Beginning the new year is much like writing a new book. We have an idea, and we’re working out the details. There’s excitement, high hopes, blank pages, and a sense that anything can happen. This could be our best year ever! This could be our breakout (or “break in”) year! This could well be our year where we reach escape velocity.
Are you afraid to get your hopes up? Do you remember past years–maybe many past years–where you also had high hopes, but not much resulted from it?
This happens especially when you’ve tried hard. You’ve learned how to set goals. You’ve written them down because you’ve had it drilled into your head that writing goals down can almost make them magically happen! You’ve joined challenges, signed up for writing prompts, found accountability partners, become active in critique groups…you’ve “been there, done that.”
And yet, despite producing some good writing and making headway on your Internet presence and perhaps selling some and speaking some, 2014 fell far short of your goal list. In fact, you may have fallen short on lists from the last five years.
Thinking Back Before Going Forward
At the beginning of December, when I took time off from the blog, one of the things I did was go through 2014 and analyze why I succeeded with some things and failed with others. I kept backing up and asking myself, “What caused this?” I asked over and over, repeating the question for each failed goal, until I got to the bottom of it. [This would prove to be invaluable in my 2015 planning later.]
Here’s an example:
- Why did you quit on Book X when you were 2/3 finished? Answer: I got sick.
- What caused this? Answer: sleep deprivation mostly.
- What caused this? Answer: getting to bed too late.
- What caused this? Answer: being too tired to work, so I Web-surfed instead; hours used up during my daytime working hours because I couldn’t say ‘no’ when I should have; dealing with another adult’s personal problem brought on by herself which I should have handed right back.
So my 2015 goals don’t center around solving the problem of “don’t get sick–take more vitamins, go for a walk.” Instead I found ways to stay offline or lock myself offline, had talks with a couple of people about how much I could be available, and learned how to discern which responsibilities belonged to whom, and then only deal with my own. All of those issues contributed to not finishing that novel during the free time I had in 2014. I plan to finish it this year.
Your Best Year Ever
I decided this year that I would look for help from someone who had their act together more than I did! I signed up (with a 30-day money back guarantee) for Michael Hyatt’s“Your Best Year Ever” program. It’s certainly what I wanted (to have my best year ever), and with the three novel deadlines I have so far this year, I absolutely have to be more productive.
The program is a five-step process for creating goals, including motivation and accountability for achieving the steps. I won’t know if it works for a while yet, nor am I promoting his program. But I’ve had too many years in a row where I only accomplished about half my goals. I want and need this year to be different.
When I signed up for the program, it came with several freebies that I have found just as useful as the program itself. One was a video and workbook on “morning rituals,” specifics on how to set up your days for success. Another extremely valuable idea was a video/workbook plan for finding your “push goal.” A push goal is one that influences all your other goals and makes them much more likely to be accomplished.
What About Your Goals?
If you want to have a different kind of writing year, you will need to do some things differently. What will they be?
Maybe, like me, you want some personal coaching in setting up goals this time, in the hope that you’ll accomplish most (or all) of them this year. Other writers do it! Why not you and me?
Maybe you write very clear goals already, are already 100% motivated, but lack support. Your first goal may be to find a writing group, online or in your hometown library or bookstore.
Maybe, like one very successful writing friend of mine, you feel your need is more focus if you’re to attain your goals. She’s reading books on focus to find ideas. Another writer is changing genres and feels a real need for intensive study again in order to succeed in his goals.
Whatever your goals for 2015, take time now to figure out (1) why you didn’t meet some of your goals last year, and (2) what specific thing you need in order to boost your chances that 2015 will be a lot more productive.
Then aggressively hunt for a suitable solution, make it a priority, and set yourself up for huge success. Happy writing in 2015!