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The New Year: How to Focus on Your Goals

I’m like most people. As the new year approaches and I dream and plan what I’d like to accomplish after the clock strikes midnight on the first of January. Logically, I realize I could start working toward my goals at ANY time, but there is something enticing about the clean slate of a new year.

2020 is no different, though, in actuality, each year is at least a little different. Over the next 12 months, I’d like to lose weight. I’d like to publish at least one book. And I’d like to write another. I’d like to spend quality time with loved ones. I’d like to live each day as if it were my last.

But I am human. I get caught up in the day to day and lose sight of my goals. I become sidetracked like a dog whose path is crossed by a squirrel. Or my weaknesses overpower my tenacity and the decisions I make move me in an unrelated, new direction- instead of toward my goals.

A few years back, I set goals to write two (sometimes four!) books in a single year. Yet, now I quake over the thought of completing a single book in the same span of time. My life has changed. I work outside the home full time. I don’t have a great concept of how much I can accomplish in my writing career. But I also haven’t really pushed myself to figure that out. Can I write 400 words a day/five days a week in order to log 2000 words per week? What would that feel like? Would it add more pressure than I care to handle? Or would it be a piece of cake? Should I cut those numbers in half? That’s still 52,000 words per year! I don’t know. Life changes. Sometimes in your favor. Sometimes not. It’s up to you to figure out how those changes impact your dreams and how to adjust accordingly.

In the past I’ve set very specific goals and I’ve accomplished a lot. But I’ve also set absolutely no goals and accomplished things. The difference, I think, is that what I accomplished after setting specific goals was more measurable. Generic goals – such as ‘lose weight’ – can be achieved by losing a pound or three, while still disappointing the person who lost that weight. Where as, achieving a specific goal (lose 15 pounds by March 31) is achievable, Plus, you can track your progress along the way. In order to lose 15 lbs by March 31st, I should lose 5 pounds per month. It’s easy to check if I have accomplished that by the end of January. No? Then I need to double my efforts or add some exercise. Did I lose 10 pounds by the end of Februay? Yay! I’m on track to hit the first quarter weight loss goal and well on my way to my overall annual goal. Regardless of how you set goals, the more specific they are, the more measurable and rewarding they are when accomplished. Don't just take my word for it. Here is a good article which offers tips on goal setting: Effective Goal Setting 101.

This year I’m going to (once again) set goals to change. Change me. Change my writing career. Change my personal relationships. All for the better. I want to feel more comfortable inside my skin. I want to share my words with those of you who care. I want to make personal connections.

Last year was a pretty decent year. A few things changed at my day job and I went from reading the want ads daily to really digging in and enjoying my role there. I was able to realize the goal of buying a brand new vehicle, which allowed my husband and I to spend more time camping and canoing. But it wasn’t a great year for everyone. The country remains at odds over our leadership adding stress to daily interactions and social media content. Health issues and financical struggles challenged loved ones, which is the main reason I want to make stronger connections this year. I want people to know that I value them, I see their struggles, and I care.

So, for me, 2020 is – appropriately – all about focus. (Get it? 20/20 vision. Focus.) This year I feel compelled to set specific goals and hold myself accountable. Whether that be to lose a pound and a half a week, writing 2000 words a week, or sending a handwritten card to a loved one weekly.

This year, I’m taking the time to define the results I want to attain and then I will dissect those goals to figure out how to achieve them in the next 52 weeks. I will stop to assess my progress regularly and adjust my efforts accordingly. And hey – I get an extra day this year to help me out.

Author, Savannah Hendricks, creates a vision board.

Author, Paty Jager, sets specific accomplishments.

What are you doing this year? Letting it ride? Making a soft outline? Specific bullet points? And how do you plan to enact your plan? I’d love to hear what your strategies are. And if this post has inspired you a little or a lot, please use the social media buttons below to share this post with your family and friends.

Happy 2020. (For me) The year of Focus!

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