|Shoot for your target|
Perhaps in light of the end of the old year and the beginning of this new one, you’ve already chosen some resolutions or formed some goals for 2016. While I have done the whole New Year’s resolution thing (see previous post), in the last few years I’ve moved away from that tactic and elected to create ‘long-term’ goals that have short-term measurable objectives.
The reason for the switch? It’s pretty much an accepted fact that most people’s New Year resolutions fall flat. Whether it’s unrealistic expectations, failure to follow through, or the general busyness of life, people give up quickly. Often the primary problem is the lack of a practical action plan.
Think about that. Do you have a plan for this year’s success? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goals if you haven’t set any objectives or have a way of measuring your achievement? They say that when you fail to make a plan, you are essentially planning to fail. Don’t let that be the case for you! Write down your goals and figure out how you’re going to make them happen.
Here’s an example that might help you get started. It’s directed at writers, but I’m sure you can get the idea, and the book mentioned in point four is amazing for anyone, no matter what good habit s/he may be trying to form.
1) Determine the best time of day to write. Are you an early riser? A night owl? Do you need to work around family or work obligations? Don’t be so tied to a schedule that you won’t change in response to new demands.
2) Identify three or four writing goals. Set objectives and create a way of measuring achievement. If goals are overly vague, results will be less than stellar. Too many goals spread you too thin and produce defeat. Fewer goals encourage you and set you up for success.
3) Write every day, even if it’s just in response to a writing prompt you’ve found in a book or online. Some writers set a daily word or page count goal and won’t quit until they’ve met it. Habits are powerful.
4) If you’re stuck, seek out excellent resources and apply the lessons that fit your personality and situation. Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before is a wonderful treatise on the subject of habit-formation. It was from her use of the term ‘obliger,’ for example, that I realized I’d be more likely to reach writing targets if I had an accountability partner.
Whatever last year was like for you, next year can be an entirely different story, one you get to write. I wish you the very best as you reflect on, plan and execute your goals. Ready, set, go!