Every year, some of my writing buddies get all depressed because they had set themselves some goals for last year that they failed to achieve. The Little Miss Optimist in me is forced to come in and reminded them of all the things they have achieve instead. It’s that silver-lining view, but so many forget to use it.
Sometimes it’s a knock back to see that massive goal that you had set yourself come crumbling down around your ears. However, that goal was set for a reason. Without it, you wouldn’t spend the time necessary to turn that goal into a reality. And sometimes, you might have actually achieved your goal, but just not in the way you had expected.
I’ll use my own goal from 2015 as an example. At the start of 2015, I had publicly told all my friends and family that by the end of the year I was going to have a publication plan for my fantasy novel. I even posted it on my Facebook. At the time when I posted it, I had meant that I was going to find an agent and have a publishing contract, knowing that it took months from the point of signing that publishing contract before you saw the book on the shelves. However, I said “have a publication plan.” What I didn’t realize was that I actually had completed that goal the moment I posted it on Facebook, and it took me an entire year, and some, to figure that out. I have a publication plan for my novel: find an agent and get a publishing contract. It may not have been exactly what I had intended when I first set that goal, but it is still the goal achieved. Silver-lining view.
Always keep that big dream in mind, but make your goals the stepping stones toward that big dream.
More often than not, those big dreams are life-time ambitions and can’t be achieved in a single day, or a single year. However, there will be small steps along the way that will be necessary to make that big dream become a reality. Make these your goals.
For me, my big dream is to publish not just one book, but many books. So my goals for the past so many years have been about completing that draft, finish that edit, send out that query. But this works for more than just writing. One of my personal goals involves weight-loss, but I don’t try to focus on the weight-loss itself — or I would spiral into the depths of depression and would never resurface. Instead, I choose a target that will service that long-term goal and work toward it: a fun run, a hula-hoop challenge, that dress I want to buy. It’s all about cutting that giant horse-pill into smaller pieces easier to swallow.
Whatever your goals are, make them public.
Making goals public will do several things:
- It will force you to phrase your goals in such a way that you feel that you can actually achieve them.
- It’s the stepping-stone approach. “Small steps for man.” We may have big dreams, but more often than not, we’re afraid that people might laugh at our big dreams, so we’ll test the waters with something smaller. Achieving those small goals is an accomplishment too.
- It will hold you accountable.
- After I had posted my personal goals on Facebook (or my personal blog), I feel this sense of obligation to do my best to make things happen. While I typically achieve only half of my list, I achieve so many others things that weren’t on the list too, often things that I never thought I would do.
- It will give you a secret support network.
- People, in general, want to see their friends succeed. They’re even happy to cheer on complete strangers toward achieving their goals. Having that added cheer section does help fuel your ambition.
- It will give you bragging rights when you actually achieve your goals, both the listed and not listed ones.
- Let’s face it, we humans are prideful creatures. We like to feel rewarded for our efforts. Sometimes, all the reward we want is a simple thank-you, and other times we’re after something more. Anyone who says that they don’t get a buzz after achieving something… They’re lying. Either that, or they’re not human.
Every year, I post on my personal blog my big goals for the year. I often take the time to revisit those goals and assess how the year’s been going. If necessary, I’ll rehash those goals. It’s all about making sure that I never lose site of my dreams.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016