Making goals for a great 2011!

Happy New Year!

Laura Bowers here, your new blog coordinator who is *ahem* a bit nervous seeing how I haven’t blogged in . . . oh, nine months, give or take.  And I must admit–I’ve been procrastinating my first entry because I was intimidated and when I’m intimidated, I procrastinate.

But we all know the cure to that, right?  Right.  It’s to just jump.

So let’s jump in, because it’s a new year and time for making resolutions and goals!

I love making goals.

Last year, I made 26 of them. Did I accomplish each one? Well . . . no, but really–how important was it to learn how to do a back handspring? (Yes, that was on my list. Poor judgment on my part, I admit.)  This year, however, I am limiting myself to only realistic, attainable goals that rotate around my heart’s desire and will bring more joy to my life.

What about you?

What’s your heart’s desire?  What accomplishment could greatly improve your life?  What goal has been topping your list?  To lose weight?  Pay off bills?  Finally write the novel that’s been haunting you for years?  Come on.  Dream big.  Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

(Bonus points if you caught the Spice Girls reference.)

But it is important to Figure out what you really want.  For example, one of my heart’s desire is to sell another novel this year.  [NOTE: That’s not a goal.  It’s realistic, yes, but not necessarily attainable seeing how whether or not my editor offers me a contract is beyond my control.]  What is in my control is . . .

Writing down specific, realistic and attainable goals that will help you reach your heart’s desire..  Not things like “I will write every day,” because you can’t check it off your list and we love checking things off lists, am I right?  For example, in order to sell another novel this year, two of my goals are:

1.  Finish my rewrite for PA by January 31st and send to my critique partner.

2.  Submit PA to my agent by March 1st for her thoughts.

Now comes the nitty-gritty part.  Make a list of daily actions that will help you reach your goals.  If you want to lose weight, workout in the morning.  If you want to pay off debt, make dinner at home instead of eating out.  My action?  I need to write or edit every single day with butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, and my nagging self-doubt gagged, hogtied, and shipped far, far away.

Once you figure out your daily actions, then give them priority. Put them at the top of your list.  Every day.  Oh, and speaking of nagging self-doubt . . .

It’s critical to Figure out what has prevented you from reaching your goals in the past.  Wanting to sell another novel isn’t new for me.  I’ve had the same goal from 2006 to 2009 until I finally accomplished it in 2010.  So what bad habits kept me from success?  Giving priority to my to-do list instead of writing more is one. Procrastination is another.  Throw in some bad career decisions and there you go.

What about you?  What has held you back?  Make a list of your bad habits and then come up with a concrete plan to control them.

Now comes the tough-love part.  What are the consequences if you don’t reach your goals?  How will your health be if you don’t lose those extra pounds?  What effect will your family feel if you don’t control your finances?  How will you feel if another year slips by and you’ve yet to finish that novel?

My sophomore slump between book sales sucked.  I felt like a complete has-been and fraud while my friends were selling book after book.  The worse part, though, is that deep down, I knew I wasn’t doing everything I could to succeed, so never having those feelings again motivates me to write.  Which brings me to . . .

Stop beating yourself up for past failures.  Okay, this is hypocritical of me because I’m the queen of self-torture.  But really.  Think about it.  Even if you haven’t accomplished every single goal on your list, haven’t you done some great things in the meanwhile?  Have you laughed?  Loved?  Been loved?  So cut yourself some slack.  Seriously–I will if you will, because the past is the past and the only way you can consider yourself to be a true failure is if you quit.

And you are not a quitter, right?  Right.

So HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone, and here’s to a successful, wonderful 2011!  Let’s Goal for Gold!

Get it?  Goal for gold, instead of Go for gold?  Anyone?

Oh, alright.  This year, I’ll forget about handsprings and bad jokes. 🙂

Laura Bowers

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About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, and blogger at As The Eraser Burns, Joyful Miles, and Write, Run, Rejoice. In the past, she's been a waitress, telemarketer, cook, real estate agent, and during her college days, a costumed character at holiday parades. (Memories of being terrorized as a candy cane still haunt her at night.) At the age of thirty, she pursued her dream of being a writer. Her first novel, Beauty Shop for Rent, a “Steel Magnolias for teens,” was inspired by a rusted sign by a charming old house, and now, she can honestly say that writing is a thousand times more rewarding than being a candy cane!
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14 Responses to Making goals for a great 2011!

  1. ediehemingway says:

    Thanks for these practical tips, Laura!

  2. Susan Mannix says:

    Thanks Laura!!! I plan to finish that YA novel I’ve been pecking away at for waaaay too long. And, oh yes, I need to lose weight and get healthy. Writing and walking today (and every day).

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Woo-HOO, best of luck with all your goals, especially getting that novel done this year! Just pound it out, Susan, no matter how ugly it seems. You can make it pretty later! 🙂

  3. Lynea Bowdish says:

    I like the idea of listing daily actions to help achieve goals. It gives those goals a realistic foundation for achieving them. I haven’t done goals in a long time, and you’ve spurred me on to formulating some for the new year.

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Absolutely, listing daily actions has really helped me. It makes my goal list seem less daunting when I realize that it only takes a few daily actions for me to reach them.

      Awesome, Lynea, best of luck with all your 2011 goals! 🙂

  4. Great encouragement, Laura.

  5. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for taking the time to put all this in writing. Sometimes it helps to have someone else tell us things we should know, but we tend to ignore them if we are telling OURSELVES to do them. I remember hearing a motivational speaker years ago advise the audience to write their list of goals, and to rewrite those goals each day. According to him, if people did this, they WOULD achieve their goals. I believe the power in his theory was that if people are forced to think about and refine their goals daily, they are much more likely to succeed. I agree, and have just made a new goal for 2011 that I will do more than make lists every day; I will revisit my major goals. Thank you!

  6. Hi, Laura–great posting! Is this a place to shamelessly promote my online workshop “Making Time to Write in an Impossibly Busy Life,” offered through the Writer’s Center of Bethesda, Maryland (but accessible online to writers and would-be writers everywhere!)? Info and registration at http://www.writer.org; next session starts Feb. 1.

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Yes, this is the place to shamelessly promote, and I’ll be sure to give your class a shout-out in tomorrow’s blog in case anyone missed your comment. Congrats, btw!! 🙂

      • Thanks so much, Laura! I hope you get a medal for all you are doing to support other authors and illustrators. (If you haven’t yet received your medal, I’ve got a couple of preschoolers and a somewhat unraveled roll of tin foil…though really your medal should be gold rather than silver.) Thanks again so much!

  7. This is great advice, Laura. There’s definitely something helpful about breaking the big goals into daily, manageable tasks. Thanks!

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