Last week social media was all a buzz about New Year’s resolutions. Facebook status comments offered summaries of people’s 2012 and their goals for 2013. Blogs gave statistics from last year and offered predictions for the New Year.
How about you? Are you making resolutions?
I don’t do well with general resolutions like those pictured.
BUT I am a goal setter. Goals help solidify intangibles into something tangible.
Consider this quote from Mario Andretti, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
As a former teacher, goals (aka objectives) were an integral part of my world. I watched lesson plan objectives produce learning success for students. So transferring goal setting to my writing career was a logical, easy progression.
For me, goal setting provides the target, and I can analyze why I missed the bull’s eye and adjust as I move toward success.
Knowledge is power. When I know what works, I can do more of it. When I know what doesn’t work, I can do less of it.
Goals work for me.
If you’re not one to set goals or make New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll love Juliet Marillier’s New Year’s blog post where she shared nine gifts for a writer’s focus in 2013.
- The wind in your hair, the rain on your skin, the sun on your back, the richness of freshly turned soil underfoot. (If you live in a city apartment, plant up some pots with flowers or vegies. Go for regular walks in the park, and use your five senses to experience nature. If you have a garden, make compost. Get your hands dirty!)
- The joy of providing a forever home for a shelter animal. (Not all of you will be able to do this, but it’s a great way to nourish the soul. If you can’t take on a homeless animal, you could volunteer to walk shelter dogs, or help out at a refuge.)
- Social interaction, and I don’t mean online! (Writers can easily get into the pattern of spending long hours alone, maintaining their social contacts mostly online. This is not great for your physical or mental health. Make an effort – go out to coffee with a friend once a week, join a book club, walk your dog at the park, meet like-minded people in the flesh.)
- Writing because you love it; loving what you write. (Because otherwise what’s the point?)
- Stretching yourself creatively. (Try a new genre; set yourself challenges in voice, point of view, vocabulary, structure)
- Making a virtue of ‘down time.’ (Try meditation, walking, Tai Chi, swimming, playing with your children or animals)
- Learning that the best motivation for getting on with things – your work in progress, your diet/exercise plan – does not come from the note on the fridge, but from deep within you. Changing your mindset; doing the right things not because you ought to, but because you want to.
- Being generous with your time, even if you don’t have much of it to spare. (Read to an elderly person; help out at your kids’ school; fill hampers for the needy.)
- Breathing. (Step away from your screen regularly. Go outside, look at something beautiful and breathe slowly for a few minutes. You live in the real world; it is the source of your inspiration. Honour and respect it with all its flaws.)
I love her ideas for enriching our creativity. Wonderful words of wisdom. You can read the whole blog here.
But I still believe in goal setting.
As a writer, I see this New Year as a blank book. Remember my New Year’s Eve post? If not, read it here.
We can fill the pages of 2013 any way we want. A goal plan isn’t required, but it might help us succeed.
Next Monday, I’ll share my goal setting process.