Got Goals?

Well hello there! Thanks for checking back - all you wonderful and faithful readers.

It has been a great week, we are nearly rounding out January already, can you believe it? It was busy, but I prefer busy weeks, they keep me productive and productivity gives me energy. It’s quite a happy little cycle. A lot seems to be going on with my day job, and it has dominated a good portion of my mental space this past week. I managed to get all my goals for the week met, which is wonderful, but I do find it challenging to find balance while meeting all my daily goals.

I started doing a little research into how to make sure you meet your goals while finding a healthy balance, and I have to say… there’s not a lot of information for it out there!

There are lots of links and videos on how to obliterate your goals in 2017, lots on how to actually create goals, but not a lot to help you achieve your goals without it overriding everything in life. The lack of information on this has led me to one of three options.

Option #1 – I have set too many goals and I have over estimated what a normal human being is capable of in 24 hours.

Option #2 – I need to either quit my day job or give up sleep to make sure these goals get done.

Option #3 – I need to find another universe where there are more than 24 hours in a day.

Now, I love the idea of option #3, but it’s not exactly an immediate solution. So that leaves me with option #1 or option #2, which, neither are really up for debate. I love my job, and I love sleep, so option #2 is out. My first quarter goals are very specific for a reason. I have chosen to have my first draft of my novel complete by February 28th. (I bumped the due date because I have a trip to Mexico in the works, and I don’t want to be writing when I am on vacation, but I do want to take the down time to edit my novel. This would mean I need to have my first draft ready to be edited) I need to have this ready to go out to Beta readers in April – which one of my second quarter goals is to find Beta readers, but that will be announced in due time. I know that the day job dominates a large portion of my time and energy from July to November, so I have to assume that those months are a write off.

Back to my goals. I have set them this way to try to be as productive as possible when I have a clear mind and a less demanding schedule at work. So in order to accomplish these goals I really have to focus and achieve a lot on a daily basis. My typical day, starts at 5am, when I can start my morning with a coffee, the local news and ease into my day. I get ready for work, and head out. I do my 8-5 and if I can, on my lunch break I have been trying to fit in my 1200 words for my WIP. If I can’t, then that’s one more thing to fit into my evening. I get home around 6 and prep dinner. I try to get my writing in while dinner is cooking, and if I don’t finish, I complete my word count after dinner, then head to bed, read for my 30-45 minutes and sleep around 9pm. I have more time on my weekends, but if I let any of my goals wait until the weekend, I probably wouldn’t see my husband for the first 3 months of the year. 

So when we talk about balance, what does that entail for you? For me it is not only having super busy and productive days at work, it is getting closer to achieving my overall goals, while having enough down time so that I don’t have to feel like I am running steady from sunrise to sunset. I think the key to having balance isn’t just to say “I want to achieve balance” but to actually work a specific goal into your daily, monthly or quarterly goals. By doing this, you achieve so much more because it is not just blind run at a finish line; it is planned and organized in a way that you ensure you achieve it along with your productivity goals.

So how do we really achieve our goals? How do you make sure that the goals you set are accomplished? Well, let me start by saying I am not a guru in the goal realm. I am proud when I do accomplish what I have set out to, but it doesn’t always happen. I will run through a couple examples of what I am doing this quarter to make sure I achieve as many of my goals as possible, maybe some of them will help you.

So I have started out by really understanding what it is I want to do, setting hard deadlines, and very specific goals (such as I want to have 85,000 words completed in my debut novel by February 28th) A specific goal gives you structure and that will allow you to break your larger goals – mine are quarterly – into smaller goals. Using my example, in order to achieve 85,000 from where I started the year, I will have to write 1200 words a day until the end of February.

Next you have to really take a look at what you have to and are willing to give up to accomplish those goals.  For me, it was a matter of giving up the extra tv time, or relaxing with my husband after work (Instead we chat about our day at dinner, and when I get home from work I head up to my office and get to writing) Are you willing to give up certain things in order to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself?

The biggest step I have to take in achieving my goals is not allowing my goal to be an option. If you have told yourself that you are going to work out three times a week to get healthier, you cannot get to the end of the week, have two workouts done and think “it’s ok, I can make up for it next week!” It cannot be an option of whether or not you achieve it, because when it comes to “making up for it” you rarely ever will. My goal, as I have mentioned, is 1200 words a day. I had a bit of writer’s block on Friday and yesterday. I had just moved past a really difficult scene and didn’t really know how to move on. I allowed myself the down time on Friday, which allowed me to make Saturday an option, which then today, I am 2400 words behind, and that’s not an option. I locked myself in my office until I completed the full 3600 words (2400 plus today’s 1200). It wasn’t an option to miss it, and so I had to give up an afternoon of Netflix in order to accomplish my goal.

How about organization? I have just bought a new agenda to keep myself in line. I set my goals daily in my planner and ensure that each night I follow up and check off all that were achieved. I also have an app for this. I’m using Productive. It’s a goal-setting app that sends you notifications when you haven’t accomplished all you set out to. It is so satisfying to look in my planner and know that I have accomplished everything for that day.

I also have a goal board. It is in my walk in closet, so that every morning when I go to get ready for my day, I am reminded of the things I intend to do that day to get my closer to my goals.

How about having someone hold you accountable? Do you tell anyone about your goals? Talk about what you plan on doing, or have someone who challenges you- “how’s writing going?” “Did you enjoy your workout?” It’s difficult to admit that you didn’t accomplish something to someone else, so it keeps you motivated to strive to achieve your goal. I post on social media before I start a writing session, and typically I get people at work, or friends ask me the next day about the scene, or if I got it done, or how the book is coming. These all help me to really make sure I am holding myself accountable to what I have said I am doing.

In the end, it’s great to have goals, it’s better to have attainable and balanced goals, and it is one hell of a rush when you can put a check beside completed goals. Leave me a comment or send me a message with the things you’re working towards, and I will make sure I hold you accountable for yours as well!

Hope you all have a happy, balanced and productive week this week! I am off to do laundry (hopefully only one round of laundry- read my first post if you don’t yet know my own secret resolutions that I would rarely admit in public)