notebook pen and glasses

New Year, new goals

It’s that time again. 

Goal-setting time. New year, new you–you know how it goes.

So many brilliant people have written about the science of setting goals and how even more important is maintaining as habits the behaviors required to achieve them (shout out to James Clear–all of his work on this topic is worth a read).

I’ve got aspirations to reach goals set this time of year as much as anyone. What I want to urge you to do, too, is to set a goal (or goals!) by writing them down and then, working backwards, write down what’s necessary to achieve them.

The first piece is important, as actually recording your goals forces you to articulate what you want. (For instance, I’d feel silly writing “I want to read more” instead of “I want to read 75 books.”) Once jotted down, you have a visual that can be a reminder that in fact at one time you aspired to drop 20 pounds.

But beyond setting a goal is the act of figuring out how to reach the goal. What steps are required? What has to change? What do I have to do?

If I want to read a certain number of books, I’ll have to dick around less on my phone while watching Netflix. Imagine that.

I’ll pick on myself by admitting that while I set several goals last year, I didn’t think through what was actually required to realize them. And it turns out that many of my aspirations were just that and nothing more.

Take “do more freelance writing for local and online publications,” listed in a spiffy Adobe Spark Page I made to promote my 2016 accomplishments in a more subtle way than tweeting SOMEONE HIRE ME. This, though, didn’t happen. I published an essay a few days before the end of 2017 but literally did nothing in terms of reaching out for other types of writing work. I had a goal that sounded nice, but did zero work beyond imagining it up, and certainly didn’t list out steps required so that I could set forth in an organized fashion.

This year, I have the same goal of publishing freelance work, and I’m already taking steps to get there–steps I’ve outlined and assigned deadlines for me to meet. I’m further along to meeting this goal and it’s not even a week into the new year.

What are your goals for 2018? And what are you taking to hit them?

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