The New Year is upon us. I know. We're breathing a collectively sigh of relief, yet holding our breath at the same time. We don't want 2021 to be like 2020. So, let's not let it. Let's make it a great year. Let's take out this old year in the days that are left, make plans, and set goals, to make 2021 our best year ever.
For too many years to count, I have set goals-lifetime, ten year, five year, and yearly. So far, I have been lucky. Every goal I've set, I've attained, except one. More on that later. I've looked at what I've "really" wanted and gone for it.
When I was 23, I started my writing career. First, I just wanted to get published. I didn't care where. I had heard the odds were against me, so any publication was fine. Fearlessly, I sent out articles. Then, one day, I almost choked on my Sonic hamburger when the wind caught the pages of a magazine and blew it open to a page where my article was published. It was a magazine called Byline. The year was 1983.
Next, I set my sights on Writer's Digest. Within months, that was done and I not only cracked that market, I was writing for all their imprints regularly. That led to other national publications and a steady stream of newspaper articles.
After doing articles and interviews for a number of years, I aimed for books. I knew to get a book published, I'd have to write one. The first goal in that series was to write a page or a scene a day while keeping up with my articles. I did it and the next year, I published my first book.
Through the years, I wanted a degree. After I turned fifty, I started college. Received my degree four years later and a certification in Health Information Management.
Eighteen books, hundreds of articles, a degree and certification later, I've learned a little about setting goals and how to reach them. I'd like to offer a few of my suggestions below.
First, write your goals down. I tend to write mine at the beginning of the year. You don't have to choose that time, but I find a new year feels like a fresh start. There are two reasons to write them down. One, you have something tangible to guide you as you go forward and two, when you write them down, you become committed to those goals.
Next, I like to follow the SMART method of goal setting. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. I use this for my yearly goals as I work my way to my five, ten and lifetime goals. Let's look at each one of these areas a little more closely.
Specific - Instead of writing down, I want to write an article, write I want to write a how-to article about how to get a better job.
Measurable - It's one thing to say I want to write and another to say I want to write an article a month. Without something you can measure, how do you know you'll ever reach the goal? And reaching a goal is a mighty satisfying feeling.
Attainable - Look at what you want and see if it is reachable this next year. I am a firm believer that anyone can achieve anything they want if they want it badly enough. However, if you want to run the Boston Marathon, but walking across your living room floor leaves you out of breath, it's probably not going to happen in the next 6 months. But, you can set a goal of running x number of miles by the end of the year.
Which brings us to:
Relevant - Is the goal you are setting now going to help you reach your five year or ten year goal? If you have big goals, breaking them down in to smaller, yearly goals, can help you reach them faster. If you want to run a marathon, starting out with one mile one month, three the next, five the next, will get you where you want to be at the end of the year. Just make sure your smaller goals can get you to the next level.
Time-Bound - Set a time limit as to when you plan on reaching your goal. For instance, for a yearly goal you can write, "By the end of this year, I will have twelve articles written and half of them published." Then break that down monthly. January, write one article or chapter of that book you've been wanting to write. February, do another one. March, another.
By breaking down your goals into smaller segments and completing them, you can reach your ultimate goal. You just have to keep trying and moving forward, even when you feel like you're moving backwards. (We'll talk about that in a later blog.)
So, what is the only goal I've not reached yet? The Bestsellers' List. I will continue striving to get there. I think of all the people who have made it before me, the struggles they've faced and yet, they did it. I will be one of those stories too.
If you'd like to share your goals, have questions about goal setting or writing, or simply want to keep up with my journey, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.deborahbouziden.com and I'll add you to my email list.
Until Next Time, Keep Chasing Your Dreams~
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