Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Keep Your New Year Goals

Yes, I know we're nearly two weeks into the new year already. But there's still plenty of time to make new goals for yourself! I for one love making writing goals at the start of the year. A new year is a fresh start; a clean slate. If I didn't meet my writing goals for last year (which I didn't) it's a chance to reevaluate and reset!
I have talked a bit on this blog about goal-setting and what kind of goals to set. So today, I really want to focus not on what goals to set, but on how to keep them. With these tricks and a little self-discipline, you may find it much easier to keep yourself on track!



1. Set a time to write. This is something that may work great for some people, but not so great for others. That's okay! Look at your own schedule and see if this is something that would work for you. If it does, awesome. If it doesn't, no big deal. The idea here is to evaluate your daily schedule and then set a specific time aside to write. For example, I work until 2 most days, so I know that a good writing time for me after taking in time to drive home and get settled would be 2:45 - 4. But yesterday, I worked until 5, so I adjusted the time to fit that. If you try this technique, don't be super hard on yourself. If you need to adjust the time a little, then do so. And if you only write for ten minutes, that's okay! That's ten minute's worth of writing, and it'll pay off.
2. Use reminders. Life can get busy, and remembering to sit down and write can actually be really difficult. I can't even tell you how many times I've told myself that I need to go write, but never did. So a solution to this would be to set reminders for yourself! These could be sticky notes, notes on your computer, or even notes on your phone that will alert you at the time you want to write. Being reminded is really helpful, especcially when you tend to be on the go and busy a lot like me.
3. Use a goal tracker app. This has become one of my new favorite things. About a week ago, I downloaded an app called Strides, which allows you to set goals for yourself that you can track. For example, one of my goals for each day is to drink water. So, I have the app set to remind me to log that I drank 20 oz of water 3 times a day--once in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. You can either log that yes, you did it, or no, you didn't. And when you've met your goal for the day, your success turns into a streak! Streaks are really helpful for me because I love not breaking them (hence my daily usage of Snapchat and Timehop). Strides has really helped me with writing because it reminds me every day to write, and it also makes me want to do it so I can keep up a high streak.
4. Don't dwell on missed days. This was (and still is) a really big problem for me. I hate it when I break streaks, as I mentioned before, so sometimes when I miss my goal for the day, I get stuck. I focus more on what I missed than what I can still do. Don't do that! When trying to keep a goal, keep moving forward. If you miss a day, oh well! You can't go back and fix it, so just keep going.
5. Get the words down. This is also a really big problem for me. When it comes to writing goals, a lot of the time I get stuck because I'm too focused on writing a perfect story. Don't do that! If you're working on a first draft, don't think about editing. Don't focus on pretty-sounding writing. Just get the words down, even if it sounds absolutely terrible. You'll make more progress for your goal, and you'll write more!

So there you have it! Five ways to keep your writing goals and stay on track. Now I'm off to write as much as I possibly can in the next three hours. Happy writing, and happy (belated) New Year!

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