Okay, so it's a New Year, and we each get a chance to set goals for 2008. In conversation with my amazing and super-smart writing friends, Sara Wilson Etienne and Rita Crayon Huang, we came up with some good ideas. I've elaborated on them a bit, and share them here.
GOALS FOR 2008
We all have different areas of our lives, and each area can get its own list.
personal goals - like exercise and time alone and, hey - Reading!
social goals - like making time to be with friends or with your spouse/partner
community goals - how we're involved with others and giving back
professional goals - school or job
Think about your goals, and SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS.
Think about short term (what am I going to accomplish this week) and long term (what am I going to accomplish this year)
If I said, "My personal goal is to reach my perfect state of fitness, so I'm going to not eat any desserts until I'm there." I'd give up on my goal as soon as I eat that next chocolate brownie that I know I'm going to have, err... tonight. So, set short term goals (maybe I'll aim to limit desserts to every other night this week) and long term goals (I'll aim to be working out 4 days a week by March!)
Another note about short term goals: Much of this is the alchemy of feeling good and motivated. Sometimes when I have a whole bunch of things to do, I'll make a gigantic list, and I'll always put something I've already done on the list, so there's at least something crossed off right away. It feels less daunting that way. So look, you've already checked out this blog, so you've got something for today's list you can check off already!
Also, realize that YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL YOURSELF. I'd suggest you don't set a goal like "2008 is the year I'm going to be discovered and published and become a best selling author!" because YOU don't control that. A set-yourself-up-for-success goal would be "I'm going to write and finish that draft. And then I'm going to submit it to my dream editor." That's a goal you can reach, because it's about your actions.
Do you have to share your goals with anyone else? No, only if you want to. But I'd suggest it's important for you to RITUALIZE the setting of goals in some way.
Last year, at the February Asilomar SCBWI (The Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) conference, they had each participant write down on two 3x5 cards their goals for the upcoming year (the same goals on both cards.) Then we ritualistically took turns putting ONE of the cards into the fire (we were to keep the other card to remind us of our commitment to ourselves.) The idea being the Native American concept of transmuting the written words into smoke which then travels up to the realm of the Gods (or the universe.) Putting it out there.
Another idea that Sara shared is to seal it in an envelope and keep it in a special place, so you can unwrap it in a year.
The concept is to formalize this deal you're making with yourself.
For those for whom a whole list seems too overwhelming, check out this great idea on Christine Kane's blog that the amazing Lynda Sandoval told me about, which is to choose a single word as a sort of slogan for yourself for the year. To focus on the BEING rather than the doing, in terms of motivation. I thought it was really interesting, and maybe it'll be useful for you, too.
A completely different and fascinating approach is what Rita shared about breaking down your time in percentages - how much time (hours, minutes) do you ideally want to spend on the different aspects of your life each day? each week? For those of you mathematically and even Pie (or would it be "Pi"?) inclined, you can even make a chart!
So, grab piece of paper. Have fun with it! How do you want to spend your time? How do you want to BE? What do you want to DO? Think about 2008. We each get the gift of a whole new year to take chances, try new things, and succeed on OWN terms.
With Blessings for an amazing New Year, Namaste.