WE ARE ONE-THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH 2018. If you began this year by committing to accomplishing one or more goals, it’s time to take stock of where you are on your year-long accomplishment journey.
Chances are, you’ve gotten a little off track due to unplanned circumstances. You’ve hit bad weather along the way that delayed your travel. You or a loved one got sick or something unexpected occurred that threw you off your carefully planned schedule.
Life happens. And life doesn’t always — or even usually — play out according to our scripts.
The important thing at this point is to take the time to reassess, adjust your goals, and recommit to them. Because if you don’t, you may just get discouraged and give up. Or you may continue to hold goals you know you will no longer be able to reach because they have become (or now, you realize they always were) unrealistic.
If you’ve been following my advice in this series of “Your Best Writing Year Yet!” articles, you have been performing a regular review of your goals and motivations. This takes about five to ten minutes, during which you review each goal and the reason(s) you wrote for wanting to attain that goal. For your daily habit goals, you’ve been checking off whether or not you performed that action, and for longer-term goals, you’ve been checking off your tasks or sub-goals. So you already know whether or not you’re falling behind or failing to incorporate those habit goals into your life.
Now, one-third through the year, it’s time to do a little goal spring cleaning.
Perform these steps for each of your goals, beginning with your Big Rock writing goal:
By the end of April, you should be 1/3 of the way to your goal (assuming an end date of December 31st). For example, if you wanted to write 100k words this year, you should have written at least 33k.
In my case, my big rock goal this year is to write and publish a new book of journaling prompts. I had broken this down to a realistic goal of writing 1 chapter per week. My motivations include wanting to help people write more deeply about the topic of the book and add to my journaling series.
To help track my progress, every time I completed a chapter, I have been marking it on my calendar. So I should have one checkmark each week. Reviewing my calendar, I can see that I was on schedule through January, February, and March. But in April, unexpected demands arose in my life that squeezed my time more than usual. Plus, much of my writing time was taken up with guest posts and interviews for my Accidental Jesus Freak blog tour — a result of another goal I have of increasing book sales for the year.
In short, I am behind schedule by 4 chapters.
The first part of adjusting is to review your motivations and decide if they still stand and if they are strong enough.
In my case, that means asking myself how compelling my desire is to help people deepen their writing through journaling. Is it strong enough to carry me through? If not, maybe I need to think more deeply about what I really want. It’s possible that what mattered deeply to me at the beginning of the year no longer matters as much, and perhaps I need to adjust my goal priorities. Maybe there’s another writing goal that has emerged as more important to me. As I reflect on this particular goal, I decide that my motivation still stands and that I just need to get back on track.
The second part of adjusting requires deciding what strategy or strategies will help you achieve your goal.
If I had stayed on schedule, I would have completed the first draft by August 1st. So the simplest strategy is to push back my completion date to September 1st. On self-imposed goals, sometimes this is the easiest route to take. Another strategy would be to schedule a personal weekend writing retreat, during which I could catch up writing those missing chapters. Or write two chapters per week for a month. Or I can use a combination of these strategies.
When adjusting like this, it’s important to take your other goals into consideration. For example, how would writing two chapters per week impact my regular blogging schedule? What about my other non-writing goals? For me, that weekend retreat is the best and most reliable option.Be focused, determined, and persistent in your intention. Click To Tweet
Recommitting may mean adding new or changed writing times to your calendar. It may mean getting a babysitter and booking a hotel room for a weekend so you can write uninterrupted. It may mean putting another goal on hold (or discarding it altogether) to give you time for your highest priorities.
The point is to be focused, determined, and persistent in your intention to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal.
In the process of assessing, adjusting, and recommitting to each of the goals you have decided to keep, you have created a new roadmap to accomplishment.
Remember to place that roadmap — your list of goals, motivations, and strategies for accomplishing them — in a visible place, and review it every day.
You know the Chines proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Take one step a day, and you WILL arrive at your destination.
Which goal have you assessed, adjusted, and recommitted to today?