The New Year is an excellent time to press ‘refresh’, and to take stock of what you have already accomplished, and what you still wish to accomplish. While setting goals, ad intentions for an entire year can feel overwhelming, here are three tips to help you set effective writing goals for the year:
#1. Reflect on the past year:
One of the reasons people often fail to attain their goals, whether in writing or otherwise, is because they neglect to look back at both what worked and what didn’t work in the year before. The entire reason for setting goals, is because you wish to move forward instead of staying where you are. In order to do that you need to remember (or perhaps even realize) what stopped you from achieving all you wished to in the past year.
Reflection of this type can be difficult, especially because we tend to dwell on the negative, so make sure that while you recognize what didn’t work, you celebrate what did work. Think too about the lessons you can take from the things that held you back, and plan routes around those obstacles, so they no longer stop you from achieving your goals.
We all have many things we want to accomplish, both personally and professionally, and it can be easy, particularly with the energy from a New Year, so set too many ambitious plans. We can’t do everything, so part of effective goal setting is choosing which goals to focus on in this upcoming year.
The other aspect of this is remembering that goals can (and sometimes should) change. We cannot account for all of the external challenges life might throw at us. Set goals with positive intentions, but if one of those unfortunate life challenges is thrown at you, remember to allow yourself space and time to handle that challenge. You can always return to your goals, or change and adapt them to your situation.
#3. Create an action plan:
It can be very easy to set nebulous goals that are lofty, but ultimately leave us feeling overwhelmed. For example, a goal like ‘Publish three novels this year”, sounds excellent, but it doesn’t provide you with a clear action plan on how to accomplish this goal. Articulating all the steps you must take in between where you are now, and where you wish to be makes it considerably more likely that you will actually follow through. I like to do this by creating daily habits I need to create, weekly projects that will help move me forward, and monthly milestones so I can assess where in the process I am, and what might need to change moving forward. Breaking a big goal down into smaller, manageable steps helps you create solid progress on a daily basis.
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