A new year is knocking at our door, and if you’re like the majority of the human race, you’re planning to set goals for 2011. You have a burning desire to tackle an area where you think you need to improve yourself or your life. You visualize where you want to be in a few months or by the end of the new year or even years down the road. Come midnight on January 1st, you’re totally focused. Your jaw is set and you’re determined to meet those goals until ...da, da, da! …your first set back.

If your goal is to get up earlier, the set back will be the morning you oversleep. If your goal is to lose weight, your set back will be the first cheeseburger or candy bar you’ll gobble up. If your goal is to write every day, the setback will be the day life took over and you didn’t have a minute to boot up your computer or grab a pad and pen.

It’s important to keep in mind when working towards your goals that there will be setbacks. As sure as the sun will rise in the east, there will be setbacks. They happen. How you handle them will determine if you will make your goals.
Like a cowboy who gets thrown off his horse, you need to get off your butt, dust yourself off and get right back in the saddle. Like a ball player who gets thrown a third curve for a strike out, you need to shrug off the disappointment, study the pitcher and stand up to him again. Like the chef whose cake falls, you need to start over. I could go on with the analogies, but you get the picture.

Hints for making your 2011 goals.

1) Make your goals reasonable. Something you can control. And be specific.
Ie: (Non-writing related) I want to lose X number of pounds in 2011. (Writing related) I want to write my next book- 350 pages.

2) Write the goals down. Yes you can have more than one. Excelling at one might help your determination to do better at achieving the other. Post the goals where you will see them every day.

3) Break the goal or goals into manageable bits.
Ie: I will write 10 pages a week.

4) If you’re the type of person who needs to report to someone, an accountability partner, find one and set up a schedule to report. IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind there will be weeks, maybe several in a row, when you are the one having trouble making your goal. Remember that cheeseburger. It’s okay. There will be weeks when you will shine.

5) Don’t get depressed when a mini-step toward the goal is not met on time. Life happens. Computers crash. Kids get sick. Husbands come home with candy hearts. Enjoy life. A happy person is more productive.

6) Mondays are the first day of the week for many of us, probably because of the business world, and the day of the week we seem to be most productive. It’s a mind thing. If you have more time to exercise or write on the weekend, try thinking of Saturday as being your first day of the week. Make a calendar labeling Saturday as the first day of the week if that will help you. Again, it’s a mind thing.

7) For the most part, we know our schedules for the week. Plan the minutes or hours you’ll work toward your goal out.

8) Make a list of things that have stopped you from making your goal in the past. Post that list too and don’t go there. Ie: Television, email, over volunteering, buying junk food, over stocking the pantry.

9) Remember the old adage. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

10) Remember this saying: Just do it. It says it all.

I hope my list will help you make your goals in 2011.


  1. Mona Risk // December 29, 2010 at 9:54 AM  

    Autumn, thank you for kicking me into action. I have been too slack in my eating, exercising and writing. You know how it is. I get nervous and eat. And the pounds settle on the hips and the belly. I'm too busy and stop writing, and soon the muse flies away and my brain is blank. I was too busy, too tired and forgot the meaning of exercising.
    Bad, bad, bad. It's so difficult to start again, but New Year resolutions call for new beginning. Thanks for rewinding me.

  2. Pamela Varnado // December 29, 2010 at 10:17 AM  

    Autumn, one thing I've discovered about myself is that I accomplish my goals if I follow a daily To-Do list. Maybe it's the structure factor or the sense of accomplishment I feel afterwards. I'm a serious television watcher, but have learned that by accomplishing the items on my list first I can watch TV in the evening without guilt.

  3. Judy // December 29, 2010 at 10:42 AM  

    Thanks for all your hints on setting goals. I'm like Pam. I set goals each day and sometimes I'm pretty hard on myself but I like the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, unless I've specifically listed a goal of taking it easy for the day!! Happy New Year, everyone!

  4. Nightingale // December 29, 2010 at 12:31 PM  

    I never set goals but perhaps this year I'll do it. Your list, Autumn, will be helpful, and Pam your to-do list might help me make it too. Now all I have to do is decide what my goals are!

  5. Joanne // December 29, 2010 at 2:10 PM  

    You are so right. This time of year, I think of the goals I should set for next year. "Slow and steady wins the race" is my motto.

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

    Blogger hates me today. Had my comment all written and it lost it. Bummer. Can't remember what I wrote and it was so witty. What a loss to the writing world.

    Great blog Autumn. Let's all set goals this year and post on the Fuzzies. Then we can be pink fuzzy accountable writers.

  7. Mary Marvella // December 29, 2010 at 2:56 PM  

    Hey, Judy offered to do a post for us. We can send our goals to her. (snicker)

  8. Beth Trissel // December 29, 2010 at 4:03 PM  

    Thanks Autumn for an excellent post and super advice.

  9. Mary Ricksen // December 30, 2010 at 9:59 PM  

    I am so messed up! I need a list for my list!
    New Year, new start, hopefully!