Hi everyone! Last week, I posted Part 1, which talked about SMART goals and whatnot! Today, I thought I’d talk about long-term and short-term goals (which I’m sure you all know about, but sometimes it’s nice to have it put out there again as a reminder) and go over some things that have helped me with my goals!
What do you want to achieve long-term? Do you want to be published? Do you want to simply write books for fun? Both are fine goals, but they have very different outcomes and you’re going to approach them in differently. For me, my long-term goal is to eventually get published and that’s what I’m aiming towards. I like knowing this because it gives me a clear path that I’m going to follow and knowing my long-term goal, I can see what I have to do to get there. So it’s important to know your endgame, even if it is just for yourself 🙂
Short-term goals are the ones that are going to help you achieve your long-term goals. Long-term goals can be very overwhelming and might even seem impossible, which is why short-term goals are so important. They’re the small steps that you’re going to take that will eventually get you up that mountain. So for me, I said that my long-term goal is to be a published writer. In terms of short-term goals, that might mean that I write and revise a book in a year. I could break it down further and say that I want to draft a book in five months and revise it another five. That’s the nice thing about short-term goals. You can break it however you want, into whatever pieces that work for you best.
Another great example of short-term and long-term goals are with weight loss. Say you want to lose 50lbs. Now that’s overwhelming. But say you want to lose 1lb a week. Much more doable, right?
But remember, don’t get so caught up in your short-term goals that you forget about your long-term goals. Like the R, in SMART, you want to keep it Relevant. You want to remember what you’re aiming towards in the long-term. The short-term goals are just there to help you achieve your long-term goals. They’re mightily important, but don’t lose sight of your endgame.
I’m sure you guys are aware of this, but I think it’s important enough that it’s worth repeating. Make sure that the goals you’re setting are goals that you can control. There’s no point in making a goal that you can’t control because if you can’t control it, how are you going to achieve your goal? A lot of people might make goals like, “I want to be published in a year,” or “I want to be published by the time I’m seventeen”, or “I want to be agented within a month.” But those are all “goals” that are out of your control. Sure, by luck or coincidence, you might hear about someone who made a goal like this and it ended up working out, but it’s not the goal that got them there. It’s timing, coincidence, luck. There’s no way you can achieve those goals because they’re not things that you have a say over, short of going up to an agent, holding a gun, and saying “SIGN ME, SIGN ME!!!!” (Which, by the way, is totally not a good idea.) Making goals that are out of your control will only lead to disappointment and the sense that you failed when it doesn’t quite work out the way you wanted it to. So why even go there? 🙂
But what you can say? I want to write and revise to the best of my ability before I query. I want to query by the end of this year. I want to make this the best book I’ve ever written. Those are all things that are in your control. Those are the goals that can be achieved and not just through luck, timing, or coincidence.
Don’t be afraid to modify your goals
I think sometimes that we get so attached to our original goals that we forget that we can change them. Goals are not set in stone. Goals change all the time, they’re fluid and shapable. It might be that you want to take your life in a new direction. It might be that you decided you want something else. It might be that there was a
For example, maybe you decide that you don’t want to get traditionally published. Maybe you decide that self-publishing is the better path for you. Maybe you decide you don’t even want to get published and would rather write just for fun! It’s all good! You’re allowed to change!
Or maybe it’s a smaller goal you need to change. Your goal was to write 2k today, but you’re really just not feeling it. So you change your goal to writing 500 words instead. Or maybe you wanted to finish your revisions by May, but it turns out that really won’t be a reasonable goal, so you change it to July. That’s totally fine! You can always modify your goals.
The only caveat with this one is that you don’t modify your goals ALL THEM TIME. Because then everything because too fluid and you have no real goal set in place to ground you. When you modify a goal, really make sure you’re doing it for good reason. Because you really don’t have enough time to make your original deadline, not because you didn’t feel like writing and therefore had to change your deadline. But as long as you’re honest with yourself about this, you should be fine 🙂
Upper Limit and Lower Limit Goals
I’m not sure if anyone else does this (probably), but I LOVE this. It works so well and I use it all the time. What I mean by upper limit and lower limit goals is that I like setting two goals, one that’s reasonable and one that’s slightly more challenging, but still attainable. So for example, my goal might be to write 1k words. But I also tell myself that if I feel like it and if I can, that I might try and stretch that goal to 2k. I don’t have to write 2k words if I don’t want to, but it’s just another goal that I like to put out there and see if I can meet. My lower limit goal is 1k words and my upper limit goal is 2k words, meaning that my bare minimum goal is to write 1k words, but that if I can, I’ll shoot for 2k words. If I don’t meet 2k words, great, fine, it’s all good. If I do meet 2k words, hey! Good job! You did more than you absolutely needed to. It makes me feel great that I got some extra words it, but it also means that if I wasn’t able to meet 2k words, it’s totally fine. 1k was my lower limit goal and I met that, so goal achieved! An upper limit goal is just that extra push, that extra oomph, a way to challenge yourself without any pressure.
It also works for longer term goals as well. I might say, “My goal is to finish revising by the end of May, but if I finish by the end of April, that would be great!” If you don’t finish by the end of April, whatever! If you do, that’s GREAT! If you meet your goal by the end of May, YAY!!! That was your goal!
Well, that’s the end of my goal making posts! I hope that it was helpful! If you have any tips on making goals or any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!!!
Thanks for reading!!!