by Greta Boris
It will take you approximately 3 minutes to read this.
As you wrap up the old year, it is natural to take stock of what has happened the past 365 days and wish you’d be more productive in the next. (See last month’s post on Looking Back.) Most New Year’s resolutions are just that, wishes made at a strategic time of year. But as my grandmother used to say,
Wish in one hand, spit in another and see which gets full first.
Crude, but true. Wishes are wishes and resolutions, if they are to be kept, must morph into actual goals.
I know. You hate the word “goal” almost as much as you hate the word “resolution.” Trying to stick one more change into your already busy world is daunting. You’re fractured and distracted enough without some blowhard telling you how to be more productive.
The problem is you’re dreaming some pretty big dreams. So am I. If we want those dreams to leave their pipes and play out in the real world, we’re going to have to take action.
It doesn’t have to be time consuming or painful though. Stick with me. I’ll write fast.
3 Steps to a More Productive 2018:
#1 Think it Through (0 minutes)
You can accomplish this one while you clean up the Christmas decorations, or do a sink full of dishes. Since you’re multi-tasking, I didn’t add any time. All you have to do is finish this sentence: In 2018, I want to. . .
If you don’t know exactly what you’re aiming for, it’s very hard to hit the target.
#2 Write it Down (2 minutes, including hand-drying time)
Dry your hands, find a pen and paper or your laptop, and write the sentence you formulated. If your house is so messy you can’t find pen and paper or laptop, this step will take you longer. But, hey, that’s a whole other blog post.
According to a study by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, writing down goals makes you significantly more likely to accomplish them.
#3 The 5 Finger Fit (15 minutes)
One reason even the top performers fail to accomplish some of their goals is because those goals don’t integrate well into the rest of their lives. They relegate business, fitness, or financial aspirations and “life” into separate categories.
When I was a personal trainer, I used a technique with clients to help them own their goals. I didn’t make this up, but I can’t give credit because I don’t remember where I came across it.
Place your hand on a sheet of paper and draw around it making an outline. Each finger then represents an area of your life:
- pinkie – spiritual
- ring – vocational
- middle – recreational
- pointer – relational
- thumb – physical
Now write at least one thing in each and include the goals you formulated while you did the dishes. Does one finger have a book written inside it, while the others are empty?
Many of us create vocational and physical goals, but how many of us create recreational or relational goals? If we don’t take time for fun, friends, and family, we’re going to burn out. Ask yourself, “What am I setting my hand to in the coming year?” Now, as you set down a goal for each area of your life, you’re able to see how, or if, these things fit together.
The idea is to become a more integrated, balanced individual, not more fractured.
For instance, one year my resolution was to take yoga once a week. But I worked in a Pilates studio that didn’t have yoga classes. Why was I making my life so complicated? Focusing on the benefits of Pilates could have helped me achieve many of the same results and given me more time for my other endeavors. Instead, I ran around trying to make yoga fit. It made my life more hectic and scattered, certainly not something yoga is supposed to do! I finally gave up. I didn’t achieve my physical goal that year.
That’s it – 20 minutes to a more productive 2018. Pretty painless, huh? You can always do more. You can break the goals into action steps and record the steps on the calendar. There’s a much more detailed goal-setting plan in the second section of Aspiring to Author, the book Megan and I wrote last year. But just doing the above puts you ahead of most of the country.
Another step proven to significantly increase the likelihood of accomplishing yours goals is accountability. (Extra 1.5 minute effort)
What better place to share your writing goals than in the O.C.Writer community! If you’re brave enough, let us know what they are in the comments below.
Greta Boris is the author of the 2017 releases, A Margin of Lust andThe Scent of Wrath, the first two books in her 7 Deadly Sins domestic suspense series. Her nonfiction work includes the Amazon Bestseller The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life and Aspiring to Author – A Guide for Your Publishing Career. She’s also the Director of O.C. Writers, a community of over 900 published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California.
You can visit her at http://gretaboris.com. She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante’s Inferno.