NewYearDayIt’s that time of year where we set goals to make up for the mistakes we made the previous year grow as people. Isn’t that really what New Year’s resolutions are all about? Giving up some of those vices (like eating too much chocolate) for better health or starting down a path toward a dream we’ve held maybe too privately close because speaking it out load would actually mean we would need to do something about it.

Hmm . . .

I have to confess . . . I do make New Year’s resolutions every year. I can’t say that I’m all that good working on them but I still try. Maybe less than doing a New Year’s resolution, I believe in goal setting. I think it keeps us active in this life to be shooting for something . . . whatever it might be in your world. But I’ve learned some things along the way about setting goals that might help you achieve your goal(s) this coming year.

1. Have an overall dream (I’m going to finish my novel!) but then set smaller goals along the path.

For YEARS, I said I was going to finish my book but until I sat down and divided up that elephant into smaller achievable steps, it didn’t happen. What would get you there? Sometimes it’s hard to know HOW to actually do the work of finishing a novel so here’s what I’ve found and I’m not a super-speedy novelist.

Writing 1,000 words a day (when I’m not doing a 12 hour nursing shift) is fairly easy. Writing 2,000 words a day is my general maximum before my brain starts to meltdown. This word count should happen in about three hours (if you stay off social media and generally know what you’re going to write about.) Aim to write 20,000 words/month. Really, that’s just 10 days staying completely on task and getting 2,000 words on the page. Four months of JUST doing 10 days of 2,000 word counts and you have a first draft! Don’t edit yourself. Just get the words on the page. You can’t edit an empty page. And now you have an 80,000 word NYT Bestseller document that will need a lot of work–but you DID IT!

2. Make the goal realistic for you and your life.

I’ve been working out with a personal trainer for a couple of years. I needed to lose some weight (a lot!) and knew I needed the accountability of another person to help me do it. I am almost to my goal and my trainer would like a much faster process than me. He set a CRAZY weight loss goal for December (hello, Christmas cookies) and in my mind I said, it’s not going to happen. And so, it didn’t happen. I did, though, achieve the smaller goal I set for myself. If what I outlined above makes your eyeballs glaze over, cut it in half or one quarter but just get started.

3. Have an accountability person.

It really does help. I’m not talking about a critique partner though those are good, too. What you need is just someone in your corner (thanks, Casey!) who will keep tabs on you and your goal. Send you an e-mail to ask if you’re making progress. Celebrate your victories by posting lots of these (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) on Facebook.

4. Don’t give up.

I was a person who used to give up easily. If I ate bad one day, the whole month could be shot. Everyone has bad days and doesn’t meet their goals. My trainer confessed to me just today about eating handfuls of chocolate covered raisins, pizza AND french fries which made me a little too joyful inside BUT he’s already back in the gym. When you fall off the path . . . the next day . . . sit back down and get back to it. Life happens but don’t let it run you over.


As you’re traveling down whatever goal path you’ve set for 2013, celebrate the small achievements (making that monthly word count goal) and the big achievement (Yes, I DID finish that novel!) with lots of chocolate and responsible drinking exercise and then do it again.

Set another goal.

So, what about you? What’s one goal, writing or otherwise, that you have for 2013? How are you going to achieve it?

20 Replies to “Goals?!?”

  1. Some goals I have for this year are to continue raising thyroid awareness (National Thyroid Awareness month is this January), write and finish my manuscript, and run my first half marathon. I plan on achieving these things by breaking each one down into smaller, ‘one step at a time’ steps. For example, to prepare for the half marathon I will follow a weekly training schedule.

    1. Sounds like some great goals. I’d be happy to help with the thyroid awareness piece on my medical blog– comment here if you’re interested.

  2. Wise, well-said words, Jordyn! I’d like to increase the number of my speaking engagements, sell/give away more copies of my gift book, A Friend in the Storm, write this next book from start to finish, and start another one.

  3. Well said, Jordyn! My goals for 2013 are to make prayer a greater priority, to finish writing a book I am currently working on, and to increase my speaking engagements. We’ll see what God has planned!

    1. Mindy, this is one of my personal goals as well. I’m trying to do the “focus of a phrase for a year” and mine for 2013 is “Be Still.” which is very hard for an ER nurse to do. Going to the Lord in prayer is definitely a weakness of mine that I hope to improve on this year.

  4. Good question, Jordyn. On of my goal in 2012 is to be aware of my need for rest. That might sound like a minor issue, but it’s a major goal for me at this time in my life.

    I think of the warning they give on an airplane to “put on your oxygen mask first before putting it on a child.” If I don’t take care of myself first (i.e. get enough rest), I may not be able to help anyone else. And I think that applies to writing, speaking, or whatever work you might do.

    So, tonight–even though I haven’t completed my “to do” list for the day–I’m choosing to shut down my computer and rest. Good night all!

    1. Karen, good points. I’ve not found a good work/life/writing balance yet but I hope to this year, too.

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