Making Realistic Goals

We all need goals.  Goals are good, because they make sure we’re moving forward in life instead of just going through the motions in life.  Earlier this month, a lot of people think they made some goals for the year.

Except they didn’t.  They made wishes, and most of them are already given up on.

I want to talk about realistic goals today, but before we can do that, we need to talk about the difference between a goal and a resolution.  I hate that word, resolution.  It’s such a vague, feel goody word that doesn’t really mean a damn thing when in relation to some silly promises we all made while drunk on a cold winter night.  A goal is a far different beast.  It’s something you’re working toward.  It’s something you’re going to do, not something you want to do.

Now let’s talk about what’s a realistic goal, and what’s a bad one.

1. A good goal takes reality into consideration.

A good goal- I’m going to self publish an e-book this year.  A bad goal- I’m going to self publish an e-book this month.  Why is that a bad goal?  It’s not taking reality into consideration.  It’s not realistic to think I’ll have the time to plan, write, edit and publish a book in a month.

2. A good goal has a plan of action.

I want to write an e-book.  The first thing I do is list all the things I need to do to make that happen.  Then I focus on getting the first goal done.  Then the next, then the next.  In this way, I’m taking a very large goal, and breaking it down.This is also important for the next step.

3. A good goal can be broken down month by month, week by week, and day by day.

I know that this month, I have a very small goal, because I have a lot of other things going on.  I want to write a list of e-book ideas, and pick one.  Next month I’ll see what I’ve already written towards that, what I need to write still, and I can start on that writing.  March and April I’ll be writing, May editing, June piecing it together, July I’ll have something to beta readers while I research e-book publishing which will take me into August, September some final edits, and October I’ll have a finished piece ready to sell.  See, simple steps and a basic time line.  With several months of cushion built in, because-

4. A good goal is flexible, but not too flexible.

I want to have the whole project done by the end of the year, but I can probably have it done by October.  But I might not.  I might not get enough feedback from my beta readers, I might draw a blank when it comes to new stories, I might not finish my rough draft on book two in time, and I really can only handle having one rough draft going at a time.  So, I plan to be done by October, but I’m not going to beat myself up about if it doesn’t happen.  I will beat myself up if it doesn’t happen by December.

So, if you’ve already given up on your resolutions, that’s fine.  Throw them away, and make some realistic goals instead.

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