Every year I set out goals-- trying to map out what I want to accomplish in the new year--but how long do my they last?
Some last for a few months. Other weeks, days.... and some manage to stay with me for the whole year.
The ones which drop by the wayside usually involve unrealistic goals.
Realistic: What I can actually do.
Unrealistic: What I think I can do, but it's too overwhelming.
Challenging: I have to push, but you can do it.
Unrealistic: I used to say I'd work out every day. (Seriously, some can do this. I admire this, me? I need a rest day or four... ) I'm getting older and working out every day would make me sore and over train me. I'd quit after three days. The realistic one is this: Start out twice a week and increase to three days a week. I can do this. (Actually I can do 5 days--but I put that in the challenging aspect--see below).
How does one set a realistic goal?
I do this by deciding what is important. Then I set a concrete goal. Right now what's important to me is: writing.
My goal: Write Every day, -- Wait, I just said doing this like working out out daily can be impossible! I'd quit. BUT this is different, I set a standard I can easily meet; such as minimum five NEW words a day. THIS I can do. If I said 1000 new words a day, it wouldn't be cool (it would be like me saying I'd work out every day at 5 a.m--ack!). Sure, there are days I write up to 3 to 5 k, but it's not everyday. I'd like to think one day--I'll easily write those 1000 words, but this comes with experience, and time (the day job doesn't quite understand it if I don't show up). I can meet this goal. Five words daily.
But, how do I make it challenging? Well, now this is trickier. If I'm working out; I set a goal, such as running a 5k by summer. It's doable AND challenging. (No, I am not planning on running a 5k, but I am planning on Kettle Bell swings, by upping my weight.), but writing--- ah, now I do have a challenging goal here.
My Challenging Goal: Finish book 3 and a novella by the Summer. NOW that will be challenging but doable. A concrete goal.
I also make a goal for each aspect of my life: Health, Family, Career, Spiritual. Just one. If I do more than than one it becomes harder to keep up with and I'll quit. Small steps is key.
I don't want to quit.
Sometimes I have to re-evaluate my goals, rearrange them. And there are times I have to drop a goal. This last year I used too many excuses---another thing which causes me to stumble. I didn't finish a book--but I manged to get my series to a new publisher (I credit my Agent Victoria Lea, for this!)
This year, I have no excuses. None. Zip. If I fail, it's one me, not on anyone else. A sobering truth. Only I can write my words. Only I can finish the story. No escaping.
So, What is YOUR goal this year?