Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goals or Resolutions?

I’m always asked around this time of year if I have New Year’s Resolutions. And the answer will always be the same. No.

I have goals.

Well, what’s the difference, you say? To start with, I’ve always had goals and I don’t have to have a special day of the year to create a new one. Several times during the year I revaluate where I am, adjust, and in most cases, continue to move forward with my plans.

It just so happens that a time for revaluation is here.

What are my ongoing goals?

Step up my self-promotion efforts. Maybe a redesign of the website and I might be looking for a couple co-bloggers to help me keep my blogs more active. Part of this effort will be to get offline, out into the public in person and maybe get flash made up to give away. T-shirts, bookmarks, book covers and other fun give-aways.

To finish and submit my next two Blown Away stories, Bomb Voyage and Collateral Lives.

To finish two of my planned indie stories. (The titles are a secret.)

To finish the first book in my young adult series and submit to an agent.

I have one other story I want to submit to an agent, that if all goes as planned this year, I should be doing that. But… There’s always a but, isn’t there? I’ll get back to that in a bit.

Finish and submit my science fiction launch story. Got two weeks left to get it in and damned if I don’t keep adding more. At this rate I’ll never finish it.

The bit about the agents has always been a goal. But as the print industry seems to be taking a nosedive, and those high dollar publishing contracts are becoming nothing more than a writer’s wet dream, I might have to make a few adjustments. I have to sit back and ask myself what an agent can offer me. Can they still nail that contract? I do have dreams, so I might still do it, but I’m not putting my entire year behind it. Again, the idea is to keep moving forward.

That’s the difference between goals and resolutions. Goals are real world plans for your future, something you keep in mind every day, you constantly strive to reach, and they are as much a part of your day as say, washing the dishes. They can change, are not set in stone, but one thing remains consistent. You move forward with them.

If you set your goals right, you will have several baby steps you have to take to reach one. Once you reach it, you adjust and start the baby steps again, always moving forward.

Resolutions are things you say you’d like to do, that you may or may not follow through on, but you don’t have fully developed battle plans for. You don’t look at them every day and question if you are on track with your plans. You made them on the spur of a moment, and sometimes after one too many drinks.

So, do you have goals? What are they and how do you continue to move forward with them? Do you look at them every day? Are they attainable? Not necessarily easy, but can you reach them? No? Maybe you should lower them, set baby steps and once you reach that goal, then reach higher.

Whatever they are, you need to do two things to make them work for you.

#1.  Write them down.
#2.  Look at them every day and question if you are on track, or have you veered off course.

Dreams aren't always handed to us. Most of the time they have to be earned, and truly, something you work hard for, makes it all the more sweet when you suceed.

Have a great weekend.



Kate Richards said...

Very good advice. I shy away frm resolutions because I almost always blow them and feel guilty. Goals I have all the time and I know that if I make daily ones I tend to succeed...making me happy. Otherwise it's hard to see progress and it's discouraging.

D L Jackson said...

That's so true, Kate. If you want to be sucessful in anything, you must have goals. Steps 1&2 are by far the most important thing you can do if you want to meet them.
I have a sign on my mirror that says "The choices you make today should move you forward."
What that means to me, is that I have to make choices every day. I can choose to write, or I could mindlessly surf the web. No choice #2 won't move me forward alone, but if my goal is to write 2k, then I've moved forward and can enjoy the down time. Or should I eat that burger? Does it move me toward my goal of being healthier? What if I exercise first? No. Now I'm stuck in limbo. You have to make consolidate choices. Try to make ones that will propell you forward.

Faith said...

I'm like you, DL. I set goals, but my problem is that I make too many of them, lol.

(blogger is giving me fits and doesn't want me to post a comment, argh!)

Jessica Subject said...

I'm very much the same, too. Goals seem to work out better than resolutions. All the best on achieving your goals, as it will give me more to read. Yay! :)

msmjb65 said...

Hi, DL:
It's so refreshing to find someone who feels the same way I do about New Year's resolutions! I think they are a recipe for disaster, especially if you're the type of person who berates herself if she doesn't accomplish this thing by that date. Also- when you start telling everyone you know about them, you set yourself up for disappointing not only yourself, but perhaps other people. And that adds to your guilt, remorsem etc.

So...for me, I take this time to review what attitudes and behaviors I am not happy with in myself and set about changing them. Specifically I look at what some people call character defects or traits and ask myself some questions: am I being too judgmental? where is it coming from? am I being selfish with my affection, care, concern, etc. for others. Where might I be able to be more tolerant, friendly, less self-absorbed..well, you get the point.

I am a therapist and I spend the last few weeks of the old year and the first few weeks of the new year encouraging my clients to forgo the resolutions and focus on their attributes that they aren't happy with. I have had some patients audibly sigh with relief because they have mistaken thought they were supposed to make resolutions. This is all fodder for therapy-work and, as always, my patients help me figure out where a lot of my work needs to be done.

I also like what you said about setting goals and the baby steps you take to get there. I definitely have some of those to work on and, for me, toi make my goals happen, I will have to look at the underlying character trait that has held me back from reaching goals in the past...procrastination and fear of change being 2 of the biggies.

Thanks again for bringing up this important topic. I hope others will read this and feel inspired to follow another path this year.