Where Readers & Writers Connect
(We wanted to share this great article about Setting Goals. Most set goals in January, but it’s never too late. In just a couple of weeks we will run Part 2. Hope you will join us in setting and meeting goals. ~Readers’ Realm)
by Carol Peterson
Every year we sit down and with best intentions define our new year’s goals. And February we forget all about them, right? No! Not all of us!
How can we increase the likelihood of actually achieving those goals? Here’s what I do.
Every year in December, I keep little notes about what writing projects I’m working on and what projects are calling to me. Having those thoughts in my head for a few weeks helps me know if they are important enough to become “official goals” or are just passing fancies. By the time I sit down to define my goals in January, my focus is solidified.
FIRST: I divide my goals into categories. I might have writing goals for picture books, MG, YA, non-fiction, adult, marketing, and education. Under the picture book category I list which books I want to revise, what fledgling ideas I want to develop, what books I particularly want to focus on submitting. Under education, I would include upcoming conferences, any new skills I want to learn, and any classes I’d like to attend.
THEN: Once I have my bulging list, I break it down into manageable parts. First I set time tables. If I have a contract deadline, that project becomes my number one focus, and I set up a schedule for when each part of that project needs to be completed.
For example, on a non-fiction project, I might have
By breaking down larger projects this way I can visualize how my year’s schedule will shape up.
AFTER THAT: When my goals are trimmed to something manageable, I announce them. This is that pesky accountability thing. If you have secret goals, they tend to slither away unnoticed. But if you announce them to your support group—or the world—then you have extra pressure to stay focused; to do what you said you were going to do.
The final part of the goal process is the review. Even if we announce those goals on January 1, even if we have a plan and a schedule for completing them, even if we’ve told our friends what we intend to do, if we don’t review our progress, then those goals can still slip away.
So, periodically, once a quarter is a good time schedule, review them. What were those goals anyway? Did I forget about one of them? Why? Did I focus on one single project and never reach my timetable on the others? Are those other goals still important or did a different project jump up and yell for attention?
Now is not the time to abandon goals. It is time to revisit them. And revise them, if they need revising. We creative geniuses are always getting new ideas. That means new projects continue to come up. A plan is there to follow.
But a plan is also there to evolve as we evolve.
When you review your goals at least once a quarter, maintain that accountability. Review them with your support group. Encourage each other. Forgive each other if someone slips away from his stated goals. Support new goals and keep the process going.
By setting goals, creating a way to manage and accomplish them, and reviewing and adjusting those goals throughout the year, we are more likely to continue to work toward them and be successful in the areas that are most important.
You still have time to set goals if you haven’t already. And you have time to work on those goals if you did.
Either way, join in the fun. Come back and let’s share together how we’re doing and what great plans we’re setting out to accomplish.