Each January (actually December) I make a fresh list of my goals for the upcoming year. Each month I review those goals to see how I’m doing, but each week (sometimes each day) I make smaller lists of things I need to do to achieve those goals.
Making a list of goals isn’t enough. Anyone can dream about what they’d like to do. If you want those goals to work for you, you need to take steps daily toward them. If my goal is to sell (for example) 50 books a year I can’t wait until December to make that happen. I need to start on January 1 and take steps each day toward each sale. In fact, I should be selling two books a month (ideally).
I need to read the submissions that will help me find the books to sell. I need to reach out to editors to find out what they want to see and what’s hot. I need to talk to my clients about their goals for the year and the month and see how those align with mine, and to see what I need to do to help them achieve their goals (which will help mine). I need to submit, nag and resubmit the projects I’ve got ready to sell. And I need to look at each of these things on a daily basis.
Right now I have an annual goal list framed on my desk. I look at that daily to see how far I’ve come. Some are short term in the sense that they’ll be completed (hopefully) by the end of the year. Others are longer term and might take a few years to get to. Each month I review the goals and make notes as to how I’m doing.
In addition to the framed list, I have a small checklist at my left elbow. This is the list I made on Monday of things I need to do to get to that framed list. Some of them are tasks I need to complete, and some of them are, for example, books I intend to sell or submit in the next month or two that will help me get to that master number. It’s a reminder of what I have going on and gives me a mental boost to keep me focused.
Writing a goal list and reviewing a goal list isn’t a one-time, once-a-year project. It’s something you need to do and analyze every day. You can’t just say you’ll sell 50 books and have it happen. You need to take tiny steps each day toward making it happen.