Getting the Most from Goals

It’s all very well to set goals, big ones that stretch us more than we think we can be stretched. But we all know sometimes the big goals are intimidating. It’s like hiking up a mountain. The higher you climb, the further the summit seems to be. I’m always relieved to see a milepost that reassures me that I’m really making progress and not trapped in some Twilight Zone of no escape.

Sometimes if a goal is too big, it seems just like that mountain. After a while, when it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress, it’s easy to just give up. That’s why breaking the big goals into manageable pieces helps. By defining quarterly, monthly and weekly goals they are more manageable, and you can see what progress you’ve made.

Or not. Or realize what you set as a goal is unrealistic. Sometimes I’ve started a project, and realized this is not the time to pursue it. The mile markers and my progress (or lack of) towards them help me to focus on what’s worthwhile and attainable.

So I have my seven goals for the year:

1. Write the memoir for my dying friend
2. Edit novel #1 of my fantasy quartet to be ready for publication
2. Finish the first draft of novel #2 and edit it to be ready for publication
3. Write novel #3 for NaNo
4. Plot novel #4
5. Blog weekly
6. Use social media to be social and build real connections
7. Find a good critique group

Put into quarterly goals:

January to March

1. Complete memoir edits, set title, work on cover design
2. Finish draft of Novel #2
3. Write and post 13 blog posts
4. Work on commenting on other blogs and Facebook posting

April to June

1. Publish memoir
2. Edit novel #1
3. Find critique group
4. Write and post 13 blog posts
5. Figure out which Twitter connections to cultivate and do it

July to September

1. Receive feedback on #1 from critique group, edit as needed
2. Edit novel #2
3. Plot novel #3
4. Write and post 13 blog posts
5. Keep up blog comments and Twitter from previous quarters

October to December

1. Get outside edit of Novel #1
2. Plot novel #4
3. Write novel #3 for NaNo
4. Write and post 13 blog posts
5. Receive feedback on #2 from critique group, edit as needed
6. Work on cover design for #1

Each month, I set some monthly goals. Likewise, each week. And each day.

Last year, calculated that I would need to write 1000 words a day to meet my goals. I wasn’t sure that would be possible. To my surprise, when I really tried, I could deliver over 3000 words a day without slaving for eight hours over my keyboard. It was more like four or five. So this year, when I am writing, my standard goal is 3000 words a day. I may adjust this for family responsibilities, but figuring 20 working days in a month, that equals 60,000 words. If I can keep this up, I can either accelerate work on the later novels in my series, or write some short fiction.

This is how I make my goals work for me. Have you got your goals set for 2014?

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