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Time for Another Goal Evaluation

You thought I’d given up didn’t you? My obsession with goals. I haven’t and I won’t. Goals are a big part of how I run both BookEnds and my own life. As consistent blog followers know, I take the time at the beginning of each year to really take a look at what I want for myself and for BookEnds and throughout the year, monthly actually, we keep an eye on those goals to see how we’re doing and to make sure we’re on track. I even frame my goals and put them on my desk. They are that important to me.

The thing with goals is a lot of them are out of our control. Everyone at BookEnds has a goal to sell a certain number of books each month. While we can get the submissions into the hands of editors, and hound them incessantly, the offer itself is up to someone else. So part of knowing what your goals are and setting your goals, is making sure that you’re doing the work to reach them, even if we’re struggling to reach the actual goal.

Now that we are three-quarters of the way through the year it’s really time to hunker down and take a close look at those goals. How are you doing in reaching them? Any misses, any near misses, any goals that might have been a little too easy, or maybe too lofty for the year? The thing with goals is they should never be set in stone. They should be ever-changing as the course of your year and life changes.

I’m doing pretty well with my goals for the year. With some I was ahead of the game, others are going to be a little more long-term, but the work I’m doing this year takes me one step closer to them in the next year. A few of my goals needed to be modified. They weren’t necessarily too easy, but I think I could push myself harder. I’ve been doing just that.

Now that we have only a few months left in the year, we’re in that sprint. Take a close look at the goals you’ve set for yourself and make adjustments where needed or add a few that might give you the boost you need to feel like you have a strong finish when December rolls around.

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4 comments

  1. I would love to work in an atmosphere like that! September is a good time to evaluate things because it always feels like a “new year” even if you are no longer in school. Writing is similar to being an agent in that you can only control the work you put toward your goal, not the goal itself–assuming your goal is a contract.

  2. I worked for years as a retail sales manager, and I always made my sales goal. But the key to meeting sales goal is that you can’t focus on your sales goal. People (myself included) don’t like being sold to, and like you said, a large part of a sales goal lies in the hands of those doing the buying. So you have to quantify it differently.

    It helped me to look at dollar amount as an objective, and then have goals that were easily attainable. If sell to 30% of my customers and my average dollar sale is $30 and my objective is to secure $90 in the hour, my goal for the hour is going to be to assist 10 people.

    My sales team was almost always in the top 5% of the company for add-on sales and credit applications because of this. Instead of giving them a hard and fast “you must open two accounts” rule, I looked at their individual success rates and gave them the goal of asking a certain number of customers about the add-on product/applications. By changing the goal to something they could control (asking), success was much more achievable, and since there was less fear of rejection, they were more willing to try.

    I’ve been tricking myself using this logic with writing, too. I’ve had a rough year, and my process has changed, and I can’t pull off the high daily word counts that I used to do, no sweat. So instead of setting a goal of words, I set a goal of minutes. Maybe I can’t do 500 words today, but I can do 45 minutes, broken up into three 15 minute chunks.

    I think sometimes we (and by “we” I mean “I”) get too focused on the thing we want to do that we often forget there may be better, easier ways to get them. For me, reminding myself that the trying, not the succeeding, is the key to success, helps a lot.

  3. Liz, I like your goal of minutes rather than words. It makes complete sense so I might give that a go. Thank you!

    As a rather obsessive goal setter myself, Jessica, I enjoy reading about others who goal set. September is when I usually make a new set of annual goals for my writing, because it is the start of the Australian contest season, and directly after conference (which always gives me a huge boost of writing mojo). I’ve got a long list of goals written (divided into writing, non-writing but writing related and personal), but have yet to work out the how and when part. A task for this week.

    I didn’t do too badly on my tasks for the last year with many achieved. Looking forward to what I can do in the next 12 months =)

  4. Liz, I think you have the right idea about how to change goals into achievable and I’m going to give it a try, I’ll use it on the boys as well.

    So far this year my goals have changed because firstly I changed my MS to YA which requires a full re-write, which I will admit I made a hash of on the first attempt. But I have spent the last few weeks reading as many YA books as I could.

    I’ve done very little writing over the last few weeks, I had a reaction to my blood pressure medication which has caused a low thyroid problem so basically I’ve read and slept.

    I am looking at my goals for the rest of the year, even if I just manage to get the first draft done, as Liz says I can do 15 minutes a few times a day. I’ve also bought an app for my iPad that links to scrivener so I don’t have to get my laptop out to write every time.

    Every step moves you forward, don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

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