I’m a huge believer in goals. Let me rephrase that. I’m a huge believer in setting realistic goals. Goals that are impossible to reach, other people’s goals and goals set for me by someone else are unrealistic, and I have no interest in them. Years ago, my goals were simple. I had only a few and they were easily reached. As I got older, goals became more complicated and harder to accomplish. When I failed at them, it disappointed me, but I didn’t change my behaviour, so I failed more frequently.
Wisdom comes with age and the older I got, the more attention I gave to those who successfully reached their goals. I started making goals and succeeding more times than I failed. They were goals for writing a novel, researching genealogy, getting my articles in newspapers and magazines, buying a new truck and a boat, making more time for camping and fishing and completing projects around the house.
Like many others, I start the new year with a specific set of goals. These days, I often make quarterly goals because life is unpredictable. Sometimes I reach my goals early. Other times, they take longer. However, the largest goals start January 1st.
I have a sign posted near my computer that lists the items needed for the best possible success of goals.
They can be shortened to:
- be specific
- assign a reasonable time limit
- make it my goal
- make a plan
- put it in writing.
The best example of this is weight loss. How many times does someone set a goal to lose weight? That’s the wrong goal. We must be specific: I want to lose 40 pounds. That’s specific. I’ll see the steps towards this goal as the pounds melt away and when I reach it, there will be no doubt I’ve accomplished it.
Assign a reasonable time limit
I won’t lose 40 pounds or write a 120,000-word fantasy novel in a week. Reasonably, I could lose twenty pounds or write that novel in a month, if I was dedicated.
Make it my goal
Just because someone else wants to write a series of romance novels, doesn’t mean I have to. Many don’t want to write a 10-book epic fantasy series like I’m doing. We are more committed to goals when they are ours.
Put it in writing
Don’t just say it; don’t just think it; write it down. There’s something affirmative about writing down a goal. It makes it real. I post my goals near my computer, so I read them every day.
Make a plan
Larger goals are easier to achieved if we have a plan and break them down into smaller goals. For example: My ultimate goal is to write ten books in the Castle Keepers series. That’s a mammoth task that seems impossible. Even writing one book with 150,000 words can seem insurmountable.
However, I can write 2,000 words a day. That’s not impossible or overwhelming. It will take 75 days to complete the draft, but I’ve got 75 days ahead of me. If I could write only 1,000 words a day, that would be the goal I’d set.
Find out what your limit is, push it a wee bit, then try to stick to it. I’ve always been one to push my lines a little further now and again to progress further faster. As I’ve told people, that line you’ve drawn shows me what I must pass, not reach.
Ultimate, each step in the right direction, regardless of the size, will get you there. Focus on that, and stop doing things that move you in the wrong direction that take you away from your goal.
If you don’t reach your goal, here’s another tip: don’t beat yourself up over it. Try again. When it comes to most goals, you get a second chance, sometimes a third. The only ones who truly fail with goals are the ones who never try or give up.
My 2019 Goals: I have radical goals for 2019. I’ll share them in Monday’s post. I am claiming 2019 as my year to change everything.