Setting Goals

Like a lot of people, I’ve joined the Fitbit bandwagon. It was an easy choice for me, because through my employer’s wellness plan, I get points for participating and that means money in my pocket. And money always motivates me! ;o)

Anyway, my Fitbit came loaded with a goal of 10,000 steps a day. That seemed doable at first, but I quickly learned it was a HUGE challenge for me. I commute (a little over an hour a day), sit at a desk all day, then come home and write. Yeah, steps don’t come easy for me. As I evaluated my goals at the end of 2017, I realized that, yet again, I rarely reached my step goal. And that frustrates the heck out of me. What I also had to admit was that I didn’t even try anymore.

So I reevaluated my goal and reset my Fitbit for a goal of 5,000 steps a day. By the way – I usually get 2500 – 3000 steps in an average day, so this goal was still a stretch for me. What happened was that I would check my Fitbit, see how close I was to my goal, and I’d walk, workout, dance, to get those extra steps. And here’s what happened:

I increased my steps by 13%. In the previous two weeks, I only reached 5,000 steps one time, when my goal was 10,000 steps. But now that my goal is 5,000 steps, I’ve reached that goal 6 times. That’s pretty darned impressive.

The same thing happens with writing. I’ve competed in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a dozen times. When doing that, my goal is to write 1,776 words a day. By the end of the month, my fingers hurt, my eyes hurt, my brain hurts – and I nearly always end up in a Lupus flare. So, this year I’m trying a different plan – a goal of 1,000 words a day. I’ve kept it up far longer than NaNo, and I feel like my writing is better. Plus, I’m not killing myself doing it! Bonus!

This is exactly the method I teach in Blank to 50K. I coach writers through the writing process, 1,000 words at a time. If you’re ready to reach your goal of writing a novel, join Blank to 50K. Make yourself a priority, make your goals reality. And if you’re in the Fitbit community, let me know if you want to be “friends.”

Dream Tomorrow

Dream Tomorrow

Dream Tomorrow

Dream Tomorrow.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the vinyl wall decor above is displayed in my living room (I made it myself!). It’s my mantra.

Dream Tomorrow is my daily reminder that my dreams will only come true tomorrow if I plan for them today.

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

With the start of a new year, I often spend at least an hour or two planning my goals for the year. Here’s my process – give it a go and see if it works for you:

Big Picture Goal: What do I want to accomplish this year? Think in terms of financial, professional, health or personal goals. Publish a novel. Lose at least ten pounds. Save a thousand dollars. Write each of these at the top of a different piece of paper. Bonus points if you write them in your day planner (and if you are looking for a print it yourself planner page, please check out my Etsy store – the download is only $1).

Stepping Stones: These are the smaller milestones that you need to do in order to reach your Big Picture Goal. For instance, my Big Picture Goal is to publish a novel. Some of the smaller milestones I need to reach in order to make my dream come true are (1) write the draft of the novel, (2) edit/rewrite the novel, (3) polish the novel, (4) line edit the novel for grammar, punctuation and spelling, (5) research agents and/or publishers, and, finally, (6) submit.

Daily To-Dos: These are just what they sound like – the things that you need to put on your to-do list to make it happen. For instance, while I am drafting a novel, I will write “WRITE 250 words” on my to-do list every day until I type those two magical words “THE END.” The important thing here is to be specific. Don’t write “write” without setting a goal for yourself. This is where you need to be tough. Be your own coach. Set a task and make sure you do it.

What are some of your Big Picture Goals for 2014?

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