Christina Farley
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Lists, Resolutions, & Action!

Every year, I make goals. I found this old post here where my goal was to
finish GILDED. It’s crazy to think at that time I had no idea that book would
someday go on to be published and
hit #4
of all books on Amazon
and #1 in the YA category.
I’ve found creating manageable
goals that I have control of are powerful and effective. Here’s my process for
goal setting and (more importantly), the action plan.

Reflection
One of the keys to
developing goals is to reflect over what has worked and what hasn’t in the
past.
1.     Pull
out that calendar!
Look back through the last year. See what you did and when
you accomplished things. For writing, I love using Word Keeper. At the end of
every writing session, I type in my daily word count. This program graphs my
progress so in one glance I can see which months are my most productive months.
2.     Question
yourself.
 What were my busy months? When am I most productive in the day? What
projects did I enjoy working on the most? The least? What inspired me? What was
discouraging?
3.     Friends
and co-workers.
Always surround yourself with people who are not only positive,
but also push you to become a better you. This year take the time to build
those relationships and let go of the relationships that are toxic. 
I’m a part
of the
MiG Writers, a group of
six writers from all around the world, who critique each other and offer
support. 
I also a part of the YA Chicks, a group of Florida writers. We tour together and offer school
visits. Then I have my crit partners like Beth Revis and Casey McCormick who
not only give me honest and deep critiques, but are great as sounding boards. Having
these groups revitalizes and stimulates me professionally and mentality as
well as offers that support system I need.

Goal
Setting
http://intaward.org.mt/do-the-award/set-smart-goals/
Once you have a solid
handle on what worked and what didn’t, create your goals for the new year.
Remember:
1.     Make
manageable goals.
Goals are created so you can be successful.
2.     List
your goals and post them in a visible location in your work place.
3.     Break
down your goals into chunks.
For instance, by early January my goal is to send
my agent 3 chapters from two new YA projects I’m working on. My goal for February
is to revise my middle grade project.
4.     All
goals must be in your control.
So getting a movie deal would not be on my list
because I am not the person to decide if GILDED or THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE
would be picked up by a producer.
5.     Set
up a support system.
Find friends who will keep you accountable to hitting
those goals. My MiG Writers Group emails each other from time to time with our
goals and how we are doing on them. Here’s
our post with examples
. Debbie Ridpath Ohi
set up a team on #Slack for a
group of writers who wanted accountability. It’s a great place for me to tell
the group my goal and then return with my results.

Action
Plan
1.     For
each goal, determine the actions to achieve that goal.
For instance, if I want
to finish a novel by February, then I need to write 2k a day. Am I having
trouble finding time to write? Maybe I need to go to bed earlier so I can wake
up earlier? Or cut out TV for two months so I can write for an extra hour that night.
2.     Rewards.
Build into your schedule freedom days. Know that if you meet your weekly goal,
then you get a day off. Or once you finish a draft of a book, celebrate by
going out to dinner.

The
Reach-for-the-Stars List
Last year I attended the
Lucky 13 and One Four Writer’s Retreat. One of the exercises we did was to
share something that we secretly really wanted for our writing career that was
a big reach goal such as movie deal, selling or hitting a bestseller list. This
is the list that is NOT in your control.
Why keep this kind of
list?
Because it:
1.     Pushes
me to be better.
2.     Forces
me to not settle or get too comfortable.
3.     Allows
me visualize hitting that next level.  
The important thing is to
remember that this is a fun/dream list. If you find yourself getting
discouraged or it’s dragging you into despair, then set this aside until there’s
a time that you are able to pull it back out.

The most powerful aspect
to goal setting is to be steadfast in your daily delivery. Think of your goals
like a marathon—one mile at a time—until you reach the finish line.
 

4 Responses to Lists, Resolutions, & Action!

  1. TJ says:

    Great post! Very motivational! Thanks!

  2. Great tips, Christina. I especially like the idea of making goals we can control. Happy New Year!

  3. Andrea says:

    Awesome strategies!

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