Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goals not Resolutions

by Velda Brotherton
We hear so much about what’s trending that we sometimes get in the rut of writing about the same subjects everyone else is. This time of the year it’s making New Year’s resolutions. But why not consider a terrific alternative. Let’s think about setting a few reachable goals.

The first thing I have to admit is that I stole this idea from a good friend who is an inspirational writer and speaker. The idea of writing about setting goals not making resolutions is hers. She writes that when we make resolutions we set ourselves up for failure, but when we set goals, we are constantly succeeding. Even if we don’t reach every goal we move forward with every step we take. The remainder of this blog is mine.

As the years catch up to me, I find myself wanting to finish more and more projects before I get too old to accomplish them. This year I will set goals that will take me toward finishing those projects. If we make lists of what will get done say in a day, a week, even a month we are more apt to achieve them. Tiny steps take us ever closer to achievement. Usually I don’t manage to complete everything on the list, but without that list I would not finish the majority of them. Probably wouldn’t even get started on some.

As writers, we face deadlines, and we’ve learned to meet them. Setting a writing goal becomes second nature. Butt in chair, keyboard under fingers, we work toward a daily goal. Some like to use time, say they will write for three hours a day. Others set a goal of so many words per day. That’s the way we write books.

A resolution is often an invitation for failure. Think about last year’s resolutions, if you made some. How many of them did you keep? By setting goals, we work our way toward fulfillment. There is no failure.

Some time back, while giving a workshop, I was told by a participant that she felt she was too old to begin a writing career. I urged her to set goals and not look back. Last week I took part in a book signing in which she participated. Her first book has been published by a prominent small publisher. She turned 81 this month. She has a publisher, has completed a long book signing tour during which she sold 90 books, and is working on the second book in her mystery series. This is a phenomenal achievement.

Setting goals is the secret to the success of most people, be they writers, sales persons, football players, or anything in between. It’s like climbing a mountain. Taking it in short spurts will get you there in better shape than trying to reach the summit the first day. Even if at the end of the day you are two miles from your first goal, you have made progress in trying to reach that goal. You have not failed.

It’s the same for anything we attempt. So this year, instead of making resolutions that can spell failure if you don’t keep them, set some goals that will bring about success, even if you don’t accomplish every one. You have not failed, you have accomplished something on the way to reaching your goals.



Jewel Amethyst said...

While setting goals make things achievable, resolutions do have their place and I think goals and resolutions are two different but complementary things.

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but in 2013, for the first time in years I made a New Years resolution to come out of my comfort zone and try things in writing I had never before done.

That year I published a young adult novella (Amazon Kindle Worlds). Continuing with the trend, the next year I published a Children's novel with a small publisher. They were things that were out of my comfort zone, but had I not made that resolutions to go out of my way just to get out of my comfort zone and try new stuff, I couldn't have accomplished that.

That said, If you set resolutions and don't set goals to achieve those said resolutions you are wasting your time. I began with a resolution, but I set goals to achieve the resolution. Resolutions and goals complement each other.

Linda Thorne said...

What an inspirational story about the 81 year old debut author. It goes to show you it's never to late to go after a dream. I believe life is for living it as if we'll live forever. We won't of course, but what a waste to see those people who give up on their dreams. There's no reason not to go after them even if it's just taking tiny steps at a time. Good post.

Charles Gramlich said...

It's been a bit hard for me to set goals the last few years because we've had so much health upheaval. I guess my main goal is to get in as much writing and relaxation as I can around the things that life deals us.

Liane Spicer said...

Breaking goals into small doable chunks works for me.

Of course, as Charles noted, life has a way of messing with the best made plans/goals, so my method of late is weekly goals that I stick to once God's willing and the creek don't rise.