Think back to the resolutions or goals you set in January. Less than 5 months ago, yet it feels like years have passed! Did you write them down? Do you remember what they were…or would you rather forget?
How well have you done with your goals? Perhaps you haven’t thought about them for months. Maybe you recall them but just gave up. Maybe you’re one of the few pleased with your progression, but want to do even better.
We’ve all been enmeshed in a giant “pause.” Terms such as shelter in place, quarantine, and social distancing have wreaked havoc with our plans and our goals for 2020. If you’re anything like me, you may have thought that staying home would give you extra time to work on your manuscript. But for many of us, the disruptions to our routines, combined with new concerns such as homeschooling children or where to buy toilet paper have shattered our hopes to get that book finished.
Whether you’re focusing on your own goals or encouraging others, this is the perfect month to talk about it because May is National Recommitment Month. It’s a time to review the resolutions you made or the goals you set.
Your goals might be related to physical health, such as diet, exercise, or conquering a habit or addiction. Or they might be relationship-oriented, focusing on issues of forgiveness and restoration. Perhaps your objectives are in the financial realm, such as managing debt or exploring new investments. Maybe you set a goal of tackling a new challenge, one you’ve never attempted before. And of course, they can be writing-related.
Regardless of what your goals are, here are five ways you can encourage yourself and others to recommit.
1. Avoid guilt trips
As we move through the month of May, we’re approaching the halfway point of the year. Our natural inclination is to beat ourselves up for failing to meet our goals or accomplish our resolutions.
Maybe with the strain of juggling work-from-home demands, family responsibilities, and home-schooling in addition to all your usual activities has forced your writing onto a back burner.
Perhaps you’re lacking motivation because the pandemic hit just as you were approaching the “sagging middle” of your novel. You haven’t picked it up again because, frankly, you’re not certain of how to progress the story.
Maybe you’re struggling because your objectives are tasks you have to do, not items you want to do. The right motive makes a remarkable difference in accomplishing goals. You may need to tweak your objectives to examine them in light of the things you want to do. How can the objectives you have to complete help you accomplish the aims you want to complete?
Perhaps the toll of caring for ill loved ones or sadly, the tragedy of losing loved ones in this pandemic, has consumed your emotional energy and depleted your creative drive.
Regardless of why you’ve stalled in your writing, don’t beat yourself up. If you didn’t achieve your objectives today, remember tomorrow’s a new day.
2. Define success
Perhaps you haven’t made progress because your goals are too vague. Finish my story. Market my book. Develop my writing skills. Even if you accomplished these goals, how would you define success?
Re-examine and tweak your objectives to make them SMART. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Assembling SMART goals will make it easier for you to both define success and achieve it.
3. Take one day at a time
Have you ever been asked how one eats an elephant? The answer is simple: one bite at a time.
When it comes to your goals, there may be days when you feel as if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Are your resolutions overly ambitious? Once you’ve established SMART goals, you can develop interim action steps and benchmarks.
As the saying goes, “nothing succeeds like success.” So create objectives that enable smaller successes on your way to accomplishing the final goal.
The more worthwhile the objective, the more effort it will require and the longer it will take to accomplish. The question to ask may not be whether you’ve achieved your goal. The better question to ask may be, are you making progress toward your goal?
And if your goal is to develop your fiction writing skills, a good step might be to register for the Write2Ignite Fiction Master Class on September 19!
Don’t be discouraged…and keep chewing, one bite at a time!
4. Encourage accountability
When John Donne penned the words of the poem, “No Man Is an Island,” he could not have realized the impact his work would continue to have almost 400 years later.
We need each other. We need love, fellowship, and encouragement. With regard to our goals and objectives, we also need accountability partners and prayer partners. Being transparent makes us vulnerable, which can be scary. But if we refuse vulnerability, we’ll cheat ourselves out of the support we need to achieve our objectives.
With whom have you shared your writing goals? Have you given them permission to ask you about your progress? Have you scheduled specific times to meet for accountability?
Who will you ask to pray for you as you recommit to your resolutions? What a privilege it is to know you and your goals are being brought before God’s throne on a regular basis!
5. Reward yourself
Celebrate your successes. Reward yourself each time you reach a new benchmark. Be alert to even the smallest achievements, which are often lost in the shuffle of our day-to-day commitments, and certainly in our Coronavirus-sensitive environment.
Those achievements do not always come in a way you might expect. Sometimes they come in the form of dogged perseverance. Other times they will appear, not in standing firm, but knowing when to retreat and regroup before you try again.
The important thing is to identify progress…and celebrate it.
As we recognize National Recommitment Month, what resolutions, goals, or objectives will you recommit to?
8 thoughts on “5 Steps for Goal Recommitment by Ava Pennington”
Great advice, Ava! I didn’t really set goals for the year, but I’m in a private FB group where we set weekly goals. And we report in every Monday. It’s really encouraging.
For me, the stress of having my husband AND my special needs adult daughter home ALL DAY caused so much discord, I couldn’t even think about writing. Not until a couple of weeks ago. My writer’s brain just woke up and I’m writing again. YAY! So yes, no guilt. This is a hard time for everyone and we can’t expect to feel normal, so we’re not gonna do normal things. At least, most of us.
The biggest problem I have is that I’ve been stress-eating and have gained 5-7 pounds. UGH. I’ll tackle that next. haha!
Glad to hear you’re writing again, Pam! Carol Baldwin
Yay – so glad you’re writing again, Pam!
Ava….your message was a tremendous encouragement to me. SMART helped me actually to see that I can pull myself up from the boot straps because I can have a bit of a plan. I am a PB Childrens book writer….with a Bible based art curriculum in the works….and soooooo many ideas and I reflect fondly upon each often, daily, and monthly when my ‘ TO DO THIS MONTH day planner sheets. I too have a disabled adult daughter whom I am care giver to nearly 24/7. I was to the point of giving up altogether this week ….while unpacking from a 3rd move in 2 years. …and seeing my many works in progress…and notes and story boards half done. You have given me back what a dear friend and prayer partner calls ‘MY ROAR”…..AND I HAVE DECIDED THERE IS HOPE AND I AM GOING FOR IT ….you have given me a plan….THANKS
I am so glad that Ava’s words helped you get back in track. that’s great!! Carol Baldwin
So glad, Cindy! One step at a time. You can do it with God’s help!
Helpful post with some very practical advice!
I’ve found it helpful during this time to really cut back on expectations and give myself small but purposeful tasks to achieve each day instead of thinking I’ll manage a huge to do list. This way my goals remain in focus, but the pace is more manageable for the current situation.
That sounds like a wise approach, Penny. The nice thing about goal-setting is that we can customize it to the best approach for our individual personalities and circumstances!