This year, if I’m honest, I had trouble drumming up much enthusiasm for goal setting—writing or otherwise. I’m generally a goal-setting fanatic, so this was unusual for me.
I was excited about setting goals last year. I did a whole, five-part series on goal setting in December 2021. You can find it here. Then I set eight goals for myself for 2022. I made it a point to set simple, specific goals and to limit the number of goals I set so I could better focus on them. I know from experience this is the way to go about it. I achieved five of my eight goals for 2022, which I’m happy with.
I tried to drum up the same excitement this year. I recently attended a seminar on solo goal-setting retreats and took an online goal-setting workshop. A couple of weeks ago, I ran a goal-setting workshop myself. I had plenty of advice and tips for would-be goal setters. But as for myself, I wasn’t feeling it much.
I’ve been setting annual goals for a long time, writing them in a special dream journal. It’s a ritual of sorts, and up until this year, I’ve always enjoyed it. I usually do it in celebratory fashion in the days leading up to January 1st, often on New Year’s Eve. I make an event out of it. I keep the dream journal in my living room, and I look at it every couple of weeks or so, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning, to remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and where I’m headed.
I have big plans for 2023, and big plans require big planning, right? Over the course of many weeks leading up to writing my goals in my journal, I spent a lot of time thinking about my goals. I filled up pages and pages in a notebook about what my personal, career, and other goals are, along with pages and pages of detailed plans as to how I’m going to go about turning them all into reality. It scared and overwhelmed me. There wasn’t enough time. How was I going to do it all? It also made me feel like maybe I want too much, more than I’m allowed to have.
I thought about doing my New Year’s Eve ritual, but it no longer sounded fun. Instead, I sat at the kitchen counter, leafed through all the pages in my notebook, and unceremoniously scribbled about 20 goals into my dream journal. There were more, but there wasn’t room on the page. Then I closed the journal, set it aside, and wondered why I’m not excited about my goals this year—especially my writing goals, which in the wake of my recent contest win, seem more within reach than ever. I’m not kidding anyone, least of all myself. I know why I wasn’t excited about setting goals this year.
I am a goal-setting fanatic. Fanatic—therein lies the rub.
I did what I knew I had to do—I went back to basics. I tore the page with my 2023 goals on it out of my dream journal and started over on a clean sheet of paper. I thought about what is most important to me, and I wrote down six simple and specific goals. This time, I wrote them in order of priority. The three goals leftover from last year came first—I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a health and fitness goal and a work/life balance goal are among them. In 2023, those things are going to come first.
I’m beginning to feel excited now. I have two writing goals this year: (1) to find an agent to represent my finished novel; and (2) to rewrite my second novel.
I’m getting ready to submit my application for book coaching certification, and that’s one thing I am excited about. I’m looking forward to working with lots of new writers in 2023 and helping them achieve their writing goals.