January. Bitter cold. Gray skies and white snow-covered ground. The Christmas lights are down, the bills have come in and it’s time to buckle down and work on those resolutions. Kill me now.
Instead of making resolutions this year, I’m joining several other writers to set up goals for myself. Real, concrete, measurable goals that will leave me with something to show for my efforts in 2011.
I never did like resolutions. The day always came when I ate the cookie or spaced off the exercise regimen. Then that little voice would start in: “See? You can’t do this after all. You should have known better than to try.” If I could, I’d beat the Internal Naysayer to death with the toilet brush. If I have learned one thing, it is that everyone fails at something, sometime. Accept this. Then get back up, brush yourself off and remind yourself of why you made that resolution to begin with.
Why did you want to go to that yoga class three times a week? Did you want a stronger, more flexible body? To get toned up in time for bathing suit season? To relieve stress? The answer to ‘why?’ is the goal. It doesn’t matter if the resolution involves a diet, a budget, a class or time spent with loved ones. The reason why you made it is what you want to accomplish.
In 2011, I want to finish my WIP and hopefully one more book after that. Why? Because then I’ll have two manuscripts to submit to agents and editors. And if they sell, cha-ching! Money and another publishing credit. Put in those terms, why would I not work on my goal every day??
Back to that failure thing. Life isn’t going to stop throwing curve balls (or hairballs, car problems, and extra reports) just because we want to go to yoga class, set aside money for a new car or meet a minimum word count. The goal will still be there when the phone call or last-minute snafu has been taken care of. True, life does throw things at us that are so monumental all our goals need to be reassessed. But I’m talking about day to day nuisances, not catastrophes. Maybe there is so much going on in your life that a small adjustment is needed in your daily or weekly goals, say two times a week at yoga class instead of three. Just don’t give up your goal completely! Remember why you wanted to reach it in the first place.
I’m tracking my progress toward my goals this year in a $6 desk calendar. On the days when I miss my word count goal, I write down why. For some comfort, I note what I do accomplish every day, writing-related or not. I can literally see where my time goes and keep myself on track.
Meeting a goal give a sense of accomplishment as well as the tangible benefit you wanted in the first place. We all deserve that feeling of success. Go for it!
What would you like to do in 2011?