freeimage.com, photo by Eran Becker
Every year it seems the best of intentions can turn into guilt and regret all over what we didn’t accomplish the year before. Even so, on New Years Day we roll out a whole new list of goals designed to get us motivated to achieve new heights.Stop the run away train!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting new goals for the year, but consider a different process of arriving at your destination. In the writer’s life there are plenty of times when we deal with rejection and defeat. New Year’s doesn’t need to be one of them. Instead try the steps below.
Steps to a Successful New Writing Year:
*Celebrate the successes of last year. Take a moment and make a list of the things you accomplished last year. Celebrate those with a favorite activity, treat, or small token.
*Reflect on the process. Journal your thoughts of what made the successes possible. Notice the motivational pieces that helped you reach your goals.
For example, if entering a contest helped you to work on editing your novel, enter another contest this year.
Also, identify the things that stood in the way of success. Be completely honest with yourself. It is only helpful to set goals if you can be honest with yourself about your own shortcomings, or calendar difficulties.
*Recognize your most successful seasons. Some may write better in the summer when the weather is warm. Others may have more success when their kids are in school. Identify when you are most successful and determine to capitalize on these times.
*Set seasonal goals reflective of your potential. This year don’t write goals for the whole year. It is easy to get lost in goals that are so long term. It is alright to have these goals, but setting seasonal goals can be more successful because the time line is in small chunks.
Divide the calendar into the seasons that follow your rhythms and assign the goals to each segment. Keep in mind your personal strengths and weaknesses. Goals are meant to be attainable with some effort, not impossible. Be realistic.
Allow yourself to have a less productive season when you typically struggle. Make this time about refueling your muse and doing smaller amounts of writing. This will help you to feel recharged and ready to go in your best seasons.
*Check in with your Goal Journal. At the beginning and end of each writing season you’ve identified, check in with your journal. Write notes about what worked and what didn’t. Celebrate your successes for the season you were in. Check that the next season’s goals are reasonable and map out how you plan to get there.
What works for you in setting goals?