It’s the time of year to talk about New Year’s Resolutions and Goals.
But what if you don’t want your hopes, dreams and plans to go the way of every other year’s abandoned or failed New Year’s resolutions?
Last year, I joined an accountability group and learned goals must be WRITTEN down. Committing goals to a fixed form helps keep your eye on the prize instead of watching good intentions disappear with those New Year’s champagne bubbles.
Once you have them written down, take a close look at them. Are your goals, S.M.A.R.T.? That is to say, are your goals
- Is your goal clear and unambigous? What exactly do you want to accomplish?
- How will you know when you’re done?
- Can you realistically attain this goal? What changes will you need to make in order to reach this goal?
- Why is it important to accomplish this goal?
- When will you have it completed by? How long will it take you? Is this realistic?
Bob Mayer in his Who Dares Wins book and Warrior Writer workshops, teaches the idea that not only do you need to know WHAT you want to accomplish, but WHY you want to achieve those goals and HOW you plan to overcome any obstacles along the way. These ideas, learned in his Green Beret days, dovetail nicely with the S.M.A.R.T. goals mentioned above.
Now that you have your set of goals, you need to make sure you keep working toward hem. Personal accountability is only so good. It’s been proven we do better if we have to answer to someone else. If you don’t belong to a writers’ group (online or off) or a writing forum of some sort already, these can be great sources of support and people who can hold you accountable.
Other ways to hold yourself accountable include:
- Posting your goals publicly on your blog.
- Write your goals on a post-it and tape it to your monitor or something else you look at every day.
- Sending email to your future self via a service like futureme.org
- Posting your small daily goals on Twitter some #hashtags already exist for writing: #amwriting, #writegoal, #goalwar
- Using task management software like Things for the Mac, or Lifetick online
Also important is the periodic reviewing, adjusting and reality checking of your goals. You need to make them and your daily routine work for you and change what isn’t working.
One of the goals I promised myself I’d work toward this year is having a more active blog. I brainstormed a long list of topics and then organized them into several categories. I want to keep exploring the creative process of writing, but I also want to explore more of the Regency Era of early 19th Century England as well as improve my Regency Resources Page.
I’ll be covering a wide array of topics I hope will prove interesting and valuable resources in the future. The writing categories I’ve chosen (The Writer, Writing as Art, Writing as Craft, and Writing Life) will rotate on a weekly basis and I want to do at least one Regency Resource post each week. So I hope you’ll follow along this year and chime in too!
So, are you gonna reach your goals in 2010 and beyond? I came closer than ever before in 2009 by using these concepts, and I know 2010 is going to be even better!