You know the one. I’ve been guilty of it myself.
This is the year I’m going to write my book!
How’d it go for you in 2015? Did you write your book? I’m betting your New Years Eve resolve gave way to the usual early January ennui.
I’m betting your NYE resolutions crashed before liftoff.
That’s because when it comes to creative projects, simply ‘resolving’ to start a project is never enough. It’s not a commitment. It’s not a goal. It’s not concrete. And there lies the secret.
To get results you need to set realistic goals, set deadlines and have a roadmap to get there.
January is an excellent time to plan your creative year and to help you plan yours, just follow the simple 4 steps of my 2016 goal planner template.
1: Set some concrete goals
Now, this is quite different from just making a resolution. What exactly do you want to achieve in 2016? Do you want to write an eBook? Do you want to self publish? Do you want to build an authors platform? Start a podcast? Learn more about book marketing? Create a blog?
Make your goals, concrete and tangible. Visualise what it will feel like when you achieve those goals. What will success look like? Don’t overdo it though. Too many goals are worse then none at all. You’ll lose focus and achieve none. To focus your mind and ensure your success, set 2 or 3 concrete and achievable goals for 2016.
2: Set some tangible deadlines
‘I love deadlines. I love the wooshing noise as they pass’- Douglas Adams
Humour aside, a deadline makes your goal real and tangible. A deadline also helps you plan what needs to happen to achieve your goal. So grab a calendar and pick a realistic date. Your deadline is cast in marble and shall not be moved. You now have a real date to stat planning. Make the ‘woosh’ be the sound of you running over the finish line.
3: Work backwards and find your milestones
To achieve your goal you need to treat it like a project. Every project has a sequence of events that need to happen.
Every project is the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a book, shooting a movie or building a bridge
The big events (in project management lingo), are your milestones. The easiest way to find them is to just work backwards from your deadline. What are the key events that have to happen to achieve your goal?
Let’s say your goal is to write and self publish your eBook on Amazon Kindle and you set a deadline of June 30th. Here’s what the milestones might look like (working backwards from your deadline).
- Launch Date June 30th – Upload and launch Book on KDP
- May to June – Final draft edited and complete. Create KDP account
- April to May – Complete 2nd draft with editors notes
- March to April – Find and brief editor, find and brief cover designer
- Jan – March – Write and complete 1st draft
You see how it all falls into place? By having a tangible, concrete goal and working backwards you can find the key milestones you need to reach your goal.
Suddenly, making an airy non committed NYE resolution like; “I’m going to write a book this year” takes on real urgency. You can see what needs to be done. You don’t have a day to waste. Now, you just need to go ahead and do it.
4: Be ruthless about your project plan
So, you’ve created a goal, a deadline AND a project plan.
Well done, because you’re a long, long way from a simple NYE resolution BUT you’ll never achieve your goal if you don’t schedule your time ruthlessly.
You know the steps and milestones you have to hit to achieve your goal.
All that stands in the way is you.
So, get that calendar out again. This time have a good look at your daily and weekly schedule and see where you can block your project time.
The key is to take action
Stick to your schedule. Be ruthless. You will amazed at what you can achieve just putting in 2 hours a day toward your goal. You’ve got a goal, milestones, project plan and a schedule. All you gotta do is simply turn up and do the work. It’s not really rocket science. Put the work in, set some goals, make a plan and you will make 2016 a great year. Good Luck!