Tips for Goal Setting (& My 2019 Goals!)

With every new year comes a slew of new goals and all the optimism associated with a fresh start. There is something so enticing about it – a clean slate. 365 days of new possibilities. Even if time is purely a construct, and new goals can be started at any point during the year. It’s a ritual, and there is something intoxicatingly optimistic about this time of year. Despite the naysayers, it’s nice to see everyone trying to do better and be better.

I am no different.

For years now I’ve been setting new goals for January 1st, filled with the same eagerness and anticipation that accompanies the start of every calendar year.

The second half of 2018 was so much better than the first – I found my focus, and I knew what I wanted to accomplish, and how to accomplish it. I figured out the process that worked best for me. Thus with the arrival of 2019, I feel more prepared than ever to achieve my goals, only this time I know I can be more realistic about them, and more forgiving if I don’t reach them.

And I think that part is important – not only the setting of goals but realizing that despite the promise of a new year, life will inevitably throw you curve balls. Your mental health will inconvenience you at the worst of times. You might have to deal with unexpected illness or injury. You can’t predict what the next 365 days will carry your way, and all you can do is the best you can with the time you have. Sometimes that means you can’t accomplish what you set out to do, or you have to settle for less. In the end, what matters is not if you reached it, but if you tried, and kept trying.

The same applies to this year and every year afterwards – You must try, and continue to try. There will always be bumps on the road, but don’t let them throw you off course.

Some of the things I want to accomplish this year include:

  • Editing The Wolves of the Far North to the point where it is ready to query
  • Posting here at least twice a week
  • Writing at least 4 short stories (and submitting at least one to various short story markets)
  • Writing the rough draft of Peculiar Casebook Episode 1
  • Writing a rough draft of a new wip
  • Start streaming on Twitch
  • Open an Etsy store
  • Start a monthly newsletter
  • Start a podcast
  • Get back into Yoga
  • Find a new job
  • Eat healthier and more affordably
  • Pitch at least 5 articles to various websites

Aside from things that seem a bit nebulous, like doing yoga and eating healthier, I can tell that these goals are pushing me towards three specific ends: more written drafts in my portfolio, creating robust and high-quality content to grow my blog, and to get myself out there and network more. All of the things on my to-do list are somehow connected to one of these three goals, but I’ve given them a measurable form. Breaking projects down into quantitative goals, and understanding your current capabilities is key to achieving them. Unfortunately, what you are capable of can be a difficult thing to learn until you have tried and failed a few times.

I set a rather ambitious set of goals this year, but at the same time, I think most if not all of them are achievable. Especially now that I have a much better understanding of what works for me – when I work best, how I can be productive, and when I need to give myself a little break. Understanding my process over the past few months was crucial, and has taught me a lot about how to be my most productive self. Another reason why a planner or bullet journal (digital or otherwise) might be beneficial to you, but I’ll save that for another post.

If you didn’t succeed last year, learn from it. Why didn’t it work out? What could you have done differently, if anything? Failures might feel like setbacks but they are steps in the right direction – attempts that didn’t quite make it. Every attempt is teaching you something and getting you closer to that moment when you get it right. When you make it happen. When you reach that goal. Learn from past experiences, and apply what you’ve learned to better prepare yourself for the new year, and allow yourself the chance for course-correcting. Things will happen, and goals may have to change. As frustrating as it may sound, just keep pushing. Keep making progress and eventually you will get where you want to be. One step at a time.

Best of luck in the coming year! May it be fruitful and full of hard work.

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