Does anyone even remember their goals and dreams from January at this point? I mean. Mine are in my planner so I have an idea of what they were, but… let’s say I’m not entirely on track. You know what though? It doesn’t matter. This year has been hard, and what’s done is done. It’s what we do next that matters.
And we still have nearly three months left. 13 weeks. 90 days. Maybe by the time you read this it’ll only be 10 weeks. That’s still plenty. Now, as the season and the light changes but we still have a good chunk of time to make progress on a project, it feels like a good time for a very gentle reset with an equally gentle approach to the rest of the year.
Let’s not ask too much of ourselves just now.
Let’s make it our job to support and nurture our creativity instead of making demands of it, and see how much better we can make the end of the year using that approach.
How do we do this? By focusing on fewer things, on consistency, on taking off the pressure and doing less.
Amie (Editor, Designer, Author and my co-pilot for Six Month Novel) has long been an advocate of teeny tiny goals. Amie is wise, and we should listen to her. She’d always rather set a small goal of writing, say, 100 words at a time even if it isn’t technically ‘enough’, because the 1,000 word goal freaks her out and she won’t start. On the other hand, if she just has to write 100 words in a day that feels easy. She’s much more likely to do it, enjoy it and then feel good about starting again the next day.
In fact, she often finds she gets on a roll, chooses to keep going and hits a much bigger number, but the important thing is that the smaller 100 word target is genuine – if she hits 100 words she gets gold stars (nb: I do not know if she actually gets gold stars but I feel it’s a motivational tool that should be more common) and feels great for ticking off a major goal for the day.
Doing 100% or even 75% of a small goal consistently will get you a lot further than doing 0% or 25% of a big goal infrequently.
The reality is that she’s super productive because she’s consistent. Her approach, helping to make the writing less intimidating and more enjoyable by taking small bites, and therefore writing more often, works. Encouraging and supporting yourself and celebrating the things you’ve done rather than berating yourself for the things you haven’t works.
Let’s set some new goals
Try this to getting yourself onto a new, do-able track for the last two or three months of the year. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
1. Brainstorm writing goals you had for this year or that have come up since then.
2. Journal for a couple of minutes on how you’d like to end this year. How would you like to feel? Which of your goals might help you get there? Which do you really want to do? Pick one goal. Yes, one, we’re trying to be gentle, remember? Let the others go for now.
3. Break it into three monthly parts. Does each feel genuinely achievable without piling on pressure? If you think it actually sounds like a lot (regardless of whether you ‘should’ be able to do it), make that goal smaller – plotting and writing 5k of a novel rather than writing the whole thing. This isn’t a productivity competition.
4. What is the one small task you can and are willing to commit to regularly that will have the most impact on your progress to your goal? How does this feel? Is it small enough? It doesn’t have to be word count or time, it can be just a commitment to showing up and making sure you know what’s next each time.
5. How can you make this a) feel lovely to do and b) more likely to happen? Brainstorm 10 ways and set them up now.
6. Focus on just repeating that one regular action that will make the most difference, and celebrate having made progress every single time you do it. Tell yourself you’re wonderful and are doing great. Mean it. Repeat, and enjoy watching your progress slowly mount up.
And that’s you done. Lovely goals that will help you end the year feeling positive and more productive!