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:
- 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:
- 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.
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.