Please join us to discuss everything literary (especially kid literary): good books, the writing life, the people and businesses who create books, controversies in book world, what's good to snack on while reading and writing, and anything else bookish. We welcome your thoughts.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Resolutions. Goals. Quotas. Are they needed?


Dave Amaditz

With the new year recently upon us I got to wondering about resolutions and goals and quotas.

Personally, I'm not one to make a New Year's resolution. It's my belief that if I feel so strong a resolve to do something, then I should be doing it. Like right now. Immediately. No need to wait for a new year.
Setting goals, or establishing quotas for my writing is one of those things. And so I don't get depressed or feel like a failure if I don't meet my goals, like so many feel when they make a New Year's resolution and don't live up to the task, I set my goals almost unattainably high.
You might say that's crazy, that setting so lofty a goal will automatically lead to failure and depression. But to me, it's a matter of perspective...
Let me show you what I mean.
My goal is to write for four or more hours a day, every day, and to complete at least one polished chapter, somewhere between seven to twelve pages a week. With everything else going on in my life I'm seldom able to consistently meet those goals. This does not mean I do not write daily and produce polished material. In fact, since the middle of December, Christmas holidays and all, I've written six semi-polished chapters of the novel I'm rewriting.
I'm happy with what I've accomplished, even though I have not quite met my goals. This contentment comes about because when I established my goals I made sure to plant a seed in the back of my mind telling me my goal was more than likely unattainable. Doing this allows me to gracefully accept defeat when I do not reach the quotas I've established.
On the other hand, when I'm able to meet or exceed my established goals and quotas, I get a sense of accomplishment unlike any I’ve felt when I've established lesser goals or no goals at all.
Crazy? Maybe so. But the system seems to work for me.
If your system isn't working. Try something else. Change your perspective... Until you find what works for you.
One final note. I believe that if we do not push ourselves, or are not pushed by others to reach beyond what we think we can accomplish, the end result is simple.
We will achieve less than what we are capable of achieving.
I'm not ready to settle for that. Are you?


  1. Okay, this is a really great post. Just what I needed to hear today! Thanks for sharing - new follwer :)

  2. Thanks, Tasha. I hope this helps, or at the very least, gives you some new ideas. Welcome aboard.

  3. Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you'll at least land somewhere in the stars.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Better yet, Sue. Shoot for the stars. And when you hit the mark you might feel you've accomplished the impossible.

  5. Hi, I just stopped by to say hi. I heard about you from the Liebster award. New follower here.

  6. Great post about goals. I always make a list of what I want to accomplish at the beginning of each year. I'm a list-maker, so the incentive to check things off helps me work towards that. Lists for the week and month allow me to take baby steps to reach for bigger things.
    Love your blog! I've been following for awhile. Yesterday I gave you guys an 'award' and linked to you. Keep up with the great posts; very informative and entertaining!

  7. Welcome aboard, Melissa. Thanks for posting. This gave me a chance to visit your site, which I am now following. Love the idea of "pay it forward". Love the contests, too.

  8. Thank you for recommending us for the award, Dawn. Glad you've joined us as a follower. I've done the same and was wondering how you were doing at keeping your New Year's resolution.

    1. You're welcome, Dave! So far, so good with the goals! Met my reading goal for the month. Also working on a revision and have a number of new chapters to write for it. Wanted to have rough drafts for those done by the end of the month; almost there. As for my exercise goal, that's another story...

  9. I try to set realistic resolutions for myself (and did so on Swagger's New Year's Eve post)that focus more on the end product then the amount of time spent on my self-imposed assignments. I find that helps focus me. You're right, setting goals definitely pushes me to be more productive.

  10. Kim,
    I think the bottom line of my message was to do whatever it is that works for you. You can't accomplish goals if you have not set goals to accomplish.