Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Setting Goals

I love goals.  "I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

Okay, that was Douglas Adams, but I actually do love setting goals. I love making lists. I love calculating how far I will get if I... [lose 0.6 pounds a week], [write 750 words a day], [jog 30 minutes every morning]. But here's the thing about setting lists, they don't mean anything unless you stick to them.

I can't actual jog for 30 minutes straight, but I have signed up for the Peachtree Road Race (Atlanta's huge 10K run). And I'm actually training this year, as opposed to other years that I've done it. My goal is to run a significant (>50%) chunk of the race. (I'll keep you updated! I'm on week 1 of a Couch to 5K program.)

After six months, my blog is still a lie. I still haven't actually written a book. But I get closer every day! In high school, I used to reward myself for studying with equally spaced M&Ms. Is there a grown up equivalent? What do you do to help you stick to your plans?

Side note: Netflix on my PS3 is dowwwwwwn! What to do with my life?! Achieve my goals, you say? Nonsense!! (I do realize this is a possible sign that I should open my WIP tonight.)


  1. I used a 1000-word-per-day goal to get my first draft done in a few months, but that doesn't seem to be working out as well for me with the revisions. One thing that helped was to mark my daily progress on a Google calendar. And shoes. Shoes make great rewards :)

  2. Are we twins or what? I count everything I do and I'm horrible at making unrealistic projections. (Because that's what they are--projections, not goals.)

    Couple of things:

    1) Couch to 5K is awesome. I used it when I started running, and then used it again when I started running the second time, after I broke my back.

    2) For me, setting "word goals" turned out to be not very helpful. I would work my butt off sometimes and not really get anywhere. And then I would get depressed. Instead, I set a time goal of 2 hours, and broke it down into easier-to-manage chunks of time. For instance, six twenty-minute sessions, or four thirty-minute sessions. These were easier because no matter what my word count, if I wrote the entire time, I felt like I had accomplished something.

  3. I definitely think for writing you should set specific goals. Maybe time goals like the other Elizabeth suggested. I like word count goals because I feel like I am getting somewhere. Time goals are too easy for me to abuse.

    And reward yourself when a shiny carrot for finishing the book. Promise to do something extravagant for yourself. Buy a new computer if you can. Something that's really big, but not totally out of your reach.

    Good luck with the Roadrace! I don't like to run unless I am being chased, so hats off to you!

  4. Rachel: Mmmmm shoes. Totally the grown-up M&Ms.

    Twin (all that's left now is to decide which of us is the evil one!): There's something about compulsively making lists that gives me a feeling of accomplishment, despite the fact that I finished nothing except the list...

    Elizabeth: Thanks for the well wishes- today I finally bumped myself up to Week 2 of the Couch to 5K program and it wasn't too bad. Except that I am exhausted and going to bed immediately.

    I think I'm going to try a time-word-count-either-or goal (I'm going to copyright that name). Like either write for an hour or 750 words at a time, whichever comes first.

  5. Argh! I do this. I make lists, life plans, goals, what not. Very few of my ideas see completion. Is something I try to change on a daily basis ~ :) I imagine I'll get there some day. I guess the trick might be to get other people involved in your goals and hope that they spur you to keep to them! Worth a shot, right? Good luck with your marathon!

  6. I just bought two turkeys for a cat birthday. I dont' know if that qualifies me as evil, but I do think it's clear I'm working for the dark side. Or under their thrall. Or something.