Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goal Setting - By Tina Gerow

As we step firmly into 2009, it's a great time to reevaluate our goals and dreams and decide how we'd like to move forward. So, with that in mind, I have some steps for you, which may seem a little out of the box from the firm goal setting you’re used to :) Give it a try.

What the heck do I want?

That's the most important question you need to ask yourself when beginning this process. If you don't know what you want, you can't very well take steps toward getting there. So, the first step to making your dreams come true is to figure out what they are!

And remember, you can create anything you want in your life if you want it, you work at it and you never lose faith. So...decide what you want? Then YOU can make it happen. :)

“All of our dreams can come true as long as we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Start your process by allowing yourself to dream big and open yourself to all the possibilities. Remember the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you are right.” So don’t limit yourself!

But how the heck will I get there once I decide what I want?

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul on the Secret talked about driving in the dark with your headlights only illuminating 200 feet ahead of you. And that you can go from NY to LA like that, trusting that the next 200 feet will unfold after that etc. This works in life too. Take a step toward your dream every day, even if it’s small, and you will eventually get there.

You can also use your brain to create your dream life:
It has been scientifically proven that Olympic athletes who run an event inside their mind – the same muscles inside the body fire as when they physically ran their event. The mind can’t tell the difference between visualization and reality! That probably explains the placebo effect of medicines.

Use this to your good! Visualize the end result of what you want every day until it is so real it’s jarring to open your eyes! What the brain accepts as true, it creates in reality!

Write down your goals:
Take a note card or journal and put your name on the top and the date and then as you think of large dreams you would like to accomplish – even dreams you think might be impossible, but you would like to have happen – WRITE THEM DOWN! Don’t judge, just write.

I’m nobody, so why would this dream come true for me?

Why Not You? You are definitely someone. And dreams come true for many people just like you each and every day. So why can’t it happen to you?

I’m not sure what to write down as goals!!

Reach for the stars and dream big. But don’t judge and write down anything you’d like—big or small. Things that will give you joy may not necessarily be huge. And after all, that’s why we’re doing this, to find joy – right?

How about some of these...

- Hit #1 NYT Best Seller’s List
- Hit #1 USA Today Best Seller’s List
- Be asked to be the Keynote speaker for an RWA National Convention
- Have one of my books made into a hit movie
- Have my books in every book store (especially airports)
- Be a sought after speaker
- Make a lasting positive difference in the writing industry.
- Meet Matthew MacFadyen
- Reach my ideal weight (for me!) and stay there.
- Go on a 21-day European cruise with unlimited funds!
- Start a garden
- Join a critique group
- Write for an hour every day. Butt in chair!
- Read one craft book a month
- Read one book in my genre a month
- Attend a writer’s conference
- Volunteer (don’t overlook karma!)
- Take a writing class
- Enter contests (for feedback or to target an agent/editor)

And remember, dreams that are written down are much more likely to come true. Visualize the end result of what you want to happen, and do it often. If you believe these are impossible, then you’re right.

Enough with all the touchy-feely, how do I take these baby steps toward my goals?

The best way is to make achievable stretch goals for the next five years, and update them yearly with what has been accomplished and what is outstanding. Five years is long enough to plan ahead and short enough to allow you to change and grow with your goals over time. Not to mention, it allows you to look back at your progress when you get discouraged. But if that feels like biting off more than you can chew, take a look at the next step :)

What can I accomplish every day to move me toward my goals?

Once you have your goals – both your “dream” goals and your five year goals written down, take a look at what you can do each day to move your career and your dreams forward. Even baby steps count! Trust in the universe, that a way will be found. Have faith and take the first step!

They can be as small as write two pages on my work in progress, buy a gardening book to learn how to set up my own, write a fan letter to Matthew MacFadyen asking him if I can interview him for my next book in progress since I’m basing my character off him, take the stairs instead of the elevator etc.

Post these somewhere you’ll see them each day, and try to at least do one, even when life is crazy. Those little efforts will add up :)

Safeguard Your Dream!!

Your achievement of your dream is your responsibility. Well meaning friends, relatives, coworkers or even complete strangers may try to talk you out of your dream to keep you from getting disappointed, disillusioned or hurt. I call this the pat you on the head syndrome. It is YOUR responsibility to safeguard your dream and stay true to your vision of what you want.

Don’t be ashamed of your dream! If you write – you ARE a writer! If you dance – you ARE a dancer!
If someone asks you what you do, tell them the truth proudly. For a lot of you reading this, You are a writer!! Sure, you may work full time as a dental hygienist, but you are a writer and Teeth R Us is your INVESTOR in your writing career, allowing you to pay your bills and support your family while you build up your writing career. Get the idea?

This is your reality you are creating!! Create it like you want it to be!!
Don’t let anyone inflict their reality on you!!

“You probably wouldn’t worry what people think about you if you knew how seldom they do.” - Olin Miller


Affirmations are great ways to keep your dreams at the forefront of your mind, and keep your focus on them! Put them on your bathroom mirror and every time you wash your hands or put makeup on or blow dry your hair – say them out loud and believe them and feel that they are true! Be excited :)

Some of my favorite Affirmations I like to say daily:

Mission Statement:
I am a world class, world-renowned writer. I have a world-wide career in every aspect of writing. I travel the world, teaching, speaking, mentoring, making unlimited amounts of money, having an abundance of time for my family and my career. I believe in myself, and claim my right to make my own destiny.

- Trust the Talent. No doubts. No fears. No limits. Enjoy the Ride.
- Book and plot ideas come to me easily.
- I make time to write daily and always have a productive writing session.
- I never ignore an opportunity to improve my craft.
- Mentoring is a big part of my writing career and I am always open to helping others, while still maintaining adequate time for my own career.
- Writing is my career, all other work is purely my investor, allowing me to pay the bills while I build my writing career.
- Agents want to represent me and editors want to buy my books.
- People enjoy reading my books and there is a building demand for my work.
- I am confident enough to promote my work in every day life.
- Jump and the net will appear.
- Dare to Live your dream, or you’re not living!

So now it’s time for you to find your own dreams and start taking steps to achieve them.

Remember: This is your life. Live it!

Happy New Year,



Anonymous said...

Great topic Tina. I decided not to set resolutions this year, but goals. Now they may not be a specific as yours, but hopefully, they'll be obtainable for me. 1) Sell manuscript to Steeple Hill. 2) Write 3 more books. 3) Write more articles for newsletter and blogs. 4) Do more workshops and programs. Okay, coffee has kicked in. I need to stop now :)

Ladyhawk said...

What an inspirational post, Tina! Your opening made me think of "Runaway Bride." What do I want, really? With that thought in mind, this year is the year I explore who I am. I'm learning what I like to read, but it isn't necessarily what I like to write. Growing up, I learned to blend and conform, so now it's time to take some risks and accept who I am, instead of who everyone wants me to be. Thanks for the insightful suggestions and much needed encouragement.

Erin Quinn (aka Erin Grady) said...

Great Blog, Tina. I agree 100% with what you say. Every year I write my resolutions and then I store them away with my Christmas ornaments so that in a year I'm pulling them out to review and see how many I kept. And I am right there with you on writing down what you want. It makes a difference!

TinaGerow said...

That's great Kim! Goals will give you something to work toward, and that's a step in the right direction :)

Hi Judy! Glad this post spoke to you :) And I think you're exactly right. It's time to find out what you really want to write, and then enjoy the hell out of it :)

Hi Erin! Thanks for stopping by!

Here's hoping for a terrific 2009 for all of us!


Alexis Walker said...

Words of wisdom for sure, Tina! I sat down and wrote down my annual writing goals (I have financial ones as well) and posted them up on my desk. Then every month I make a list of goals towards those annual ones, only these have dates assigned to them. Having them written down definitely keeps me hopping!


TinaGerow said...

That's great Alexis! You're way more organized than I am :)


Caroline said...

Thank you, Tina, for the fabulous post. My mother was ahead of her time and was always telling her five girls to visualize. When visualizing she said to feel the excitement that the moment created, live it, breath it, believe it…. and it will come to pass. You know at the time I was young, but I did do some and have kept it up throughout my life. It’s truly amazing how it works. I only wish she were alive today to know that I actually did write a book and actually sold it! I still can’t believe how it happened.

Anyway, I’m going to write down my goals today and post them. Your word of wisdom are appreciated…

TinaGerow said...

It's great that you learned to do that so early Caroline! :)

Lisa Pietsch said...

You are so cool :-)
I've been doing this for years - and it has been working for years!