I loved Lee’s post about accountability partners. Having my own team has made all the difference. They are a support group, task masters when needed, cheerleaders, editors, and friends. Writing is hard. Having people who understand that, and want you to succeed is critical.
But my post today is about goals. And making them achievable.
It all started with my FitBit.
I set a 10,000 step a day goal. I walk a lot, and was frequently hitting 8,000 steps a day. But I was rarely making the 10,000 steps. So I was failing at my goal, and beating myself up for it. I decided to lower the goal to 8,000 steps a day, and see how that worked for me overall. In the two weeks since I lowered the goal, I walked more steps each week then when I was aiming for 10,000. Since I can meet the goal, I do.
We all hear about the write 1000 words a day goal. Or edit for one hour. Or write a scene. And I think they are all great ways to make writing a habit, and it does work. But what happens if you can’t make the daily goal? Do you give up? No, you adjust. Maybe 250 words is the daily goal during crazy busy weeks. You can make that, and more.
Writing is a long, hard slog to get the words out of your brain, and arranged in a way that tells the story you wanted to tell. There are a lot of ways to do that, but no shortcuts. It is hard work. Wanting to put yourself through that process is both a blessing and a curse. So make it as easy on yourself as you can. Set achievable goals. Then develop the discipline to meet them.
And enjoy the journey. Unattainable goals make the work about the goal, and not the work itself.
Do you set goals for yourself? Are they achievable, or do they make you stretch?
Julie Hennrikus writes short stories as J.A. Hennrikus, and mystery novels as Julianne Holmes. She also blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors.
17 thoughts on “Making the Goals Achievable”
I was just thinking about the writing process, and that I haven’t one, really. Making a goal to just sit down each day is a good start for me. I’ll go for 20 minutes (as time gets away from me when I begin anyway, so I’m sure to reach it). Thank you for this insight! I feel blessed to have come across this blog.
I am still working on my process! It is hard to juggle work, life, and writing. But sitting down for twenty minutes a day, or bringing a notebook with you to grab time when you can, and then transcribe at night. Whatever works for you–give yourself a break. Good luck!
I find the only way I can get things done is to set goals for myself, but as you say, being able to suit those goals to different days works best 🙂
Different days do make such a difference!
I set goals for myself every week, but I loved Lee’s suggestion that I find a partner to ensure I hold myself accountable. The hubby and I are going to start creating 1-3 weekly goals which we will assign on Sunday and review on Friday. Hopefully even my eldest kiddo will get involved making it a family affair.
That sounds like a great plan. Especially the check-ins! Hope it goes well.
I’m a list-maker. I set monthly, weekly and daily goals for myself. But I discovered some time ago that setting too many goals is unproductive. I had unrealistic expectations of what I could achieve, first juggling a full-time job with parenthood and trying to throw my writing into the mix, and then swapping the job for the rigours of sailing. So I pared down the lists and now set myself (usually achievable) goals. Instead of feeling like a failure at the end of the day/week/month for not being superwoman, I now accomplish my goals and feel positive about what I have done. It’s a minor shift in mental attitude, but it makes all the difference.
I also like Lee’s suggestion about the accountability partner. It’s like going on a diet. If you tell people, you are more likely to stick to it. If you keep it to yourself then no-one’s any the wiser when you devour a slice of cake at morning coffee. I have a couple of friends who write. I rarely see them, but we email a lot. We tell each other our writing goals. I find I’m more likely to see a project to completion if I’ve told my friends about it. Maybe it’s just a matter of saving face, and trying to show that I can walk the walk. But hey, if it works…
I agree, the mental shift makes all the difference. Thanks for the comment!
This is an awesome read. Goals always need to be obtainable or they eventually cease to exist. Thanks for posting
Thanks for commenting!
Excellent piece! I was frustrating myself as a beginning golfer until Hub said “Forget about the course pars. Set your own realistic personal pars for each hole Or just take pleasure in putting sequential shots together.” Now I enjoy being out there without disappointing myself.
It’s the same with writing. I write reams of notes and quotes and musings – filling a couple notebooks a week. But if none of it “jells” into a coherent, interesting post in my mind, i don’t stress about getting words on paper just because “I have a goal to write.”
Practicing my craft is pleasurable and doable. Publishing posts to meet my arbitrary goal doesn’t make my juices flow.
Practicing the craft is really what it is all about, isn’t it? Thanks for the comment!
Thank you for this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I’ve set goals, but lately I have needed to adjust a little and have grace on myself. Writing is a long, difficult process, but it is so rewarding when day by day you can chip away at those larger goals you have set for yourself.
I agree about chipping away. And love the phrase “have grace on myself.” Absolutely! Good luck with your writing!
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I’ve been pretty bad with sticking to any goal lately, but if it’s small, then I guess it’s easier to stick to, and when you exceed it, you feel so proud 🙂