Another thing to keep in mind when setting goals is to be cognizant of all areas of your life. As Coach Wooden said, "The two most important words in the English language are love and balance." With that in mind, I like to break up my goals into different sections: goals for my writing, goals for my nonprofit organization Write On! For Literacy, and general goals for a healthy, balanced life. Here are some examples in each category:
- Write 400 words every day.
- Complete new novel manuscript.
- Submit to a literary magazine every other week.
- Write a three-act play.
- Read at least half an hour every day.
- Send out a newsletter every month.
- Be a guest speaker at 8 schools/organizations.
- Create a Write On! DVD.
- Start a Holiday Book Drive at Purdue.
- Exercise three days a week.
- Learn to cook 10 new healthy recipes.
- Plant a garden.
- Do at least one act of kindness every day.
- Count my blessings every night.
Something I am trying for the first time this year is breaking down my year-long goals into month-by-month goals. It helps me get a handle on more daunting projects by planning out how I want to move forward month by month. For example, one of my writing goals is to finish the current novel manuscript I am working on. I have a goal of writing a certain number of pages every month.
I am also a believer in daily to-do lists -- it feels so good to cross things off my list! -- but I think month-by-month goals are more flexible for those inevitable times when life gets crazy. For example, maybe I won't be able to write much for a few days during midterms, but then I can make up for it the next week and still be on track for my monthly writing goal.
What are your goals for 2012? How will you make them happen?
I'll close with another of my favorite quotes from Coach Wooden: "The journey is better than the inn." Here's wishing you a masterpiece of a journey in 2012!
Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Assistant Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review.