What are your plans for 2024?
This time of year is a time of reflection and planning for many people. It’s so important to take time to look back on everything you have achieved in the past year (it will be so much more than you think, I guarantee it!). Then sitting and working out exactly what you want to achieve in the coming year can help you to focus and create a life that is enjoyable, fulfilling and has direction.
Setting yourself goals and writing a list of things you want to do in 2024 is a great way to start the year. It gives you something to focus on and serves as a reminder. These don’t have to be writing related, or even work related, you might want to make a list of all the places you want to visit, loved ones you want to see more, home improvements or books you want to read. Whatever you want to achieve to help you create a more fulfilling and happy life.
Are you someone who likes to go through this process of reflection and planning or do you feel resistance at the thought? If you are in the resistance group, read on, I am hoping to change your mind.
How do you set effective goals?
You may have heard of SMART goals. It is important that goals are:
So there is no point in setting goals like, “I want to write more”. You need to say “I am going to write for 30 minutes every day” or “I am going to finish the first draft of my book”. More than that though you need to set a time scale, so you might say, “I am going to write two blogs a month this year”.
You also need to think about whether this goal is going to help you achieve your objective. If your objective is to create a happier life where you put your needs first, then you can put anything you like that will make you happy on your list. If you want to grow your social media following to help you find a traditional publisher, then you need to be more strategic. Instead of saying, “I’m going to grow my social media following”, try saying, “I am going to post on social media at least 5 times a week this year and grow my followers to 5k”. This is SMART.
What if I don’t achieve my goals?
This is something I am often asked. The simple answer is, what’s the worst that can happen? You have two choices, you can set a goal and maybe achieve it, or you can drift, never really knowing where you are going or why.
Let me tell you about one of my 2023 goals.
Last year my daughter and I decided to set ourselves a goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks. We both love reading, but we knew we weren’t reading as much as we could have been. We set the target and it was all going really well. A book a week is doable, most weeks. Then the Easter holidays came around, we had a holiday and spent lots of time with loved ones, then Booksmith Academy was born and life suddenly got a LOT busier.
Needless to say, my reading target began to slip. I got a couple of weeks behind. Then the summer holidays came and I got a bit more behind. I would catch up a bit and then have another busy week. I was about 3 books behind at the start of the Autumn. Then the bugs hit. We have had more coughs and colds this year that I can ever remember and nothing seems to be working to keep them away. As a result, I am currently on 46 books, with 3 weeks of the year left and if I’m lucky I will get another couple of books read, but I am still going to end the year probably 4 books behind.
I am not a competitive person, but I do get competitive with myself. Is this annoying me? A little, if I’m honest, but I have chosen to look at it another way. You see last year I read 22 books. This year I have already read 46. That’s 24 books more than I read last year. I made sure I only read books I wanted to read, I didn’t let myself choose books because they were short or easy reads. I have read some incredible books this year and I am really proud of myself for reading so many. I have also created an incredible new business with my sister and we have our first intake of Book Forge writers and a new mini membership ready to launch in the new year. This time last year, we had no idea this would ever exist. That is a HUGE achievement.
Are you going to make some plans?
So if you don’t achieve your goals, you will definitely have moved closer to where you want to be and you can just keep working towards your goal in 2025! I write a list of maybe 40-50 things I want to achieve every year and always move at least 5-10 over into the following year, but that means I have achieved 30-40 goals.
If you don’t think you like planning, why not have a go at setting some life improving goals this year. Perhaps you want to go to the cinema more, play more football, have more days out or holidays? Maybe you want to eat more healthily or start meditating. Make your goals things that make your heart sing and you will be much more likely to achieve them.
What are your bookish goals this year? Maybe you want to read more, journal daily, read more non-fiction books… Perhaps you want to start writing your book? (we know who can help you with that!) Whatever your goals, make them SMART and don’t worry if you don’t quite achieve them, you will still have moved much nearer to where you are going and your life will be richer for having tried.