It’s the beginning of a whole new year; what time could possibly be better to become more motivated and inspired? You have a whole 365 days ahead of you, and now is the time to start making them count, so we're asking authors what they've got planned for the year ahead!
LaQuette has advice on how to successfully reach your goals for 2019 through a positive mindset and those all important SMART targets!
Keep It Pushin'
It’s the end of the year and now is a time where it's easy to get lost in our perceived failures. Where succumbing to the idea that because we didn’t accomplish everything on our 2018-to-do lists, we somehow are lacking in our chosen profession. This type of failure leads to a slippery slope of correlation equals causation. “I didn’t complete my goals because I suck as a writer. If I had any real talent, I would’ve finished that book by now.” This is not a productive way to think, and trust me, it will deplete you of the drive you need to crush your goals and achieve your dreams. It’s no way to live.
Knowing this and having experienced this myself, I thought about how I combat this, and instantly thought of home. Back in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York, there’s a saying we use to encourage someone to continue working toward their goals, “keep it pushin’”. This phrase has helped me through some tough times, and I’m glad to drop in for a visit with the Pink Heart Society to show every writer how this perspective can help you achieve your goals.
The first step in this “keep-it-pushin’” perspective is to understand that the start of the year offers you a clean slate. Some may find that daunting but the truth is, the opportunity to start over is a blessing not a curse. Don’t view this as a new-year-is coming-and-failure-will-follow kind of situation. Think positive. This is a new opportunity to get it right. Now is the time to seize the chance to do things differently, and hopefully better, this time around.
Second, don’t focus on past failures, analyze them instead. It is easy to get caught up in your disappointments, but highly unproductive. Instead of focusing on how things went wrong, think critically about the steps and missteps you took, and see if there might be a better solution that will yield improved outcomes. For instance, if your goal was to write a certain number of books this year, but by December you’ve only written half that number, perhaps you need to look at what kept you from writing. Look to see if there were any missed opportunities to write, or if you need to re-evaluate that initial goal to produce the number of books you want in a year. Use your mistakes as a roadmap to discovering better routes to success.
Third, prepare for the coming year. Again, you can’t keep it pushin’ if you’re focused on the past and what went wrong. Learn from it and move forward. One of the best ways to do that is to set SMART goals to give you something to work toward. A goal is a specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timely aim, whose outcomes are clearly defined. SMART goals help you flesh out your desires in a way which both inspires you and gives you the opportunity to create and implement an actionable plan for success.
For example, “I want to hit a bestseller list,” is not a SMART goal. Even if you could quantify that with a specific number of book sales, it still wouldn’t fit the definition of the goals we’re trying to outline. Hitting a list is beyond your control. Sure, there are things you can do to boost sales, but you absolutely have no control over how many people will buy your book to help you make the sales threshold.
Instead, consider figuring out why being on a list is so important to you. What do you think it will do for your career? If you can’t come up with measurable proof that making a list will do anything more than be a nice accolade for you, you may want to reevaluate that goal. All jokes aside, I’m not knocking that particular wish at all. I would love to make a list myself someday. But that’s not something I can control, and spending time trying to make something happen that is absolutely outside of my power, is unproductive. I’d be better off putting that time and energy into something I can accomplish myself.
An example of a SMART goal would be better framed in this way. “I would like to publish and market four books this year to help increase my visibility on seller platforms, increase my income, and expand my readership.” In this example there is a specific, measurable goal that is both attainable, and has a time-limit on it. We also have clear objectives that this goal will help us achieve.
The fourth step is organization. Once you’ve created SMART goals for yourself, then you’ve got to organize an actionable plan, or a to-do list that will lead you to successful completion of your goals. If we’re still using the publishing goal above, we’ve got to figure out a few things before we can accomplish this. First you need to figure out a schedule. How long will it take you to write, edit, and market these books? What kind of marketing plan do you have in place? Have you secured an editor? Considering these steps, and any others not mentioned here, will give you a clear look at the workload ahead of you and allow you to tackle it reasonably.
The fifth and final step in my “keep-it-pushin’” plan is to know it’s okay if you fail, or if you don’t accomplish every single goal on your list. Too often we get caught in the vicious cycle of disappointment. We allow ourselves to believe setbacks mean we shouldn’t continue, when in fact, the opposite is often true. Setbacks give us an opportunity to learn. If everything is perfect the first time, we’ll never learn to fix it when things do eventually go wrong. Life happens, and sometimes no matter how much we plan and try, things sometimes get away from us. Let yourself know it’s okay if things don’t work out completely as expected. If things go wrong, stop, assess, re-evaluate and redirect yourself to better outcomes.
This is LaQuette encouraging you to keep it pushin’ in this new year and wishing you all the success you desire. Happy New Year! 💋
LaQuette's latest release, Lies You Tell, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.