The difference between dreams and New Year's resolutions and goals is all in your head. How much do you believe in the dream? How committed are you to the resolution? A goal requires belief, commitment, and planning in order to achieve it.
Although I recorded this episode in late December 2017, I want you to remember that you can always hit the Restart button, no matter what time of the year – or day – it is. Are you all tangled up in the multiple goals you had planned? Stop, and Restart.
To begin, create a Master Goals List for the next year. Put everything on it – all the writing, the conferences, everything related to your writing business. Now add in all of your personal goals and events – school events, school holidays, family vacations, conferences, business trips, birthday/anniversary celebrations, everything.
Now mark up your list, prioritizing what is the most important (and/or unavoidable) for this year, and putting a different mark next to things that may have to wait until next year. (This list isn't written in stone! You can change things later, if necessary. Restart! 😉 )
Looking at each item on your Master Goals List, break it down into smaller pieces that can be done in a calendar quarter, in a month, in a week, even into daily pieces if you like to plan to that kind of detail. So for each book you want to publish, you'll break it down into how long it takes to write the first draft, send it to your editor, get it back and make revisions, write a final draft, get it proofread, get a cover made, write a book description, get the story formatted for ebook and/or print, and figure out your marketing plans for the book launch. On a smaller scale, if you want to read 24 novels in the next year, you'll plan to read about two each month.
Remember, this isn't about getting crazy about planning, it's about making time for the things that are most important to you! The idea is to keep from being overwhelmed with trying to get the important things done in the midst of everything else that goes on in your life.
I suggest people have a physical calendar – paper or laminated – so that they can use colored sticky notes instead of ink pens to write all the pieces of each goal on each week and month. Three reasons – it's easier to make changes to your schedule as things come up. Maybe this book was harder or easier to write and you need to change your deadline.
Second, having scratched out items permanently on my calendar in ink may be an unwelcome reminder that I didn't make goals, which leads to feeling bad about myself. I don't need anything extra making me feel bad.
Third, using different colored sticky notes for each kind of task will help you see at a glance what's going on in your month.
Track your accomplishments! (See last week's episode about creating a Done Journal.) How much did you get done compared to how much you planned to do?
Last, but not least, plan your rewards. Positive reinforcement helps your brain to know what you want more of, and your brain will try to give it to you. Find a cheerleader, get a high-five for daily goals, maybe a favorite drink for bigger goals in the month, and bigger rewards for bigger goals like finishing and publishing a book.
A little bit of planning will go a long way toward making your dreams/goals/resolutions a reality.