|Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles /|
I read recently the results of an American survey that outlined less than 5% of people set goals, write them down and track their progress.
This surprised me somewhat so I ran my own small poll amongst some loved ones, which essentially validated those results. I typically am a goal setter and will sit down at the beginning of a year to map out a series of goals. For some reason or another I didn’t do a very good job of this in 2013. When I spend insufficient time on documenting and tracking goals, like last year, I don’t make as much progress. And this particularly applies to my writing.
So I’ve made a conscious effort of spending some quality time between Christmas and New Year on both reflecting back on 2013 and establishing goals for 2014. As Anne wrote in her New Year’s Eve post we should do this with the Lord. We’re all probably familiar with Proverbs 16:3
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (NIV)
Sometimes we can read this to believe God will establish what we want. But as my Pastor said recently when referring to this verse, the Lord’s likely to mess with our plans for a while and then He’ll tell you what He wants and what He doesn’t want you to do. And then, and only then, will the Lord establish them.
But the first steps are both giving our goals to God and also listening to Him (as Anne outlined).
Goals often fall out of our dreams. For example, I want to be a published author? Some people will call this a dream, others a goal. God wants to hear our dreams. The exciting thing is we can’t out dream God so it’s a great place to be in when we’re meditating with Him on what our dreams and goals can be for any given year.
Our dreams will remain forever just that, dreams, unless we engage specific activity to propel them forward. Many of us aren’t working to publisher deadlines rather self-imposed ones and because we’re all busy it’s easy for our writing to take a back seat at times. We’re all familiar with the old adage what get’s scheduled gets done so I find it important to schedule specific time each day to achieve that goal.
I set goals across a range of categories: spiritual, marriage, family, writing, friends, giving, to mention a number of them. Three of my writing goals for this year are:
1. Complete the draft of my work-in-progress by 31 March 2014
2. Complete the draft of one 50-page short story by 30 June 2014
3. Read one writing craft book every two months
I consider it important to write focused goals that are time-bound otherwise the urgent matters that emerge, almost daily, will eclipse these important goals. Yes, stuff comes up which may make it difficult to achieve but put a line in the sand now and deal with the stuff if it happens.
I will share these goals with my writing group and ask them to keep me accountable.
Do you set writing goals and if so, what is one of your goals for 2014?