Goal Setting for the New Year

While gathered around the water cooler at work, the discussion turned to our least favorite month of the year. The month of “August” received several votes because it’s hot and many people have grown weary of summer. By far though, “January” received the most votes. People are suffering from the post-Christmas blues. It’ s cold. The sun sets at five o’clock. There are a lot of reasons January is the least favorite month.

Here’s my secret.

I LOVE January. For one, I’m not that into nature, and no one expects me to go outside in January. I tend to get a lot of writing done. Waking up before the sun rises to work on a great project feels cozy.  I feel like I’ve really done something amazing.

And January is a new beginning. One year flips to the next and it’s a fresh start. New goals. New dawn. New day. I celebrate what went well, and I leave behind the rest.

I don’t set grand, un-achievable goals that only make me feel bad come February. I set achievable, concrete goals with clear steps for success.

Here’s an example of a poor goal:

  1. Get published by Harper Collins in 2014.

That’s not a goal! You have absolutely no control over Harper Collins.

Now check out this example:

  1. Upload one completed book to Amazon in 2014.

Now that’s a goal! That is something you can control.

I follow the rule of SMART for setting goals:

S – Specific (or Significant)

M – Measurable (or Meaningful)

A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented)

R – Relevant (or Rewarding)

T – Time Bound (or Trackable)

My goal this year is to write 3 books in 2014. I normally write 2, so this goal is building on my success. This means I should have a book completed by April, August and December. If the books are an average of 75K, that’s 18,750 words a month. This goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant (it’s my job!) and time bound.

I have control over this goal. And take note:  I didn’t say my publisher would accept and publish all three books – I don’t have control over that.

Most importantly, this goal is ATTAINABLE. Year after year I see writers set impossible goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

If you’re a couch potato, don’t tell yourself you’ll participate in the iron man triathlon by June. Set attainable goals. Buy a pedometer and vow to walk 10k steps a day by June. Then reassess your goals and build on your success.

I can’t stress this part enough—build on success, not failure.

What are your goals for the coming year? One commentor will receive an advance copy of The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family.

4 1/2 Stars, Susan Mobley of Romantic Times Magazine says: A lovely marriage-of-convenience story, the interaction between the two main characters is a joy to watch

The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

Available in February

Gentlemen don’t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she’s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town’s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she’s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he’s hidden about his past. The lawman can’t jeopardize Cora’s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett’s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

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A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul. Write to Sherri at P.O. Box 116, Elkhorn, NE, 68022, email at sherri@sherrishackelford.com or visit sherrishackelford.com.

27 thoughts on “Goal Setting for the New Year”

  1. My goal this New Year is to get organized in my prayer time, Bible reading and making time to get my personal space more organized. Loved some of your goals and the article.
    The Marshall’s Ready Made Family looks like an interesting read
    Thank you

  2. You nailed it – your list for what your goals should be is perfect. Attainable is huge! (does that mean I have to mark “become queen this year” off my list???)
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. I LOVE January as well, and I love the S.M.A.R.T. method! A group of us are having our career planning meeting next Saturday to review the goals we set for last year and to set new ones for this year. I am happy to report that I achieved eleven out of fourteen. However, all three of the goals I did not achieve were outside of my control. (We always set a dream goal or two–just for fun–to put it out there.) Thanks for the great reminder.

  4. Wish I could get up and write before the sun comes up–but no, I get to get up and start cooking before the sun comes up. Writing comes later. 🙂

    Great post on goals, Sherri. Adding to the relevant/rewarding step–rewards beyond just completing the goal are excellent and help keep my momentum going.

    Kelli Ann, I love the idea of adding a dream goal to the list! Sometimes we get too focused on the achieving, we forget to dream. It is, of course, my goal to fly away in a blue box with a crazy Doctor.

  5. Sherri!! I love your books! This book sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to read it! My previous goal was to complete my Bachelor’s degree. It took me 10 years to do it, but I did it. A couple of years before I graduated, I realized I had a knack for editing. Now I edit for a few e-book publishing companies, individual authors, and I edit dissertations for students. One new thing I found out last year, I want to write! It has been hidden inside. So, I have two or three stories started. I would love to finish those and work on the handful of other story ideas I have. A goal for me this year, since I work full-time already, is to write one chapter a month. That goal is attainable and measurable. If I write more than that, I’m ahead. Thank you so much for this wonderful post and making goals achievable! I look forward to reading all your new books coming out!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  6. Hello, Sally!!! Loved your goals and I’m amazed at your success. I love that you fought your way to a Bachelor’s Degree – and I’m sure there were times when it felt like you were fighting 😉

    I’m so excited that you’ve discovered your passion for writing!! Can’t wait to read your work.

    Good morning Cheryl, I liked ‘blot’ better 🙂

  7. My goals are to:

    Babysit my 2 yo granddaughter so that my daughter can enjoy some date time with her husband before grandchild #2 arrives in late March.

    Read more and immediately write a review.

    Exercise everyday whether it be walking, biking or swimming.

    Keep in touch with my friends and family.

    Organize a get-together for my HS friends as we all turn 60.

  8. Sherri, love this post. And I may be crazy but I love January. It’s a time of renewal and hope. The mistakes of the past year are behind me. For me, it’s like a book with blank pages. I get to write whatever I want on those. How exciting is that? My goal is to meet all my deadlines, dive into promotion for the book releasing a year from now, and write every single day no matter what. Even if it’s only one page. I’m still moving forward. Onward and upward!

    Wishing you much success, my Filly sister!

  9. Hmmm, a few goals… to clean out my messy closet, to lose a few pounds, and to read and enjoy as many books as I can! 🙂

  10. I loved your post! we do set to high of goals for ourselves. this I have set 3 goals that will take some work getting done but I know that I can do them! Thank you for the encouraging word!!

  11. I like to set attainable goals, as well. Some goals I have for this year:
    1) Make sure that I am spending fun time with my kids…such as pulling out board games and playing with them.
    2) Work out. I already work out a little. I want to keep at it.
    3) Take the kids on some fun little field trips around Texas (like Blue Bell Ice Cream tour, visiting on of the caves, maybe back to San Antonio and the Alamo…)

  12. Hi Sherry – I love your reasonable goal setting ideas. So glad you didn’t call them resolutions. I’m a goal setter too. I like your idea of being specific in your goal, that really helps! Happy New Year!

    Charlene

  13. My goal this year is to get back into walking again and try to loose some of the holiday weight. Also need to find a job of some kind, I will need a lot of luck for that.

  14. This year my resolution is the same as last year’s which i completed.. For every 10 paperback books I read, I then read one of the classics. There’s some really good writing out there in literature land!
    Also I want to try and save more $.
    Oh and read more.

  15. Hi Sherri! I love this post; it is a wonderful way to begin the new year. The rule of SMART goal setting is so important. One of my goals is to spend more quality time with the special people in my life. I am already working on SMART ways to make that happen. Wishing you all the best in 2014!!

  16. OK, we’re ‘goat sitting’ again! Not ‘goal setting’. Got to get my eyes checked.
    Sherri, write some more like the Marshall and his Ready made family and you will have many winners. It is a great story. I enjoyed it very much.
    Happy New Year, even with the goats.

  17. Great suggestions for New Year’s resolutions. I have been guilty of setting unrealistic and numerous goals. Being realistic and more focused would be a big help.
    I like the blurb for THE MARSHAL’S READY-MADE FAMILY and will be looking for it.

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