~ By Mary E. Thompson
Do you set goals? For some people, it’s a requirement at the beginning of the year. For others, it’s a form of torture. If you don’t set goals, that’s okay, but let me ask you a harder question…
Did you do everything you wanted to do last year?
Whether your answer is yes or no, you set goals. Maybe you didn’t write them down or formalize them, but you set them. You know what you wanted from the year. So why not make it official?
I enjoy setting goals. I set new ones every year. I love to focus on a new year and have something to strive for. My goal setting process begins months before January 1, but every year I have a new set of goals to work toward. They push me and guide my year. My goals help me stay focused on the things I’m working toward and get me back in line when I get discouraged. In a job where someone isn’t monitoring my progress and evaluating me every year, I need to do that myself. And one of the ways I do is through my goals.
I ask you again, what do you want?
That. That answer that whispered through your mind… That’s what you’re after. Maybe it’s quitting your day job. Maybe it’s finishing the book you started last year. Maybe it’s networking with new authors. Whatever you’re after is your big goal.
The first step to setting a goal is motivation. Not just what do I want, but why do I want it? This means start with your why. If you don’t know what that means, I highly recommend you watch this TED Talk by Simon Sinek.
It’s 18 minutes but is well worth the time to stop and look at the difference between asking what you do and asking why you do it.
My big goal for this year is to more than double my income. If I just say that, my goal can quickly become overwhelming and downright terrifying. But when I take a step back and think about my why’s, it’s a lot less scary.
Why? Because I want to contribute more to my family.
Why? Because love is for everyone.
Why? Because kids are expensive.
Why? Because I want to feel like I’m moving in the right direction.
Why? Because my husband wants to retire in less than 14 years!
I have a lot of whys. They’re big for me. I worked for years in a job that almost killed me. I was miserable every day. I was one of those people who dreaded Mondays. It pained me to walk in to work every day. I’m never going back to that. Ever. And meeting my income goal this year will help make that happen. It’ll keep me healthy, make sure my kids are safe, and alleviate some pressure on my husband. It’ll help me reach readers who need to know there’s hope. It’ll allow me to have peace of mind.
But I can’t accomplish my goal simply because I say I want to do it. Writing down your goals makes you more than twice as likely to achieve them, but it’s not a guarantee. I still have a lot of work to do. The big thing is I know where I’m going.
Did you hear that? I said I know where I’m going.
Do you? Do you have a plan for this year? Did you sit down and say, “At the end of this year, I want to be exactly where I am right now?” Or did you sit and say, “I’m going to be in a completely different place next year?”
I heard someone say once that if you want to get to New York City (nationals, anyone?), and you’re in Washington, you can’t sit on a bench and expect to make it to New York. You have to actively work to get there. Find a bus, a train, or a plane to take you to New York. Catch a ride with a friend or a cab (expensive ride, but it’ll work). But if you just sit there, you’ll never make it to New York.
The same is true for our lives. If you just sit there on that bench and never publish that book, never run that ad, never reach out to that author, you won’t accomplish your goal.
Write it down.
I know it’s scary. I get it. Telling people I want to more than double my income makes it real. If I don’t hit it, people will see me as a failure (in my mind they will). If I do hit it, everyone will want to know what I did. But at the end of the day, everyone else doesn’t matter. What matters is my Why. The people I’m working for. My husband, my kids, and myself. That’s why I set goals.
What goals have you set for this year?
Mary E. Thompson is an author of more than 40 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. Her curvy heroines and sexy heroes steal the hearts of her readers and make them wish her characters were real. Mary loves to set ridiculous goals and watch them come true in spite of doubters everywhere. Read more about Mary and her books at MaryEThompson.com, where it’s a curvy road to happily ever after.