Friday, December 19, 2014

Setting Goals: Five Things on Friday


It's among us.

It's hard to believe, actually. This past year flew by (cliche to say, I know).

Right now my writer friends and I are taking stock and setting goals for the new year, as a lot of people are, I think. Because of the "clean slate" that another year brings, it's a popular time to really sit down and think about what we want to accomplish.

In my particular circle, there's a lot of talk of "quality" over "quantity," more balance, spending more time with those who matter--not rushing, I guess. When nothing is holding you back, it's easy to want to plow forward--to write and release everything you can as soon as you can.

(Which might have worked for Indie writers back in '11 and '12, but didn't work in '14, and probably won't work in 2015, either.)

There are so many things vying for my attention from day to day--kids, day job, house duties (not cooking, because I don't really do that--lol), connecting with readers, writing. When I look back on 2014, it's easy to think I accomplished absolutely nothing.

But . . . when I put it on paper, I actually did as much as I set out to do.

On a personal front, I wanted more balance. I started meditating toward the end of the year, and while I'm not as consistent as I should be, I'm much more focused on what matters and the vibes I send out into the universe. 

I also wanted to blog more and tweet more.

On the writing front, I did a major revision on a project early in the year. Over the summer I worked on a duology (still working on this), but I revised and added for a total of 160,000 words. At the end of this year, I wrote and released my Christmas novella. I would've loved to have that duology finished, but the truth is I needed to step back for a while and focus on something else.

I also got the paperback versions of two of my books formatted and ready to release.

So in actuality, and though there were some "lean moments," I hit on every goal I set for myself last year in some way. 

I'm about to sit down and write out my goals for 2015--projects I want to finish, and new ones I want to tackle. 

So . . . in the spirit of the season, here are five things I try to remember when goal-setting:

1. Write the Goals Down

It's proven that just in writing your goals down, you're more likely to accomplish them.

2. Make them Specific

Don't just say you want to "read more" or "write more." Write down how many books you want to read a week. Determine how many words you want to write a day, and which story (or stories) you want to write.

3. Create a Plan and Set Deadlines

What will it take to read a certain number of books in a year? Trips to the library? Penciling "reading time" into your schedule? If I wanted to read six books a month, that's one book every five days. With due dates, that's two individual trips to the library. The first and fifteenth could be designated library days. I could find a quiet place and read for thirty minutes after dinner every evening....

Get an action plan together.

4. Get Out of the Way

I fully believe that we are in control of our own destiny. I'm not a fan of assigning blame, or even letting past events or situations affect our today and tomorrow. Don't sabotage your goals with a negative mindset. Believe in yourself.

5. Remember WHY These Goals Were Set

Maybe it's to become more well-rounded. Maybe it's to step outside of a comfort zone. The "why" is just as important as the "what" and "how." This is what you will return to when the road gets tough. 

So . . . what do you want to accomplish in 2015?

Your goals don't have to be reading or writing-related, either. Make this the year you get healthy--both physically and spiritually. Make this the year you save for that trip. Learn that language. Work for that promotion. Make that career change. Go back to school.

Step into your "discomfort" zone.

And, as always: Be Brilliant!