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Monday, December 29, 2008

Goal Setting for the New Year

Well, it's that time of the year again. Goals are a mixed bag: on the one hand, they give you something to shoot for, yet on the other, sometimes they're just something to make you feel guilty. Every year I like to set just a few, very specific, goals, realistic things that I commit myself to. For 2008, for example, my goal was to have a published book by the end of the year. And here it is!

So, how do you set goals? This is my usual routine:

First, I figure out what I want my life to look like next year. Nothing elaborate, but one or two basic things. The best goals are those with a realistic, specific outcome; for example, for 2009 I want to complete drafts of two manuscripts. Don't set your goal outcome to be something beyond your control e.g. to win that award -- instead make it that you will meet all deadlines, and work X amount of time, and produce Y output, to enter the contest.

Next, break the goal down: all of the steps that will be necessary to complete this goal. Then, divide the steps up into 12 months. Determine how much output on a weekly basis you need to do in order to meet this goal.

Some helpful tips to keeping goals are:

1. make sure this is a goal you REALLY want, not something that you think you *should* do but you won't stick with.

2. This is the most important step. If you do nothing else, do this one:


3. keep a log in a notebook or on the computer that you write in weekly or preferably more often. Write down how you've met your output for the week, other problems that have cropped up, and how you'll need to manage them -- all the notes to help keep you on track.

4. Remind yourself why it's important to accomplish this goal. Write it down periodically.

5. Every time you've met a weekly or small goal, take a moment to tell yourself you did a good job! If it's something bigger, maybe you can go out to dinner or watch a movie or do something else for fun.

6. If possible, find an accountability partner who will (nicely) ask you how you're doing.

So, what are some of your goals? Have you met your goals in the past? How did you do it?

~happy new year, my dear friends~


Anonymous said...

Great post!

So, what are some of your goals? Have you met your goals in the past? How did you do it?

I can attest to the "accountability" portion of goal setting. I have an accountability group (two other ladies) with whom I meet every Sunday. We have a few questions we discuss each week to keep us focuses. Our main goal is to keep each other focused on God's word and being Godly wives for our spouses. Between the three of us, we have over 54 years of marriage, it's a strong group.

Anyway, we will share our 2009 goals together and hold each other accountable. It's a great system. And it works.

So, bless you on your goals for 2009!!! Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

This is a timely message for me! It's stepping on my toes a little bit.

I've been lying awake nights for the past week or so trying to figure out how I'm going to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished. But I'll be honest, there are so many IMMEDIATE tasks demanding my attention that it's hard to look past them to the end of 2009 to formulate an actual goal. This is often the way my life is... I'm so busy trying to keep up with today's to-do list that I don't look past today. Because of that, my goals have a tendency to be unspecific and unwritten. (Maybe that's part of the reason why I GAINED 11.5 pounds on last year's diet.)

I'm going to re-read the post and ponder it more deeply. 'Cause I'm tellin' ya, something's gotta give! I've got to get a handle on this mountain I'm facing or else I might just get killed in the avalanche!

-- Sarah M. Salter

Lydia said...

Thanks, Amy. This sounds like a wonderful plan that I can use to finish and submit my current ms. 2009, I'm ready for you!