A New Year is just around the corner.
I do for the upcoming year what I also do for my birthdays. I don’t set resolutions, instead I set life goals. I write down what I want to work on and see accomplished in the next 12 months. New Year’s isn’t a time for me to party as much as it is a time for reflection.
First, I start with general goals grouped into categories under:
Then I identify major goals in each category. For example, in the career category, I am going to focus my writing on parenting this year. (Don’t worry, I’ll still write about my chickens.) I plan on pitching articles to, and writing for, national parenting magazines.
I also have *two* manuscripts that need to get brushed off, spiffed up and sent out for review. Enough is enough. Time to kick those little chicks out of the nest.
Those are my big goals, but I also have smaller ones, like write more consistently for various blogs, work on cleaning up my social media footprint, and create a self-marketing plan.
One thing I learned years ago when taking a goals class (yes there was such a thing) sponsored by my workplace was that while everyone knows how to set a goal (ex. I’m going to lose 25 pound this year) it’s the lack of breaking that goal down into achievable tasks that virtually guarantees it will not happen.
As a direct result of that class, for each of my goals, I then chunk them into smaller measurable bites. For example, during the month of January, I might do two article pitches and aim to write at least one article each week.
For my manuscripts, I’ll break those two humongous goals down into much smaller bites and will assign dates to each step. Final edits by the end of January, proposals written in February, queries begin in March, (champagne acceptance party in June?)
The final step to my things-to-accomplish plan is that I’m going to be accountable to another person for each of my goals. This means that I’ll state my goals and tasks to that person (and she to me) and then each week, we’ll report on our progress (or lack thereof.)
No shame in not making a scheduled goal, hey life happens, but by stating it, it’s reminding us that we still want to get it done. If we find a task keeps slipping from week to week, then it’s a sure sign we need to think about how important that task really is and if it should even be on our lists. I’ve done this type of teamwork before and it’s a powerful way to be accountable and get work done.
So this New Year’s eve, enjoy family and friends, certainly enjoy a drink or two (but please not too many, starting the new year with a hangover SUCKS) and take some time to honestly reflect on what it is you’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year – especially with your writing. Be accountable and absolutely commit to what you are capable of.
Put it in writing, say it out loud and then kick butt in 2015.
Best wishes for a happy, bright, and successful new year.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.