Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Four Rules for Setting Goals

I was lucky enough to spend five years as Director of Education at a Sylvan Learning Center. During that time, I not only took care of all the administrative work, but I also often got the chance to teach at the table. Because I never had more than three students, those hours were most enjoyable.

One of the courses we offered was a Study Skills Program, and one of the components of that course was goal setting. I learned a lot from teaching about goals, and it was interesting to see the successes of the students who were willing to implement this component into their scholastic lives.

That was a lot of years ago, but four things about setting goals have stuck with me:

1. Goals need to be achievable.

2. Goals need to be measureable.

3. Long range goals need to be able to be broken down into short-term and intermediate-term goals, which in turn must be achievable and measureable.

4. Goals need to be written down and posted where they will be visible to the goal-setter constantly.

In our family we often tell the goal-setting story about my mother. In early January, 1977, while on a self-improvement kick, Mom declared that she would read six uplifting religious books during the year. An avid reader, she read at least a book a week, but it was mostly fiction.

When the year was over, Mom had read nary a religious book. On January 1, 1978, she announced that this year, she was going to adjust her goal: she would read twelve uplifting, self-improvement books.

So much for being achievable.

With the four goal setting rules in mind, I’m posting my writing goals for 2010:

1. Blog at least once a week on Liz Sez and at least once a month on Make Me a Story, LDStorymaker’s writing-oriented blog.

2. Complete a new novel this year. This goal is broken down into these shorter-term goals.

A. Have the book completely blocked by January 31.

B. Have a detailed outline by February 28.

C. Have chapter thumbnails finished by March 31.

D. Write one complete chapter per week during April, May, June, July and August

E. After the manuscript sits for two months, re-write and edit during November.

Okay, folks. I think these goals are realistic and achievable, though it will take organization on my part. I've got them taped to the closet door in my office.

I’ve also got some family history goals, some exercise goals, and some religious, self-improvement goals set, but I won’t bore you with those.

I’ve got a little more than two weeks to get this book blocked out. I’ll let you know how I do. It’s going to be lite fare—more like The Mist of Quarry Harbor than Counting the Cost. There'll be some romance, some adventure, some intrigue. I'm excited about it. By posting this for all to see, I feel like I'm sure to make my goals.

But then, I think that's what my mother thought, too.


Follow this blog! I've got interviews coming up with writers Rachel Rager and Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. I've got my world famous pancake recipe and how to make Navajo Tacos in the queue, and I'm going to review Tanya Mills' taut novel about a journalist imprisoned in modern-day Iraq.

1 comment:

Valerie Ipson said...

I'll be watching for the Navajo Taco recipe---we love those around here.

Thanks for the timely post!