Friday, May 3, 2013

Achieving Goals

by Marsha Ward

At the beginning of this year I wrote out a list of goals in a Word document. I didn't go into the multiple areas of life the way other people do. I kept this list centered around my writing life and career.

I divided the list into two areas of emphasis: THINGS I WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN 2013, and THINGS I COMMITTED TO DO IN 2013, sort of internal vs external forces at work. The original version had about ten things in the list at the top and five at the bottom.

Since the page looked so bare, I copied the goals a second time at the bottom of the page, and when I printed it out, put the two copies in two places in my house where I could see them.

Soon, I discovered that the date of one retreat I had planned to attend conflicted with a convention I was obliged to attend, so I had to revise the list.

This revision process is ongoing, as I cross off goals achieved and add new ones. I have even added others I achieved despite them not even being on the original list.

Today, I split off a section from the first list, as it had grown enough to be accounted as another area of endeavor. This one is EVENTS I WILL ATTEND AND/OR PRESENT AT IN 2013. You see, as the year progressed, I found myself in demand for speaking engagements at conferences and other events, so I had added those engagements to the list.
Now there is only room for one copy of the list on the page. It includes things I had not thought about at the beginning of the year, but which have become goals or been accomplished, such as when the need for a new hosting provider from my website arose. Vital steps were involved that I needed to accomplish, so they went on the list.

Here we are in May, nearly to the mid-point of the year. How am I doing with my goals? Is my list helping me to achieve them?

Yes. Absolutely. I have crossed off multiple goals, including most of what I committed myself to do during the year.

I can give one huge yes to an item that was number two on the list: re-publication of the print version of The Man from Shenandoah by my own company. Big Happy Dance!!!


I now have books in hand. Autographed copies will be sold from a new website, WestWardBooks.

Preparing for and creating this website was one of the things I added to my list of goals after I had achieved it. I know many other people with ADHD who make daily lists, then have to add the things they actually accomplished just so they can cross them off, too. Hey! It works for validation and for figuring out where the lost hours went. Huh. I actually did do something today. My goals list is helping me get things accomplished, and I'm glad I made and continue to refine it.

Recently, I began to set weekly writing goals at the online ANWA chapter to which I belong. The intent is to help me be accountable for writing progress.

Is this weekly goal-setting exercise working for me? Sometimes yes, sometimes, no. Some days my writing time is devoted to research and/or the making of charts or graphs. In the main, it has been successful for keeping me on track with achieving my goals.

Whew! I just deleted a huge tangent I went on. I'll use it in another blog at another time.

Do you use lists to help yourself achieve your goals? Tell me how writing down your goals works for you, or how making a list might help.

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