A lot of people approach a new year with lofty goals and a list of things they want to do but many times, those lists and goals have floundered by week three or been completely forgotten by week 8. It’s most obvious in places like gyms where the sudden influx of people thins out observably. I have zero experience with that but my husband does the gym thing very regularly and he’s always a little annoyed the first few weeks of the year when his gym has too many people even at 5am.
I have the daily goal of 1500 words per day but there’s no one who will know, notice, or care if I flub it for three weeks straight (as I have through all of December). Sometimes I have a very hard time keeping myself accountable when there’s no real consequence for not keeping to my goals. When I have accountability in the form of deadlines, I do better (at least as long as I can actually type). Even posting here to the blog isn’t really any sort of accountability. I do miss my Dad a lot at times like these as he would often text me and ask me how many words I’d written that day.
When you’re setting goals, it is all too easy to set these big lofty goals – write five books, publish 80 short stories, lose 50 pounds – but if you do that often enough, you’re going to get discouraged. Even if you KNOW you’re setting an improbable goal, not reaching it is a blow. I did this exact thing for years and my confidence suffered greatly for it. Hell, I’m still suffering the effects of it.
Sarah’s Rules for Goals:
- Make them attainable. Many small goals can be better for the psyche than a few lofty, hard to reach ones.
- Do not make goals of things you can’t control. If attaining your goal is dependant on the actions or opinions of someone else, it’s more of a wish than a goal.
- Make your goals measurable. It’s a lovely thing to want to write more but what exactly is more? Give yourself an actual number or page count or even by chapter but make it something you can track and measure and not a whispy idea of a goal.
- Celebrate each small goal when you’ve achieved it. Every long journey is made up of small steps. Sometimes we get so lost in the big picture that we forget how awesome it is that we’ve made it this far (I am especially guilty of this!). This is especially effective if you have no accountability except to yourself.
Tips on Accountability:
- Find an accountability partner who understands your goals and whose goals you understand so you can help each other better and touch base frequently.
- Reward yourself for reaching goals. I find that negative reinforcement doesn’t work nearly as well for me as positive reinforcement so, treat yourself to that cake or that prize when you’ve reached your goal and you’ll be more likely to hold yourself to a greater standard.
I’d love to hear your opinions and ideas on this too!