More About Goals, and Free Stuff for You!
My last post was about some fundamentals of setting and maintaining goals. I want to unpack that a little more this week and provide a resource for you that can help keep track of your goals.
One way I like to think about goals is to start with macro. Start big, look long term. Where do you see yourself in a year? What are the steps you need to take over the next 12 months to get there? Then, we tighten the microscope a little bit. What are some goals we need to set each month so that after 12 months, we can arrive at our goal? Basically, we want to string together 12 small goals to make one big goal. Make sense?
Then, I like to take it a step further. What are 4 goals I can string together to make a month's worth of goals? After that, I may even look at the day level, depending on the type of goal.
Think of it kind of like a road trip. You may decide you want to travel from Kansas City to Las Angeles, but it's not enough to just say "I'm going to go that way!" and then proceed in that direction. With GPS these days, it's not far from that, but bear with my analogy for a moment. You will look at a map, or even the overview in your GPS and see that you have to go to Topeka, change highways at Oakley, Colby, Limon then Denver, then change highways a few more times to Las Vegas, then again to cross the last few hours to L.A. The point is, there's a lot of steps along the way, and if you don't take it in small chunks, you'll likely end up missing a turn and find yourself lost in New Mexico. Nobody wants that.
To set goals, we must work the same way: you can have really ambitious and awesome long-term goals, but if we don't plan for the bite-size chunks, we'll never know where to start. Have you ever been to a hole-in-the-wall burger place where they serve you a burger bigger than your head and you can only stare at it, wondering where to even start? It's kind of like that. Let's cut that burger into fourths and dive in.
So what can this mean for writers? We need to look at where we want to be in a year and work backward from there. Maybe you want to start getting in the habit of writing intentionally instead of just whenever inspiration strikes. So lets set a goal to write for 400 hours in 2018. Sure, that doesn't seem like very many, but that's over an hour per day. Once you start tracking, you'll be able to easily see if that's too easy or not, and adjust accordingly. But you'll never know if you don't have a long-term goal and you're not tracking it.
One of my favorite long-term goals to track is words. It's an easy goal to set, and even easier to track with tools like Scrivener. For example, my goal is to write 300,000 words in 2018. That's 25,000 words a month, so about half of a NaNoWriMo goal. It's just over 800 words per day. It might be a lot, and I'll have to step up my writing game some to get there, but I know what projects I want to finish next year, and where I want to be this time in 2018, so I'm doing what it takes. With future thinking, I know what to do with my present.
How to Count Your Goal
How do you choose what counts toward your goal? That's easy: you get to choose. If your goal is counting words, then count whatever you think should count. For example, you better believe I'm counting the 876 words in this blog post towards my goal. There are no rules about this, and that's part of the beauty—you get to make the rules. So make them in such a way that you get to win.
A lot of this section is inspired by Jon Acuff's Finish, especially when it comes to setting yourself up to win as you work toward your goals.
Two weeks from today is December 1st. I believe it's important to get a let up on our goals, and that includes building good habits for New Year's Resolutions. Give goal tracking a try for the month of December, I think you'll like it.
So, I've put together a resource for authors and writers who want to attack their goals better, or even just keep track of their writing progress. I use this tool each and every day to see where I'm at and where I can improve. I hope it's as useful to you as it is for me!
When you sign up, you'll receive a tracker for the month of December in your email shortly. Then, toward the middle of December, you will receive a new tracker for all of 2018. This is all completely free, no gimmick! I hope you take advantage of a really great resource.
Here's a quick video talking through what to expect with the file and how to use it: