Resolutions or Goals? Just Do It

It's that time of year again.  In fact, we're starting the second week of that time of year.  Did you make your New Year's Resolutions?  Or are you like me and run screaming from the mere thought of doing it?  If I had made resolutions, I'd have already broken one by being late this morning with this blog.  It happens.

I admit it.  I find the words "New Year's Resolutions" totally frightening.  That's probably because I've never been able to carry my resolve to do something past the first week or two of the year.  But look at it this way.  Another definition of the word resolve means to disintegrate, and I'm obviously good at doing that to my resolutions.

But none of that means that I don't try to set goals and work toward them.  Sometimes there are things that come along--life things, career things--that make changes in those goals, but I still have something in mind.  The word goal carries a more positive ring for me...probably because of that resolve thing and carpet cleaner.

With all that in mind, I wrote a blog post for my own blog last September and thought some of the information I found while researching it could be shared here today.  Besides, I need a nudge to keep me honest and working toward my own goals, New Year's or not. ;)

First, ask yourself some questions.

Is your goal realistic? 
For writers, this is one of the biggest blocks that can keep them from reaching their goal.  For instance, if your goal is to become a published author, setting a goal to be published in a year or any other specified amount of time, isn't realistic.  You have no way to control whether an editor/publisher will buy your manuscript.  Once you've written your book, researched the right publishers to submit to, and slipped your baby into the mail or an email, the control is in another court.  Outside of writing is the same.  You can't control what another person will do.  Make certain your goal is something you can control.  You should also give yourself the time needed to reach your goal and add a little wiggle room.  Realize that life can sometimes throw curves and be prepared.

How badly do you want it?
It takes wanting something enough not to give up at the first sign of problems to keep working on a goal.  Don't quit too soon.  In fact, if you've set a specific time period in which to reach your goal, see it through.  Why?  Because even if you don't reach your goal, you've made progress.  Celebrate it.  You can always try for that brass ring again.  If you decide to do that, you're already a step ahead, because you've seen some of the things that can trip you up, and you can adjust your plan in accordance.

There are all kinds of goals, not only for writing, but for making life easier, healthier, and more fun.  Whether it's getting more exercise, losing weight, organizing your home or life, or taking a vacation, setting goals can help you be a success.  You can find some great tips online to help you along the way, from planning and the process of working on goals to reaching them.  Here are just a few:

Harlequin author Susan Meier also has a great workshop on her blog about Goal Setting that began in December.  Check it out for more tips and tricks on making and keeping both writing and other goals.
It begins with It's Monday Morning...Do You Know Where Your Goals Are?  (Scroll down the page until you get to it.)

This year WARA has decided to take on the task of not only urging members to set writing goals, but to keep track and encourage each other individually and as a group.  To change things up a bit, we've chosen word count, instead of page count, and will announce our goals for the year at our first meeting of 2012...TODAY!  We'll be posting our combined progress each month here and on our website in the form of a meter.

The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain.     Kahlil Gibran


Reese Mobley said...

I have set a huge goal for myself this year and I feel confident that I can reach my goal. Not sure what makes this year any different from all the rest, but it does. I think part of it comes from breaking it down into bite sized pieces. It doesn't seem so overwhelming that way.

Rox Delaney said...

Breaking it down does help, Reese. I think we sometimes forget to do that and give up before we even start. And sometimes we just over-goal ourselves and forget that there's life out there, and we need to spend some time living it. :)

Joan Vincent said...

Great reminders about goals, their setting and keeping, Rox. The WARA goal will help motivate too!

Penny Rader said...

I had no idea resolve also means to disintegrate, Rox. That'll sure make me think more carefully about any resolutions I might make!

I tried to not 'over-goal' myself this year and I did break my writing goal down into manageable pieces. Now...just gotta get those pieces done.