait!

  2. Well, shoot, Kait, now I need to revise my goals! Luckily, ROW80 is very flexible. Seriously, this is a great idea. Since life has already thrown me a curve ball, I’m going to include a test mile when I revise my goals.

  3. I’m going to write my goals up here in a few minutes – but I wanted to say my “butt in the chair” is I g to every day. Sometimes I just end up writing about stuff that’s going on in my life, but usually I do a writing prompt or fill my words with adding to my book. It works really well! They do a monthly challenge where you can set your own reward for doing your 750 every day. If I tell myself I can buy a book as reward you better believe I get those words written!

  4. I love this idea! It will be much easier, stepping on the treadmill or sitting at my desk with the internet OFF, to do what needs to be done. You’re right…once you get going, you sometimes don’t want to stop. When you do want to stop, at least you know you’ve done the minimum and can feel really good!

  5. I love too! Little perks and badges keep me motivated. 🙂

    Why is everyone listing “life goals” as well as writing goals? Is it tradition to post New Years resolutions here too?

    1. Eh, it’s kind of been like follow the leader. Since I’m all about the goals and on my own blog am reporting my progress on my other non writing goals, a lot of folks followed suit and do the same. We’re all about the support network here.

  6. Could someone be so kind as to explain the pingback thing to me? I’m not really sure what it means, and why some are attached to some of the comments.

    Sorry…newbie here…


      1. Thanks Kait! I saw a pingback attached to one of my comments, and when I clicked on it, I didn’t see any relationship between the pingback and my posts.

        I’m going to take another look and see if there was something i missed.

        I appreciate it, Kait!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.