As I listen to people making goals, however, I realize that the simple reason many people make goals is "they haven't made any." They have dreams but not goals. So, let's talk about goal setting today.
First of all goals are things that we can achieve. These are not things that we hope might happen or things that are beyond our control. For example:
- Good - I want to finish my book by the end of Spring Break
- Bad - Want to be on the New York Times Best Seller List
Why is this second one bad? Because it is something too many other people have control over. You can control the first one.
Secondly, goals are measurable. You have to be able to monitor how you are doing and when you have actually achieved your goal. For example:
- Good - When I sit down and write for a 2 hour period of time, I want to be able to write 15 pages.
- Bad - I want to feel good about my writing.
Simply put, how can we measure the second one?
Finally, goals have to be achievable. Too often, writers set goals for themselves that can never be achieved due to a lot of other variables. Sometimes life is going to get in the way. Sometimes it is just an impossibility. For example a writer may say they want to write 10 full length stories in one year while working full time and with kids still in the house. Probably not going to happen.
Now that we have got that into your head, I want to leave you with 4 questions that a friend of the family learned while working in a juvenile detention center. While these dealt with problem solving, I think in many ways these also work for goal setting.
- What do you want?
- What are you doing right now to achieve it?
- How is that helping?
- What should you be doing?
If you are struggling with "goals" you may have set for yourself, go back to these 4 questions. In our house we call them the Magic Questions. My bet is you will find the answer really quickly.
Oh, and one last thing. Goal setting is not a passive activity. You have to get off your behind and do something about those goals.
Now, get out there and get to work.