Define Your Goals #MayChallengeDay14-15

smart-goals

I always say that I don’t really sit down to seriously write a book until I know how it ends. The reason I stick to this strategy is the same reason most of us have such a difficult time reaching our goals: We don’t define them. If I don’t know where I’m going with a story, the ultimate ending, I usually have a hard time getting into the flow. The flow. Its that first draft stage where you put your head down and you do not come back up until the work is done. Not even for air. You worry not about the technicalities of the work or what other people are saying about the publishing industry. Those things will become nothing more than a distraction. Well, at least to me (I can’t speak for you). So, as for me, once I do get started I can’t  worry about typos, editing or what Stephen King said. Not right now. Not in that moment. At that point I’m just trying to get the basic layout on paper. But how can I lay the foundation that will lead me to a certain point if I don’t know what that point is? I cannot build a brick house until I know I want it made of brick, least I lay the foundation with straw.

The same can be said of our life, our blogs, or whatever it is we set out to do. One thing I’ve learned over the years is the power of patience. Oh patience! I was in such need of it. If I could have bought endurance in a bottle I would have done it. I realized that my lack of patience was draining all of the potential out of my work. Why? Well because I was rushing an idea and not sitting down to seriously analyze what it will take to bring that idea forward. And not only to bring it forward but to seriously consider the plausibility of the idea. Does it makes sense? Is it real? And not only is it real, but do I believe in seriously reaching this goal that I have set for myself or is it just a dream? I hear people talk a lot about following your dreams. People are fond of dreaming, but as long as we are still dreaming our goals will be just that: imaginary.

Anyone can set goals. We’ve all been to school or to some educational setting even if it were our own living rooms, where someone told us to sketch out our short term and long term goals. In short, many of us know exactly where we want to go, and where we want to be. The problem is not the goal itself. It’s not that it is too difficult or too simple. The problem is that we have no clear vision of how we plan to get there.

The chart in this post is a great start. Make sure that your goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I tried to think about which of these was the most important, but I think they all are. If your goal is not specific enough then it won’t be measurable. If goals are not measurable then they won’t be achievable and a goal that is achievable is naturally also not realistic. If your goal is not realistic then there is no real time limit that can be placed on it. Which in turn means its more likely to stay in lala land than put into action.

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