Happy New Year! The beginning of a fresh year reminds me of a blank notebook. Empty pages have always filled me with inspiration, and in regards to the new year, I’m looking forward to seeing how each new page of 2014 will be filled.
Of course, this is the time of year for resolutions. Love ’em or hate ’em it is admittedly the perfect time to make long-term plans. But after years of resolving, my solitary resolution this year is not to make any more.
Instead, I’ve set goals. And in doing so, I learned a very important lesson about game plans. My goals for the year are writing related, but the lesson I learned from them can apply to any journey.
Here are just a few thoughts I had while developing my goals and game plan:
Identify the greater objective. What I want to achieve this year is not the issue; the why is. Why do I want to ____? That’s simple: I want to grow as a writer. When I can see that my goals relate to something bigger than this year or items on a list, I’m motivated to do as much as I can to achieve the greater goal. Because they are not Everest-sized, I hope that I will meet those goals before the year is out, at which point I will begin new ones. But if, by mid-year, I’m still working toward those goals, I’ll not be discouraged to give them up because I know they’re possible and that they are a journey that surpasses this year alone.
Write the goals down. This is second nature for list-makers like me. But sometimes it’s just too tempting to carry the list in one’s head. (Like last year’s resolutions. For the life of me, I can’t remember what that last one was! And I only had two.) Seeing my goals put succinctly makes me look at them with a “Can Do” mindset. The list was not long or overwhelming. I plotted my goals based off what I wanted to achieve and knew I could handle. Putting them into words simply made them more 3-D.
Tell others. While identifying the greater objective and writing out my goals might be enough to get me into action, it’s not enough for my goals. When the going gets tough in the coming months and I’m tempted to quit, I could easily throw my list to the wind. Unless I’d told others. Then it wouldn’t matter if that list wafted to Timbuktu or merely got forgotten in my desk drawer. Because my greater objective is important to me, I don’t want to risk my goals’ demise via my own laziness or self-doubt. So I told some writer friends what my goals are. Knowing that they know keeps me accountable. And if I need more accountability in the year, the foundation is already laid.
Feel free to share! What writing (or other) goals have you set for this year? How are you doing with them so far?