Why are goals important? I would say that primarily, they are important because they give you, the writer, direction. You have a plan and a path to travel. You know where you are going. It helps to establish control over your life, no matter what the endeavor.
Goals should be quantifiable and specific, not generalizations. For example, your goal for the year should not be to finish a novel (general) but write two novels (measurable) in your trilogy (specific) by December17th, 2014 (specific). These are what I call macro goals. These are part of the big picture of what you want to accomplish.
Within macro goals are mini goals. These are goals that go towards accomplishing those macro goals and should be broken down in as much detail as possible. If we keep with the going example, if we’re going to write two books by December 17th, that means there are eight months to write two books. Three and a half months for each book. How are we going to accomplish that? That’s where micro goals come into play.
Micro goals are the smallest parts of your goals but crucial to your success in more than one way. They give you a measurable and precise way to build upon your macro and mini goals. This is where you want to spend most of your focus. On micro goals.
The reason why we want to stay focused here is because this is where you’ll be every day. Micro goals are what we’re able to do daily to progress in fulfilling our goals. To answer our question above, let’s say you have decided that you’re going to dedicate each day to writing three and a half pages minimum. In a month you’ll have a minimum of 105 pages and in three months, the novel will be done (notice I said you’re writing two novels, not releasing two novels. You may only release one but two will be done).
Micro goals are powerful in that they boost our enthusiasm and excitement about a project. Accomplishing a micro goal is a great way to spur yourself on to complete the mini and macro goals you have. The converse of that however, and a great way to crush that liveliness, is to focus on mini and macro goals. You can quickly become frustrated when it moves seemingly along at a crawl. Most people give up because their focus is wrong. Word of advice: Don’t focus on macro goals. Focus on micro goals. This way, if you fail, you can easily take another shot. It’s not insurmountable to get back up and try again.
Let me give you a personal example. I had purposed to have one hundred people visit my website in a day and have one hundred followers on Google+. Not a big deal to some but a big deal to me. I’m working towards one thousand in both departments. But I decided to break it down into small chunks so I wouldn’t be deflated looking at the low numbers but the opposite: elated in reaching the target number I had picked. I reached both of those goals last month which is when I wanted to meet them. Twice for one. Now I’m excited about my new goal of 150 in both categories.
Another thing about micro goals is that they encourage discipline. Something has to be done all of the time. You have to make a choice everyday whether you’ll do what is necessary to achieve your goals or not. Micro goals light a little fire under you because they are small and therefore easy to accomplish which makes you more likely to do them.
So stop reading this post and gets to gettin.Set those goals and build your novel skyscraper, one brick at a time.