Last December, I did a Toastmasters speech about setting goals, and I thought, as the year winds down to a conclusion--and won't we be glad to see the back of it?--that I would reprise this entry from last year and expand upon it a little.
To recap that post, a goal has three parts, and those parts can be equated to the making a sandwich.
First, you set a goal. This is equivalent to deciding you are hungry and NEED a sandwich.
Now, you may not NEED to set a goal, but if you WANT to focus your efforts, it is where you start. You can see from that earlier post that my goal in 2015 was to submit something everyday for the year. In 2016, it was to make $5000.
Your goal can be simpler: write 100 words a day; submit to 5 new markets; find a writing group.
Or, it can be even more ambitious: get a New York publishing contract; land an agent; write 5000 words a day.
The important thing is to set a goal in the first place.
Secondly, you work to make that goal happen. Make the sandwich.
It was hard work to make that submission a day goal a reality--but I did it. In fact, I actually made over 400 submissions that year. Some days, it was a tiny submission--like a haiku sent to Haikuniverse. Some days it was a novel. The important thing was to submit something.
Getting to $5000 this year...didn't happen. But I got to over $2700...which was over a thousand more than my best year since I started keeping track.
Pushing for a goal helps you focus. It can increase your output. It gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment as you hit milestones. And, even if you don't reach the goal--working toward it makes you feel in control of your work.
The third section of the process is to reward success--eat the sandwich.
This is not a step you can skip. If you don't reward a successful goal's completion, you have given yourself no incentive to set another goal. However, make sure that your reward doesn't sabotage your NEXT goal.
For example, when I completed the submission a day goal, my reward was a few days off...and that really destroyed the goal to submit one thing a week that I made this year.
And, don't beat yourself up if you don't complete a goal. No, I didn't make my goals this year. However, I worked probably harder than ever to sell more books at conventions, to find new shows to sell at, to submit to higher paying markets. And next year, I will try again.
If you don't make your goals, adjust the next year. Build on what works. Re-evaluate what doesn't. Next year, I will be trying to write a piece a day--this is building on the submission a day goal of 2015. I will be shooting for $3500 in revenue. Still more than I made this year, but a more realistic advance on 2016's figures.
What are your goals? How will you accomplish them? I'd love to hear from you. :)