Monday, 16 January 2012

Writing Goals

It is the beginning of a New Year and I for one, love to set aside some time to reflect on what I achieved last year and then prayerfully set goals for the new one. I believe that setting goals helps to keep purpose and direction throughout the year. I don't like to look back and regret time wasted.

So I am curious. Do others tackle life this way? Do you plot our your year roughly and write down what you wish to achieve? I want to encourage you to try it if you haven't done it before. (Ok, I'm hearing "but if I set goals and then don't achieve them, I'll feel like a failure." I used to feel that way too, but if you push past the fear and don't put too high expectations on yourself, it will be beneficial.)

Here are some of the areas you can set goals in:

Spiritual Life - What changes do I want to see in this area of my life? Better prayer and devotions? Better self-control in some area? Learning to trust God in some situation? It could be any number of things.

Marriage/Family Life - How can I improve my marriage and what are some step I can take to achieve it? How can I improve relationships with my children? What can I impart to them this year? Are there any relationships that need some reconciliation and healing? What can I do to help this happen?

Personal Growth - this is to do with physical/mental/emotional well being. Do I need to exercise more? Do I need to shed a few kilos? Do I need to take more time out so I don't wear myself out so much? Do I need to find a job, or change employment?

Skills Development - What can I do this year to improve my skills for my career or for my ministry? It is important to invest in your gifts and abilities.

Writing Goals - Being an author, I add this to my list. I write down all that I wish to achieve for my writing career. How many words per day or week will I write? Do I just aim to finish that manuscript and write "The End"? Do I need to work on editing a draft or put together a submission? Do I need to find the courage to actually send something to a publisher? To I need to work on promotion and what events/articles can I plan to achieve this? How often do I want to blog?

There are so many things you can set goals for. I personally, set at least one in each section, and heaps in the writing one. But it is an individual thing. You do what works best for you. One thing is important - be specific. Rather than write something like "I want to read my bible more," quantify it - make it measurable. Eg "I will read two chapters of my bible per day."

Another way to step it up a notch, if you are not terrified of the whole process, is type out your goals and hand them to someone close who can follow you up every couple of months. That way you keep accountable as well and can get encouragement along the way.

Do any of you already do this? Please feel free to share your own tips and experiences. :)

Amanda Deed resides in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she fills her time with work, raising a family, church activities and writing historical romance novels. Her new novel, Ellenvale Gold was released at the beginning of November, 2011. For more information, see:


  1. I find goal setting helpful too, though I always do it allowing myself a lot of grace. This year we set some goals as a family which was fun - seeing what the children thought we should work on was interesting!

  2. This is exactly what I did over a cup of tea with my hubby a couple of weeks ago. We also formulated goals for things link health, family, work, and hobby.

  3. I set some broad goals (eg, 'finish writing novel'), and then break these out into a fairly detailed plan. The plan is quite dynamic and changes as new information and understanding comes to light during my progress, but the goals themselves do not change.

  4. Thanks Amanda. I am just like you in the realm of goal setting. I too set goals for myself for all spheres of my life and then reflect end of the year as to how I went. I also keep changing my goals as the year goes on since circumstances change and the goals need to be flexible. I love beginnings, don't you? Love the beginning of a new year with plans to make and a fresh start over my mistakes of the past year. Thanks for sharing. I loved the picture you'd chosen too which was very apt! :)
    Blessings and happy goal-reaching in 2012, all!
    Isn't it wonderful to have a God who is leading us on into the New year?

  5. I never think to consciously set goals. Of course I have them but to actually sit down and formulate plans and steps goes against my spontaneous nature. I certainly don't knock the process though and admire those who work this way. I guess you just do what works.

  6. Thanks Amanda. I try not to set New Year's goals because I hate getting to June and realising that I had forgotten what my goal was and how I was going to get there. It makes me feel like a failure. I'm more likely to set daily goals (today is a writing day and has been slated as one since last week), or monthly goals (for January I set my goal as cleaning out my study but I did it by the 14th so now I'm very happy with myself!). And there are so many things in life that have to be done that I feel like I'm achieving things everyday. But writing is my main focus and I grab every minute I can aside from the days I put aside. I'm encouraged by your organisation and appreciate you sharing how you work. It does motivate me to keep trying.

  7. Great post, Amanda. Goal planning is very much a part of my life. I have written on this before because I don't want to waste the time God has given me. My writing goals are detailed on my website at and so far, I'm on track. My husband and I set our personal goals as well to improve our marriage every day. This is so important to me now especially when we're settling into a new community fnding and making new relationships. Blessings, Laura.

  8. Amanda, I'm also a goal setter :) With my writing goals, I break down the big goals into smaller goals (daily/weekly) so they're less intimidating. I'm a big believer in accountability and I share my writing goals with one of my online writing groups and my critique partners.

    1. Hi Amanda,
      I did enjoy reading the comments and seeing the different styles reflected in different personalities. I try to clarify the things which are most important to me each January and make sure there are just a few. This year, my oldest child is studying Year 12 which makes me nervous. Family and writing will be my major ones for 2012

  9. we learnt in doing a couple of subjects in business studies about setting goals and setting smart goals.
    S - specific
    M - measurable
    A - achievable
    R - realistic
    T - time-based
    By using the acronym it helps to set achievable goals. They also said like you did Amanda you need to write the goal down and then revisit it and not be afraid to change it.
    They say the difference between a dream and a goal is writing it down and acting on it.

  10. Great post and interesting comments. Your smart goal acronym is the perfect guide to goal setting, Jenny! As someone once said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." I wholeheartedly concur.

    By the way, what happened to the comment box? I needed to click "Reply" before the "Add Comment" box even appeared (some may not realise). Is this something you did, Lee, or is it a blogspot change??? Just wondering...

    1. Um, I feel like a rebel. I think it's my lifestyle with an evangelist husband that baulks me from goal setting. We are always working on radio program scripting and of course rehearsing music. Ad travelling! I simply write when I can. I suppose my biggest goal re writing is just that. Grab every opportunity, girl. I won't state all my other wishes/longings/yearnings but pray about them. One goal I will share is that I'll never get too complacent, or too old to lose the wonder.

  11. Hey everyone. It's great to see so many of us really purpose our time ahead. I never used to set goals (for fear of failure), but I feel I have achieved a lot more by doing so. Blessings!

  12. This is why I love the week between Christmas and New Year. I find it a great time to consider the year about to end, and make strategies for the year ahead. Blessings :)

  13. Hi Amanda,
    Yes, I'm a goal setter too and its interesting when I come to the end of the year and many of the goals have changed or become obsolete. By the way I read your latest book and I just wanted to say I thought it was really really good, very well written, good plot and believable. Well done.

  14. Margaret, here's a related quote: 'The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.' :)