Resolutions (Part 4)

We continue with our discussion of New Year’s Resolutions:

Do you have any tips for keeping true to your goals?

To keep true to your goals, really believe they are possible and work toward achieving them. Look for those moments that seem inspired by the universe, and use these moments to help launch your goal achievement forward. Don’t just expect things to land in your lap. Make a plan, and use it to move forward in life.—P. J. Hoover, author of the middle grade science fiction novel, THE EMERALD TABLET.

I think one sometimes overlooked element here is knowing what you really want and being realistic about what is required to get it. A lot of people “want” to be writers or to have a published book, but they don’t actually want to spend much time writing. In that case, a goal isn’t going to do much good, I don’t think, unless that goal is more process-oriented, such as, “spend an hour a day writing” or “come up with a book project that I enjoy so much, I don’t want to do anything else.”—Joni Sensel, author of THE FARWALKER’S QUEST and other middle-grade and YA fantasies.

Joni makes a good point. This also brings up the difference between goals and tasks. A goal is a big step, like, “Become a published writer” or “Make over $20,000 by writing this year.” Tasks are the small, specific steps you need to take to get there. Even if you complete every task successfully, you may not reach the goal because some aspects are out of your control. Still, if you have a goal, you’ll have a much better chance of reaching it if you identify the intermediary tasks. They can also act as a reality check. For example, let’s say you’re a beginning writer who wants to sell a book manuscript this year. The first step might be to research what it takes to be published. You might learn that most writers have to spend several thousand hours studying and practicing before they get published. You realize that to study and practice writing for 2000 hours, you would have to work 40 hours a week for a year. You can’t do that. Maybe you bump back your goal of selling a book to five years and set a new goal of having two or three short stories ready for submission by the end of the year. Your tasks could be to spend five hours a week on writing, read a different children’s magazine every week, and take a summer writing class.—Chris Eboch, author of the middle grade HAUNTED series about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show.

The group was pretty quiet on this one, so Readers, help us out. Do you have any ideas?

Tomorrow: We wrap up with How do you celebrate success? What happens when you fail to achieve the goal?


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4 responses to “Resolutions (Part 4)

  1. Natalie Aguirre

    I think your points about that you can’t just have a goal but have to work for it is so true. And the goal has to be realistic to what work you’re willing to do.

    I think everyone’s goals will be individual, depending on their circumstances, whether they work at another job and how demanding it is, etc. I know my goals are much more low key than yours. I’m not published yet and work at a very demanding job. But I am really thinking of having some goals and trying to stick with them this year. I really appreciate the posts on goals.

    • Parker Peevyhouse

      Definitely–your goals are dependent on what you’re really WILLING to do. And with that comes the truth of what you can accomplish. If you’re really not willing to sleep only four hours a night so that you can work at your demanding job AND write a novel in the space of a few months, that’s okay. It’s true that you’re not going to land an agent six months from now with a more leisurely schedule, but that’s okay too.

    • I think one of the more important aspects of setting goals is that it’s an opportunity to sit down and think about priorities consciously, vs. just falling into them or letting them set themselves by default. Obviously feeding the kids, keeping a roof over your head, etc. have to be priorities. But it’s easy to look back on a year and think, “hey, TV or housework or getting my nails done wasn’t supposed to be a priority this year, but it stole the show!” More conscious work on goals tends to turn into more conscious work on priorities, and that’s what really dictates (consciously or unconsciously) where the time goes.

  2. Natalie Aguirre

    I agree with you both and this discussion is helping me decide to set more concrete goals. Thanks.

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