Thursday, January 1, 2015

Keeping to your goals!

Happy 2015!

Maybe it’s a cliché, but this time every year we all do it. We make goals.

I will… eat better in 2015. I will…. Exercise more in 2015. I will… write more, spend more time with my kids, watch less TV, catch up on my reading lists, go back to school, get a new job, get a promotion, get published!...

Some goals stick for a week. Some a month. Some we never even touch with a ten foot pole. But how many of us actually achieve our New Year’s resolutions? According to statistics… not many. 

So how do you make 2015 the best it can be? Here are a few tips.

1) Make the right goals.

               Jamie talked a bit about this earlier this week. Some goals are completely out of our control so it’s unfair to hold ourselves to them. I’ve done this many times, made goals that I couldn’t control. Truth is, those are usually the big life goals that really matter, so I’d never tell you to drop them. It’s okay to have those goals, just so long as you understand that it’s not your fault if you don’t achieve them. So here’s what you do.
               Keep those goals… but break them up. Instead of saying “My goal for 2015 is to get an agent,” say “I will send out 100 queries this year.” Or “I will start to query my new WIP this year” (maybe with a specific time, like by summer?). Think about what things you can do to give yourself the best chance at achieving that overall goal so that you know you did the best you could.

2) Be Flexible                  
               Sometimes things change. What you imagine is going to be SO AWESOME… isn’t working out. Are you a failure if you stop querying that book after 2 months because you realize it’s not ready to be published? NO! Are you a failure if you stop trying to run a mile a day because you realize it’s hurting your knees? NO!
               When you realize something isn’t going to work out: STOP. And try something new. Your knees are hurting? Find a gym with a pool and start swimming instead. When you realize your novel isn’t going to work out? STOP and either find a way to fix it, or start something new. It makes no sense to be stubborn and keep pushing against those brick walls. Find a way around them.

3) Find someone to be accountable with!

               According to this website you are ten times more likely to achieve your goals if they are explicit. A.K.A. you tell other people about them.
               Post them on your blog, post them on Facebook and twitter, tell your family and friends… even if they couldn’t care less. I know when I have something I need to do, I tell my husband. Most of the time, he doesn’t care. “Oh you’re going to clean out that closet tomorrow? That’s cool. You’re going to finish your draft this week? Awesome.” Sometimes I get a text back that says… “Umm, okay?” I laugh and say, I’m telling you so that I’ll actually DO IT. It works guys. Sometimes, he asks if I did it. Sometimes he doesn’t. On occasion it doesn’t work out, but I am so much more likely to commit to my goal just by knowing I’ve said it out loud and someone heard me. The absolute best way to do this is find someone willing to check in with you. Someone who will notice if you don’t update them, or if you’re not moving forward. I recommend hooking up with a CP for this. Help each other stay accountable, and help each other brain storm if one of those goals aren’t working out.

The goal of a goal is to TRY something new. Try to make yourself better. Try to move forward. It’s okay if you don’t succeed so long as you fought for it, so long as you didn’t give up. 

Even if your goals change throughout the year, if you keep working, you succeeded in my book.

Are these things you’ve ever tried? Did they work for you? What are your goals this year?

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

I would love it if middle grade writers everywhere made their goal to STOP DEPRESSING EVERYONE!! My crusade in 2015 is to encourGe people to write and read books where no one dies! Scholastic did a survey that indicates that middle grade readers prefer humor, but instead there has been a lot of sadness in books over the last year.