Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome to the year 2020. We’re in the future now. Flying cars are right around the corner, and science fiction is now science fact.
Well, no. Not really, but when you say 2020, it certainly gives you that vibe, doesn’t it?
Anyway, it’s the beginning of a brand new year. 365 days of possibility. The air is brimming with optimism and passion. I touched on this briefly only last week. The energy this time of year, is to me at least, infectious.
But I also mentioned in that post that it was important to be critical of the goals you set for yourself and to not let yourself get carried away. It’s nice to be optimistic, but you don’t want to set unrealistic expectations for yourself.
I decided early on last year, especially when I noticed how much time I wasted when I thought I was being productive, that I had to dig deep and simplify my goals.
Just three things.
I had to pick three things I wanted to achieve in the year, and I had to make sure, every time I sat down to work it would be directly influencing one of those three things.
And it worked. While I didn’t achieve them – not yet at least – I got closer than I ever have and it really eliminated the stress and decision paralysis.
I’d established my priorities. Whatever else I wanted to accomplish could be written on a piece of paper or a post-it note and saved for later. My focus was on those three things. And it’s with those sorts of parameters that I want to go into 2020. Start the year off with a bang, and really figure out what I want to get out of the year.
How Do You Pick Three?
Well, you start by making a list. Just like you might for the start of the year anyway. Make a list of SMART goals for you to achieve in the next calendar year, and then take a good hard look at them.
- Are there any that you really want to achieve first?
- Are there any that you have to achieve before another? (example: saving money before a big trip)
- Are there any that are similar? (example: trying something new and learning how to paint)
- Do any have a similar goal? (example: eating healthier and jogging regularly in an effort to lose weight)
- Which ones are going to take more effort and active preparation?
Analyze what you wrote and look for common threads and themes. Then you know what you need to focus on. As an example, here is my list of things I want to achieve in 2020:
- Publish at least three short stories
- Create a lead magnet
- Publish the first Casebook novella
- Write the second Casebook novella
- Finish the first draft of ‘Crystallia’
- Go to London
- Open an Etsy or Redbubble store
- Start streaming on Twitch
- Start a podcast
- Post on Alyssa Lost in Space at least twice a week
- Grow my email list
- Send a newsletter every month
- Finish new website
It’s a hefty list, but in writing it out I did notice a few things in common.
The first, and most obvious is to write and to write a lot. Three short stories, two novellas and a novel, to be exact. Writing is a big priority, but so is getting my work out there.
The second is growing my brand and building up an email list so I have people to read that stuff I’m putting out there.
And the last one is a way to earn more money, whether it’s through an online store or affiliate marketing – something that can go towards my publication costs or my trip to London.
Now I have three common threads for my year. All I have to do now is turn them into more concrete goals.
My Three Goals for 2020
1. Publish something every quarter
I need to start getting my work out there, especially if I plan to publish something. This doesn’t mean I need to write every single day, but I need to write often enough that I have the content ready for editing, and finally, publishing. My goal for this first quarter is to finish a short story.
2. Grow my email list
That means promotions. Free fiction. Regular newsletters. Content for a lead magnet. Building up my social media presence and committing to a blog schedule and writing posts that convert.
3. Create a secondary income stream
What exactly I’m going to do, I’m not sure yet. I’ll admit that my last goal is the haziest of the three as I’ve yet to decide where I want to build that income stream. I’ve had some ideas for a website using affiliate marketing, and I’m still considering that Etsy shop. I just don’t yet know how I’m going to structure it after the shipping changes Etsy has made. I could monetize my blog or start freelancing like I’d planned to do last year. What matters is that I do it in a way that aligns with my brand and allows me to be creative and have fun.
With my three goals established, I now have a starting point for the rest of my year! It’s not perfect, by any means, and I’m sure as I put more work into it, things might shift around. The point is that at any given moment in the year I am focused on three goals, and only three goals. I don’t want to overwhelm myself with projects. I need to remember the purpose behind them.
Will this strategy work for you? Maybe. This is a strategy that I’ve found works for me and helps me set goals in a realistic and achievable way. It might not work for everyone, and that’s okay. But if you don’t like a big list of resolutions or you’re intimidated by these sorts of traditions, maybe stripping it down to the basics – to what matters to you most, will help it feel a little more within your reach.
What are your goals and resolutions for 2020?
Have you set any goals for yourself in the upcoming year? Or do you avoid such traditions? Let me know in the comments!