Saturday, October 21, 2017

Setting Goals Post 9 :: Write 31 Days

By delving deeply into ideas from different lists, we've been talking about the different ways to add indepth content to your blog articles. The topics and links that we've already discussed are at the bottom of this article so you can easily go back and read anything you've missed or that you'd like to review. 

Today l
et's talk about goal setting and ways to write about this topic on your blog. Many people write some sort of goal setting post in late December or early January. That's a good idea since many people are thinking of goals near the beginning of a new year.

But there are other options: Instead of using January first as your goal setting date, you can choose your birthday or your blog's anniversary. Any month or date can work. These are your goals, so you decide what is best for you.

Once you announce those goals, it's a good idea to return to the list and analyze your progress on occasion. July is in the middle of the year and a good time to check on how you've been advancing, and a post can come from that information. You can choose to do this on a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly basis instead. The thing to remember here is that you want to be honest with yourself. If you review your progress and find yourself lacking, you have a couple of choices:

  • step up your game
  • modify some or all of your goals so that they are more realistic
  • reduce the number of items within the goals
  • abandon the whole idea

Again, you have to make the decisions that work best for you. Don't continue to push yourself to complete some unattainable fantasy--that is sure to be frustrating or depressing if you feel that you've failed. The point of setting goals is to help yourself stay on track so that you can succeed. Anything beyond that began as unrealistically difficult or is just too much for your life.

This brings us to another important point: how to be realistic in setting your goals in the first place. Look at your accomplishments in the past. Very likely you have pushed yourself to accomplish what you've already achieved, so seriously consider whether you can take on any more. 

Photo credit: Jeff Sheldon @ugmonk 

Have your needs or goals changed? If so, then you can consider letting something go. If you don't need that something in your life or it's a negative influence, let it go and replace it with something positive or needed. If you need all of the things that take your time and energy and you just can't add anything, face that truth and either give yourself more time or seek help from someone who may be willing to assist you.

For example, while in college and nearing my senior year, I decided that I wanted to graduate a semester early to save money. I generally took 15 hours of classes. I decided to take yet another three hour class, but I had three small children and drove an hour both ways to ULL. The plan had pitfalls that I did not anticipate. I depleted all of my energy racing to get to classes and keeping up with the added work, which meant I had nothing left for my family, and my grades began to suffer. In the end I had to admit defeat and drop a class. I simply could not keep up the pace of 18 hours.

I should have seen that I was being unrealistic in thinking I could add any more to my workload. Had I been honest with myself and analyzed all the parts of that plan, I'd have saved myself many days of misery. Instead I looked at the positives of my goal and jumped in without considering how it would affect my family, grades and health. 

One way to analyze your goal(s) is to use the old-fashioned Pro/Con list. Draw a line down the center of a sheet of paper and list the advantages on one side of the line and the disadvantages on the opposite side of the line. Remember to include others who will be affected and allow them to give input. Let them add to the Pro/Con list. Then consult someone who can be objective on the subject. An objective person, who has nothing to gain or lose in your endeavor, may have add items for your list that you could not see. Finally, look at your list with honesty and decide what is best for you and your family.

Writing your goals takes one think above all others: courage. You are essentially telling the world, "This what I want to do." Not accomplishing that can be difficult. However, should you decide to write about your goals, you may have several posts in this one subject. 
  1. your decision-making process and outline of your goals
  2. detailed steps you will take to achieve them
  3. a timeline of your proposed accomplishments
  4. future checkup posts
Some subjects to consider in goal-setting:
  • Business goals (increase sales/contacts, PR, branding, etc.)
  • Personal goals (weight loss, renovations, etc.)
  • Blogging (posts per week/month, increase following, etc.)
  • Arts and crafts (how you plan to grow in your skills)
  • Travel (where to go, with whom, mode of transportation etc.)
  • Continuing education (reading, classes, skills, research etc.)
  • Craft shows (research, vendor booth, # of shows, etc.)
  • Teaching (# of places/classes, increase in # of lessons, etc.)
As you begin thinking of writing about your goal-setting, consider not only what you plan to do for the next few months or year. Also consider what you want to do in the long term. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five or ten years. While you may choose to write those down but not blog about them, you will have a way to look at your current goals to make sure that you are moving in the right direction for all of the things you want to do.

A quick reminder that the list below includes all of the posts in this series. Also visit the Write 31 Days site to find other writers and topics. A special thank you to Crystal Stine for hosting the challenge. Click here to to her Facebook page.


Kaja said...

This is interesting; I set myself goals all the time (though some are pretty vaguely defined) but rarely think to blog them. These posts are providing lots of food for thought.

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

Thanks Kaja! I am enjoying writing the articles. It's forcing me to think deeply about how to get into the subject and to come up with ideas. I may even try the Write 31 Days again next year. :)