I learn more about goals every year. Here are some of the highlights. I'll also share a few of my goals with you, including what seems to be missing—and why.
If my goals are vague, it makes the end of the year review easy if I haven't really accomplished much; frustrating if I have.
- Employ the SMART goal methodology. Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic (but not too easy), Time accountable.
If I have fifty goals, there's a good chance I'll not accomplish all of them. And because there are so many, the ones that are really important to me are likely to get buried in the fluff.
- Limit the number of goals you establish for the year. Make sure they're important and not just something you'd do anyway. Anything over 15 is really pushing your luck.
My goals have to be in sync with my value system and each other. If I want to write five full-length manuscripts this year (gag me) AND have time with my husband, I'm setting myself up for conflict. And failure.
- Understand your personal value system. Prioritize using those God-led, gut feelings. Make sure your goals are yours and not those of someone you usually try to please. Take time to dig deep.
Pick a couple and make them public. There's nothing like accountability. I actually print mine out and put them in a frame. This year I have 9 goals. That's all. Just 9.
I also include a few key words to make my heart perk up and my intent clear—to me, if no one else.
In the interest of making things public, here's a bit:
- My words for 2010 . . . Confidence. Commitment. Sparkle.
- 5000 words/week on projects.
- Treadmill six days/week when home.
- Weekly dates with husband.
- Spanish Lessons three times/week when home.
What isn't included in my goals for this year are my study of craft. That's something I do on a regular basis. I'm drawn to craft books and magazines and courses like a magnet. There's no need to waste my goal agenda for something I will do without any nudging. If I say I'll read The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell, then why don't I include The Resilient Writer from Catherine Wald (both of which are on my desk at the moment)? And what about The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass, or . . . you get the idea. These are things I will do without prompting.
The other thing that isn't a direct goal is my spiritual direction. The truth is I couldn't possibly take up more of God's time than I already do. We're in constant communication all day long, from the mundane to the intense. I couldn't have a better friend. There's no way I'm not gonna take care of that relationship.
So, there you have it. The only thing I could possibly add would be a goal for a certain number of rejections. Rejections mean I'm in the game, stepped off the curb, up to the top of my hip boots in a river. Hmmm . . . maybe I'll have an even 10 goals for 2010. Sounds right, doesn't it?
What are one or two of your goals for this year? I'd love to hear what they are.
CR: The Robert Crais.
It's all better with friends.