Why you should set actionable goals instead of resolutions

It’s the beginning of a new year, and one question is on everyone’s mind.

What are your resolutions for 2018?

If you think about it though, most resolutions are vague like getting fit, reading more or spending more time with God. They are ways to better yourself and your life. And they are an admirable endeavor! But without a concrete plan, a strong motivation and a few other details, they will stay vague and float away into the ether, untethered and ineffectual. Like Aunt Marge.


So let’s walk through a few questions to ask yourself so that you can effectively accomplish your goals for the year.

Why am I doing this?

People usually skip this step and focus on the end results, but without digging a little deeper and identifying your motivation, you’ll forget why it was so important to begin with.

This year, I want to get an agent, and I want to write another book. But why? On the surface, it’s because being a writer is my dream. But WHY? Because I want to change lives. I want someone to read my book and feel empowered to leave an abusive marriage, to say I love you, to seize the day and go skydiving. Thinking about that why is ten times more likely to get me out of bed and to the computer than just thinking about the end result of being a published author.

How am I going to accomplish it?

Here’s were the “actionable” part comes in. No goals were ever accomplished without a plan! Otherwise, they just fade.

So here’s what you do. Write your goals and your why’s down. Next, break them down and compartmentalize. Each area of your life should have its own goal.

Now you focus on the to-do steps. I will write X amount of words per day until my new novel is finished. I will query X number of agents each week. See what I mean? Something you can cross off your list on a consistent basis that form the framework for your end goal. But keep it simple and concentrated. Too many goals will overwhelm you which leads to burnout and an imminent decrease in productivity.


When am I going to make time?

I cannot express the usefulness of time blocking. If it’s on your calendar, you are incrementally more likely to actually follow through. Add in a deadline, and BAM! You’re the queen of productivity.

I like to put my writing time on my calendar so that it’s blocked off for anything else. Saying you will write one hour each day is great! But planning to write from 9 – 10am on MWF and 6-7pm on TTH is even better.

Once, it’s on your calendar, protect your writing time ruthlessly! Prioritize what’s important to you.

Who can help hold me accountable?

Partners in crime make a world of difference. It can be your mom, your critique partner, your personal trainer. Tell them to bug you, ask you every time you talk whether you’ve gotten your writing in for the day. It may be annoying, but trust me, it works.

Rewards aren’t technically a “who” but they work too! Find what you enjoy, and don’t let yourself have it until you have completed your to-do list for the day. Making this up because I promise I am not solely motivated by alcohol… But if I don’t go to the gym, I don’t get any wine that night…. Sucks for everyone.


Don’t get me wrong. Resolutions are a fabulous exercise. They help you identify what you want to change in your life. But by digging a little deeper into the why, how, when and who, you can turn your resolutions into real goals for your best year yet!

What are YOUR goals for 2018? Share in the comments below!

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