Saturday, May 14, 2016

Setting Goals

No matter what venture you undertake setting goals for yourself is important. It is easy to see the end goal that sets you on your path. Your end goal might be publishing a novel, world domination, or getting Godzilla to turn Tokyo into ashes. There is more to it than just setting an end goal though. How do you motivate yourself to reach those goals? Is it a realistic goal?

Have A Plan

Once you have an overall goal that you wish to accomplish, then it is time to hatch a plan. So you sit on the egg to ensure it is warm, and wait. The first step in coming up with a plan is figuring out all the steps you have to take to reach that goal. Break each step down further and further until you can break them down no further. Each step in the plan should be easy to accomplish.

With each step accomplished it is one step closer to reaching the overall goal. It is important to tick off each box, so you can see the progress that has been made. That feeling of accomplishment can push you forward to the next step. Progress always feels good. It's like the creamy filling in a Twinkie.

Set A Schedule

A schedule puts a time limit on reaching the overall goal. Meeting deadlines for each step can help curb the urge to procrastinate. Perpetually putting things off until tomorrow will only guarantee that your aspirations are a never ending quest. Like the quest for perfection in all things Pokemon. There will always be another monster to catch, so why battle Squirtle over and over.

I like to take each step in my plan and set my schedule a month in advance on a whiteboard. Then I track my progress as I go. Sometimes I do not make my deadlines because of unforeseen obstacles and that is OK, but sometimes I surpass the schedule set before me.

My biggest problem when setting a schedule is that I am too optimistic with what I think I can accomplish within the time frame. I could do what I set out to if I did not have other responsibilities and other events pulling at me to take up my time and energy. Many times I try to take on more than I can handle which causes me to fall short of the goals I set on my schedule. This is not the best way to set your schedule though. If you are constantly having to push back deadlines and setting lesser goals then it gives you license to procrastinate. Do your best to set a realistic schedule to accomplish your goals. If there are events that conspire to take time away from you then you should try to make up that time in other places.

Goals

Your plan, schedule, and goals help to set benchmarks that lead up to you accomplishing what you set out to do from the start. If you do this well enough then you can reach your end goal quicker and more efficiently than you could otherwise. This is what I try to apply to my writing. Each plot point in my outline is a step within my plan. I haven't been good about applying this to my editing process, but it worked very well for the initial draft of my novel. I had chapter and word count goals that helped to push me forward through the initial writing process. Editing and rewrites have taken me much longer than it should have because I have not planned out the process well and also not set an adequate schedule for completion. This weekend I intend to make a glorious return to a set schedule which will be followed by streamers and fireworks and the sparks from the fireworks setting the streamers on fire. Hopefully no one gets hurt.

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