Three Important Things About Goals


Let me start by saying that it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I decided to join my parents on vacation in Spain for a writing weekend. Spain is gorgeous. It’s too hot and everyone in this town is Scandinavian or British, but it’s still incredibly beautiful here.

Also, I reached my monthly goal of 25.000 words yesterday. During August I struggled so much and this time I’m over a week ahead and feeling pretty good about myself. I’m excited to see how much further I get before the month is up.

For this writing vacation I’m planning to expand my daily wordcount goal to 2000 words per day, so here’s hoping my family will let me do that without making me socialize, and here’s hoping I have the discipline to make it happen even when there is a beach nearby and two pools at my disposal.

Reaching my monthly goal and the fact that I’ve managed to reach my daily 1000 words per day this whole month, has left me thinking a lot about goals. A few years ago, the idea of goals helped me make the decision to really and fully focus on my writing, to take it seriously and devote my life to fulfilling my writing dreams. So I thought I’d preach a little about how to deal with your goals and why they are so incredibly important.


1. Be specific about what you want

Everyone has a dream. Everyone says “if I won the lottery I would do this and this.” Everyone has one thing they want to do some day. Do you know how many of those people follow through and make it happen? Nearly zero. Sure, I have no scientific studies to back up that statement, but I have no doubt that it’s true. Because just saying what you want is just an idea. It’s a vague hope that maybe, like magic, it will happen to you. Without you even trying.

That is a giant load of bullshit. Nothing you truly want is just going to fall into your lap. It’s just not, no matter how badly you want it. Hard work and determination is the only way to get anything done. And you can’t work towards something you haven’t properly defined.

When I committed to my dream of being a writer, I didn’t just say “I want to be a writer.” I said “I want to have my first novel self-published in 2019 and by then have established an online presence in the writing-community.” I made detailed, smaller goals to tick off along the way to that big one, because every step is important.

You need to close your eyes and think specifically about where do I want to be in five years, and then make an actual plan on how to get there.



I cannot say this loudly or often enough. When you sit down to think about your goals and decide what you want to achieve, write it down. In excruciating detail. Then go back and read it on a regular basis.

Why is this so important? Because it’s a hell of a lot easier to hit a target you can see. Thoughts and ideas are great, but what happens when it’s staring you right in the face is that it becomes real, tangible. Not just a dream but a plan. Don’t just write down that final big goal, but all the little goals you need to achieve along the way. If you want to publish a book, an obvious step along the way is to write the thing first. Finish a first draft. Revise a first draft. Have beta-readers, get a professional edit, etc. etc. Every milestone along the way, write down what it is and when you want to have reached it.

When you can see them, you always remember and make an active effort to get them done. Which brings me to my third point.


3. Set deadlines

I know this one is terrifying. When you have written down a goal with a deadline next to it, it’s right there looking at you saying “you were supposed to do this by now, but you didn’t.” And yeah, that can be frightening. But it’s also motivating, even when you fall short.

More than once it’s happened than I didn’t do what I wanted by the anticipated time. For a little while, I felt like a failure. Until I remembered that the only way to truly fail is if you don’t even try. Then I extended my deadline and kept right on working. And every single time, I got there in the end. That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have a deadline.

The important thing to remember is that deadlines can be flexible. Some are more important than others, which is why you need to be kind with yourself when you set deadlines for all the baby-steps along the way. Don’t set a deadline for the last possible second. Give yourself some breathing room. It’s okay. You don’t have to make yourself anxious and stressed, you just need to make yourself focus.

Never forget that this is what the deadline is for. To make you constantly work towards what you want. Not to make you feel shitty.


So that’s it. If you don’t already have your daily, weekly, monthly or yearly goals written down, and if you don’t have a written statement of where you want to end up in a few years, then please sit down, think about it and write it down. Do it today. Do it right now. I promise you it will be worth it.

Now it’s time for me to get back to working on my goals. It’s a job that never ends and I never want it to. Happy productivity, humans and non-humans alike.

Rain S.

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