Whoa! It's halfway through the last day of the year and I'm just barely blogging. I guess I've been too busy thinking about lots of things; my new year's resolutions, what my plans are for tonight, and what I was doing ten years ago today. (Because ten years ago today was the last day of the last thousand years, and I wondered what would happen with all the Y2K hype going around. I was also ten years younger, and ten years less wise. I had two less children as well, and the idea of becoming an author one day hadn't been sparked yet.)
But somewhere along the line between ten years ago and today, I decided that I wanted to become an author. So when a story idea came to my mind, and I wrote it all down, I had dreams of seeing it in a book one day. When that didn't happen, I gave up my dream of becoming a published author for a while, until my next story idea came to mind. This time around, though, I was determined to see it published, and I dreamed about what it would be like to see the contents of my brain's imagination in a book that I could hold in my hands.
But whether or not I realized it, I set goals to see that happen. For four years, every time a new year came, I would write as my new year's resolution, "Finish my novel and get it published." Finally I did accomplished my goal, but it took longer than I wanted.
As I reflect back on how it all happened, I realize there were some different ways to set goals that would have made my journey a little smoother. Maybe even chopped off three years. (I guess I won't really know, because it all worked out and I learned a lot along the way.)
One thing I learned about setting goals is that they need to be attainable, by breaking a large goal down into smaller goals. For example, I would like to have another novel completed and in the works to be published by the end of 2010. I first need to break it down into smaller, more attainable goals, like completing a chapter a week. That way I can feel satisfaction in accomplishing a mini-goal, and that sense of accomplishment is something that keeps me going. Otherwise, I think I would feel overwhelmed and just give up.
My goals also need to be flexible. For instance, is it reasonable to expect myself to keep my writing goal during Christmas? Not in my case. I decided to take the week off. I have also found that my goals need to work for the type of person I am. Everyone is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.
It also helps to write goals down. There's a sort of magic feeling that's generated when you write a goal on paper and an even better feeling when you can cross it off after it has been accomplished.
This concept of goal setting carries over into any goal, no matter what it is; getting into shape, learning something new, or achieving exaltation. When you look at the big picture, look at the little steps that need to be taken in order to get there, and recognize that accomplishing little goals along the way brings a whole different kind of satisfaction that helps to keep us moving to the big picture.
Now, I better get back to my goal of making New Year's Eve plans so I'm not doing nothing all night, and I wish you all a happy New Year!