Goals. Resolutions. I think most of us set them. Every year when time resets and January begins, we start the list. Maybe it’s a long one that crosses multiple aspects of our lives. Maybe its short, a single concept to improve upon. Sometimes those goals are more inward; we want to be better people: more caring, giving, compassionate. Maybe we want to improve physically (let’s face it, we all know what the most common resolution is = loose weight!) But no matter what we choose, they all have one thing in common—they require work to accomplish.

Setting goals is easy. Achieving them…not always so much. I’ve learned a lot this last year as far as goals are concerned, but I think there are two big takeaways that apply to anything we set out to accomplish. First, we need to set a goal that is, in fact, achievable. I think it’s human nature to expect more of ourselves than necessary. I don’t mean we should limit how far or well we can go, but don’t set an end point that would require you to be superhuman. Don’t allow your goals to become stressful or make you feel like you’ve completely failed at life if you don’t meet your own expectations. Make REALISTIC goals. They don’t have to be big. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Don’t make a goal that will make you miserable. Make one that, once achieved, you can look back at with a smile, be proud of how far you came, and say you enjoyed the journey to get there. It won’t always be rainbows and unicorns, but we can find join in a rainstorm too. Realistic, achievable goals.

The second thing I learned is that success means something different to everyone. And this one is extremely important because it’s also human nature to judge. We judge others, but even more so, we judge ourselves. We compare who we are and where we are in life to those around us. Our brains are wired to do it. Sometimes this can be a great motivator. So and so is great at X, I want to be even better or as good as. But sometimes those comparisons, even the small ones, set us back. They become a negative energy that pushes us into a hole of our own digging. DON’T compare your successes, or even your failures, to anyone else’s. Anytime we make a step forward, we should be proud of the accomplishment, no matter how small.

Define your idea of success. Set a goal that is for YOU. Know where you want to end up and why it is you want to get there. Don’t do it for anyone but yourself. I find it’s far easier to be motivated if what I’m doing makes ME happy. Can others benefit? Of course! But be a selfish, and do it for you. (Don’t become a selfish jerk doing it, but understand that you’re goal is intended to make YOU a better person) If Rita down the street has the perfect rose bushes, don’t plant your own because you have to be better than Rita. Plant them because roses make YOU happy, whether they are the same or different than Rita’s should be irrelevant. Do it for you.

One of my least favorite questions since becoming a published author has been: Have you sold a lot of books? Why do I hate it? Because it’s open ended. What does “a lot” mean? My answer is probably different than yours. As an author, success doesn’t have to be defined by how many copies you sell or how much money you make, if any. I get to define what success means. I haven’t sold “a lot” of copies…yet. But that does not mean I haven’t found success in what I’m doing. Writing has benefited me in so many ways, most of them very personal. Writing brings me happiness; it keeps my mind positive. That has more value to me than selling “a lot”. Define your success.

So, what are my goals for the year? Naturally, most of them pertain to writing. This is the first year in my life I can actually say I’ve set writing goals. First, my word count goals. I want to write a million words this year. (YES, that’s “a lot” of words to me) It’s daunting, but achievable. To date, I’m 12% towards my goal and on track. Writing a million words will allow me to finish my series. I have four books left to write. I know I can do it if I keep the positive vibes and work hard. I also have daily word count goals (mini goals!) to help get me there. For me, this means 2000k words on weekdays and 500 on weekends. Do I always hit my daily mini goal? NOPE! And that’s OK! Success doesn’t mean we’re perfect and it certainly doesn’t mean we won’t have failures.

Push yourself to be the best you. Make goals to help you get there. Humans are amazing in that we have a great capacity to learn and grow. We can always improve ourselves. We can be our version of successful. All you need is the desire to do it.

I LOVE hearing about other peoples’ goals and especially LOVE watching them find their success. Tell me about your goals for the year!