The end of the year/beginning of the next one is always exciting. It’s a time to reflect on your accomplishments and prepare for the next ones. But often times, the newness and anticipation of New Year’s resolutions lasts for just a few months before fading away, checklists long forgotten in a dusty drawer. Here's how to achieve goals and actually maintain your motivation throughout the new year.
5 Ways to Stay Motivated and Achieve Goals
If you want to stay strong throughout the entirety of 2018, here are five tips to help you achieve just that.
1. Set goals for the month rather than the year
That’s not to say year-long goals aren’t important, but “smaller” goals that are easily finished in a short amount of time will give you that rush of positive energy everyone needs in order to keep up the good work.
Think about your long-term hopes and dreams for yourself, such as writing a novel, and break them down into more manageable chunks that you can spread out over twelve months, like writing 10,000 words per month.
2. Write a checklist
Who doesn’t love checking off boxes when a task is completed? Make your list of goals something large, aesthetically pleasing, and visible.
It must be placed where you’ll see it often to remind yourself what still needs to be done and what you have already finished. And if you don’t enjoy looking at it, you won’t necessarily enjoy doing anything off the list, either. Keep it positive!
3. Create consequences
First decide if you are the kind of person who works better under the threat of punishment or the promise of reward. Maybe you work well with both, in which case, even better because you have plenty of flexibility with which to work.
If negative consequences are the way to go, give yourself deadlines for each of your goals. Writers have to work under deadlines all the time, which is a great way to boost productivity when you know someone is counting on you to pull through. But if you are your own boss, you have to come up with your own punishment, too. If you don’t reach the deadline, maybe consider pulling the plug on the television for a while.
If rewards cause you to race to the keyboard with glee, set concrete promises for yourself, such as, “If I finish editing this short story by the end of the month, I will treat myself to a nice dinner and a movie.” When you have a specific incentive in mind, you will be that much more determined to finish what you started.
4. Switch up your setting
If I ever start to feel bored with my usual routine, I pick up my laptop and move somewhere new. This can be as drastic as sitting yourself down at a coffee shop or library or as simple as moving to a new room in the house.
A different view and a different seating orientation can do wonders for your enthusiasm for your work.
5. Envision your future
What kind of writer do you want to be? When you picture yourself ten years in the future, what do you see for yourself?
Don’t be afraid to dream big. Imagining your future can be exciting and terrifying all at once, but it always helps when it comes to deciding what your next move should be.
But if you do, be ready to put in the work. The amount of effort you put into a task will match the outcome.
How to Achieve Goals and Make Changes in the New Year
Don’t sell yourself short. If you want to be somewhere else a year from now, figure out what you need to do to make the change and do it.
One more tip for how to achieve goals? Ask for help, if you need it. Having a community standing behind you in support is one of the best ways to drum up the courage to achieve your goals in any way possible.
You’ve got this.
What are your goals for the New Year? Do you have other tips for how to achieve goals? Let us know in the comments.
We have goals. Our characters do, too—and their goals drive their stories. For the next fifteen minutes, get into your character's head and think about what they really want to achieve.
What goal do they want to accomplish over the course of the story? What have they done so far to achieve it? What's worked, and what hasn't? What's stopping them from achieving their goal? What strategy are they going to try next? And what happens if they succeed?
When you're done, share your writing practice in the comments so we can get to know your character. Don’t forget to give your fellow writers some support, too! Have fun!