#Firstreleasefrenzy

In four weeks and one day, I will be releasing The Alpha’s Dream.

It feels surreal to even type that. It isn’t that I haven’t published before, but a pen name is very different from my actual name. ThE anonymity that comes from a pen name created some separation. My actual name doesn’t. It feels like I have a lot of proving to do.

So many things are going through my head when I look at the pages in front of me. The long nights I spent croctched over my keyboard, the endless doubts of whether it’s good, and all the time I’ve missed wiht my little loves in order to write come down to this.

In theory, the journey is the point. Writing is my passion. The Alpha’s Dream could flop and I would still wake up with stories to tell. However, I still want my passion to pay the bills. There is still so much to do. I have to finalize my second draft and get it to my editor. Hopefully, she’ll return it with few edits, because it is mostly perfect. ūüėć More than likely, I’ll be down to the wire getting it ready for release date. I do ;t mind. I worked hard for my clients, and I can work hard for me.

My fears aren’t that the book isn’t enjoyable. I love it, but again I am biased. I want to crawl into hte pages with my characters and walk them through the choices they are making. After all, so much of being th author is just about- ushering my characters to the ledges they need to jump from. I don;t make th e hoices about what happens to them, they ¬†do.

The Alpha’s release is no different.

Nathaniel and Euphoria have a ton of internal doubts to work through in order to have a successful relationship. They have to be grave, to rewrite the narrative of their lives as far as relationships are concerned. It will not be easy. It won’t even be moderately difficult. It will be hard. The realizations they will come too will challenge everything they’ve believed about themselves as lovers.

In much the same way, writing The Alpha’s Dream has challenged me. Iv’e had to relinquish thoughts of inadequancies. I’ve had to unravel all the doubts, find their roots and pluck them up. I’ve had to examine my motivations for writing and what I hoped to accomplish through my work. Whatever the outcome, this is a dream manifesting and I don’t take that for granted.

Joy

#MarchMadness

Woot! I’m ready for all March has to offer. At this point, I’m about six weeks from my first release and in a frenzy to get things done well. Don’t worry. I’m still mostly optimistic that it will all get done. Mostly, because I am working my behind off to make sure it does. The struggle is real, but so is the hustle.

So February Goals were good, and I got a ton of things down on my personal goal lists as well as my author lists. I think I’m on pace to do pretty well this month too, but I’ll need your help with a few. Namely my ARC Reviewer sign-up. If you want to be involved, follow the link and get your free reads!

On to business. I have several things on my lists for the month of March. Let me share them with you now, along with the ones that were migrated from February.

March To-Do Goals:

-Send The¬†Alpha’s Dream off to the Editor

Build my ARC Reviewer Lists

-Send of First Newsletter

-Execute Phase 1 of Marketing Plan

Migrated Goals:

-Finish Second Novella

-Write/Edit 2 Shifter Shorts

Ultimate goal for March is to successfully complete everything on the lists. I want a clean slate coming into April. Hold me to that one! What are you working on this month? Comment below.

Joy.

#GoalDigginUpdate

Alright, time to check in.

When I last updated you guys on Year of the Leap Author goals, I was in wobbly shape. I’m happy to report that February was a good month! I didn’t hit all of my goals, but I did get to most of them. So let’s check on my February Goal lists.

February Goals:

-Create Newsletter

-Select Shorts Premises

-Create/Edit Shorts

-Develop Marketing Plan

-Choose Final Editor

-Finish 2 Novellas

-Prepare Second Drafts

If you followed along last month,¬† you know there are two goals on that list that are carryovers from January. Suffice to say that¬† at least one of those thin I being migrated again. the good news¬†is that I did create my newsletter, and you can expect it the fifteenth of this month. Premises for my short are selected and outlined. My marketing plan is tentative, but strong. I still think I’ll do some editing to it, and my Editor is picked. I’m supper exited to work with her.

The Alpha’s Dream was one of the novellas I was hoping to finish and edit. It turned into a novel one all was said and done. I’m excited about its growth and pretty happy to have it flesh out so nicely. I’m excited to share it with you guys as soon as possible. Second drafts are immediately underway!

The elephants in the room are the things¬†I didn’t get done. So here is the list of things that I am carrying over to my March Goal lists.

Migrating Goals:

-Finish 2nd Novella

-Write/Edit 2 Shorts

I love keeping you updated on the progress I’m making, and I’m just as interested in the goals you keep. How is your year going so far? Did you hit your February goals? Leave your comments below.

Joy.

#Mamaauthor

My husband and I have been married for ten years (eleven years in August.) My husband and I suffered three miscarriages and immeasurable heartache in the five years we were actively trying to conceive. My husband and I couldn’t afford fertility treatments. If it were going to happen it was going to be the old fashion way. (It did…eventually.) My husband and I are expecting our third child in three years in May. My husband and I adore our little ones.

However, being an author is hard. Not where you thought this post was going? Bear with me. It all comes full circle.

In conventional ways, being a mother and being an author overlap each other by way of time. If I have time to write one of two things have happened. Either my husband has taken our darlings and whisked them away so I can have some quiet time or it is after hours, they are sleeping, and I should be too. To describe the oddity of waking up to the sound of your fingers typing is to live outside your body at all times.

There. I admitted it. I’m a sorceress. I can wrestle with house and husband and children all day and write romance stories in my sleep. Of course that would be first draft, pre-edit writing. What can I say? There are limits to my powers.

As I write this, there is a little darling nursing themselves to sleep in my lap. I should be weaning and I am sort of. Also, I should be editing, and I am. Sort of. Story of my life really.I am always trying to find the delicate balance between getting the job done directly in front of me and the one just inches from my face. Multitasking has its perks, but it also has its pitfalls. Namely everything always feels almost finished in my world, but not quite done.

I am not always up to embracing the challenges that come from mothering and authoring. Mainly, because I’m exhausted.¬†I¬†never feel like I’m doing it right, and at least half the time I’m just doing something I read somewhere.¬†I’m not going to be too¬†hard on myself about that. I read some really good shit.

I’ve had to learn that winging it is absolutely as powerful as knowing exactly what must be done and doing it. As knowing what must be written and writing it. ¬†I’ve had to learn that somethings don’t balance the way you want them to, but there is growth in juggling. I’ve realized that it is okay to take two hard things and admit they are hard while still¬†getting them done.

When the doctor told me my first born existed,¬†I was in denial.¬† I called him a liar and spent the next fourteen weeks in disbelief. It was a similar¬†experience when¬†I was first¬†encouraged to¬†write for a living.¬†I knew the work I’d put in silently¬†to have these dreams come true, and it felt like I was being mocked to have someone tell me they were possible.

I’ve failed so many times. I would see the finished line only to have it extended another hundred miles. I didn’t want to hear that it would happen in time or keep going or any of the anecdotes and phrases that currently keep me alive.I wanted something tangible to convince me that what I desired could be real.

Here I am touching them both.(Finally.) ¬†Albeit, I am definitely becoming more successful at one than the other at a much¬†faster pace. ūüėČ

I say all this, because today has been difficult. This last week has easily cemented itself as one of the hardest of my life. I’ve had to sit quietly and come clean with myself on a slew of very personal things. I questioned whether¬†I should be doing this-right now.¬†¬†Motherhood is permanent for me, but¬†authorhood was on the¬†verge of elimination. When¬†I am crumbling,¬†I have to get light. This¬†is my way.

At the end of the day, I had to buck up. I had to think of¬†how long I’d been fighting for the reality that I am living right now. I had to remember, everyday I am living an ideal life that I wanted¬†and¬†didn’t achieve until now. ¬†The reality is I’ve waited too long for the opportunities that I am seeing unfold. I don’t want my unraveling to destroy all that I am working to build.

Then, there is the matter of my children. The is the matter of what I want them to believe about their mother and about life. We don’t give up, just because something is hard. I say that to them all the time. Particularly, my eldest who is fascinated by everything but sometimes intimidated if she doesn’t get it on the first try. I need them to see that difficulty is sometimes the catalyst we need to release fear and get it done.

So I fight through my uncertainty, my anxiety, and depression. I venture forward to prove it can be done. That I an survive my own thoughts and accomplish something great.

I am #mamaauthor. I am two thins I once believed I would never be and it is terrifying. It is also beautiful and it motivates me to keep believing impossible things can happen.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

,

Author At Work

It’s official. April 23rd, 2017 is the date of my first release.

As I type this, I expected mountains of anxiety or at the very least pressure to sit on my chest. Instead, what I have is a ton of clarity. It feels right. It’s taking a long time to get myself together, and most days I still feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. Maybe I am. Whatever the reason, I will take it.

I’ve spent years working hard for other people and watching them profit from my long hours. I loved being a ghostwriter, I still love being a ghostwriter. Income from that¬† career is what is paying for this one. Eventually, I won’t need to ghostwrite. I will be too busy keeping up with my own work. Until then, I have immense gratitude for even being able to get here.

If you are wondering what to expect from my first release, I will give you a hint. A boy (werewolf) meets a girl(heroine) and they have to overcome their personal hangups in order to be together. It doesn’t say much, right? I know. I’m terrified of revealing too much before it is published and having someone beat me to the press with my premise.

Of course I know all the good tropes are recycled, but I’d like to be the first to tell this story this way. Isn’t that the entirety of what being an author is? Telling an old¬†premise in a way that makes it your own? Don’t worry as we get closer to drop date, I will share more details. Afterall, I can read my work any day of the week. It’s you who I want to be interested.

Mark you calendars, April 23rd, 2017 and be among the first. Also keep posted here for details of how you can receive a free Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads. I’d love for you to be a part of my tribe. Comment below¬†with perks you would like me to include with sign-up!

#theshiftersarecoming

Joy.

#Goals :My February To-Do

One month down and eleven more to go! This year is already shaping up to be¬† one of madness and massive shake-ups. My personal life is a little more tame. I’ve broken my major goals down to monthly tasks and as you have read from my Gut Check,¬†¬†I already missed three major goals for January. I’m fresh out of holiday excuses and I cannot afford another upset. I have work to do.

In the vein of accountability. Here is my edited February Work Goals List. Five tasks that will aid in progressing my brand, and my books.

February Goals to Accomplish:

-Create Newsletter

-Select Shorts Premise

-Create/Edit/Finish two Shorts

-Develop Marketing Plan

-Choose Final Editor

Migrated Goals from January:

-Finish two Novellas

-Edit two Novellas

-Prepare for Second Draft

It’s no joke being an #Authorpreneur. The work is endless, but so is the love. I’m going to complete everything on this list by the end of the month. Watch me work. What goals did you migrate? Ready to tackle them now? Talk to me in the comments.

Joy.

February Gut Check: A GoalDigging Update

Whooo! Just like that January has come and gone. My head is still spinning. I’m not sure I didn’t lose my mind a little mid-month, but whatever. I ‘m technically still functioning.

Anyway, first order of business #BlackHistoryMonth is finally here! In a lot of ways, I feel like I wait all year for Black History Month.¬† I just love being inundated with my heritage in a way that embodies its strentghs, and the struggles. Give me every Harriet Tubman three-line poem in the church play. Bring me the babies dressed as Marion Anderson, and Madame C.J. Walker. Please beloveds, link me to the Facebook live of your baby impersonating George Washington Carver, and Martin, and Malcolm and all of them. I’m here for all of that and every beautiful brown story in between. Its presence is a critical part to American History, and the more often we honor that the better. Love it.

In honor of those who’ve come and gone before me, I’m working hella hard to¬† claim my space as an author. We’ve talked extensively about my views on goals, setting and executing. Today, I’m forcing accountability on myself and addressing my goal list head on. This is a gut check, a reflection on what goals I did and didn’t reach for the month of January.

As you all know, I’m on a tight schedule. Baby love¬† number three will be here in four months! Yeah, you know I’m losing it. Time is of the essence and I have to get tons of things done before the little precious arrives. So, here is the update.

Five things I was supposed to accomplish in January:

-Establish my blog

-Set up Author Media Accounts

-Write two Novellas

-Edit two Novellas

-Prepare for Second Drafts

Five Things I actually accomplished in January:

-Established my blog (Hey boo!ūüĎčūüŹĺūüėė)

-Set up my Author Media Accounts (Like,Follow,SubscribeūüíĽūüíĽ)

ūüėę That’s a sad list. I have a ton of reasons for why I slacked off on finishing the writing I intended to do, but excuses don’t get shit done. I’m in the get shit done phase of my life for the rest of my life. Point. Blank. Period. (Do people even say that anymore?) It doesn’t matter. My point is made.

To catch up, I’m working extra hours, because migrated goals are just that. I still have five things to do this month (February) in order to keep on my rigorous schedule and my failure to complete January tasks just added three more. Time¬†to get organized, and get productive.¬†Maybe I should post my timeline for accountability sake! Only if you promise to comment encouraging things and keep me on track!?! Or, I can just self-motivate and execute. These are my goals. Let me show you how serious about them I am. Comment below with your migrated goals and we can help each other get them done.

Joy.

 

I am a (working) mom first.

My husband and I tried for eight years before our first live birth. We are now planning (and praying) for our third healthy little love.

On the night that my doctor told me I was pregnant I called him a liar. I dismissed every nurse afterwards the way only a woman whose womb eaten her children could do. I turned my back. I ignored it. I pretended that what was really happening was a cruel joke by God to prove he was still in control.

My body liked to get pregnant. It just didn’t believe in full terms. In turn, I learned to dismiss the yearning I had for children. It became a nuisance, a mosquito buzzing in my ear as I passed the baby section, pregnant women, babies. I wrote poems about it. I raged about it in round tables with other women. I forgot I was not alone.

I waited for the first ultrasound, only to find there was no heartbeat. The tech tried to convince me it was just too early. Except wanting women know too much about the timelines between conception and heartbeats and births. I was not convinced. It would take five more weeks before a second ultrasound revealed a tiny little gummy bear and a strong beating heart.

I have added to that first miracle a second living, breathing dream. My hopes and prayers that this third is just as healthy,happy, and whole is still a knot in my throat. I will never forget those years of waiting. I will never go through pregnancy with the ease of a woman who “knew” she would have children. So be it.

After all of this, the clincher. I am a working mom. So many of us have this particular claim. I work mostly from home. Sometimes, this is because I can and other times it is because I have no other choice. I am a working mom, author. The hours are long, and unpredictable as one would expect. I work double duty as a stay-at-home mom during the day and then at night – all night I work.

I am exhausted all the time. #momlife

However, that isn’t the part that kills me. When my darlings were born I promised myself a handful of new mom promises. Of them, I would be there whenever they wanted me. It wouldn’t matter if they needed me, the wanting would be enough. I would never ever let them reach for me and not come.

Some of you mamas are already nodding your head. You know exactly where this is going and you would be right. I’ve broken that promise. I’ve never let them need me, but some of those wants to have gone unmet. My beloveds hate it when I say, mama has to work. The eldest inevitably asks me why. It is the same answer every night and yet, it feels insufficient.

On those nights when things are particularly rough and nothing their father does will suffice, I find myself weighing my decision to be an author. What am I giving them that is so important it requires I take from their time with me? There are at least seven layers to that answer, but two stay with me all the time.

One. I am teaching them the value of owning ones time by making a living through ones passion.

Two. Sometimes, you just have to feed your own soul.

I am a good mother. I say this, because it is both true and I need to hear it. My children are inquisitive, and funny. They are sure of themselves and have healthy boundaries. We eat cake for breakfast some days. We watch television together. We read the same book at least twenty times a week. They are smart enough to challenge anyone who tries to feed them inaccurate information, yet humble enough to ask questions about what they don’t know.

They are all these things with me working.

I am thankful for my lover, my husband. The father he is reveals itself in the joy they have when they know he is home. He is a man of little needs with an emotionally high maintenance wife. When I need to feed my soul, he makes the sacrifice. We are in this together.

Being an author, working-mom does not come with the guarantees of some working positions. There are more risks to take. One of the risk I take is that my children will see the time away and find it fruitless. So I work hard, I study hard, and I learn everything I can about this business. When they are old enough to read my books, I want the light bulb to go off in their heads. I want them to know that mama wrote to feed them and herself. One day they will have living dreams and a passion too. They will know how to crack open and give both all they got.

To those of you fighting similar battles, do not give in to the guilt. You are working because this is what it takes to feed your children. You are working, so they do not starve and so they learn that love is layered. Love is as present in hours spent away as it is in hours spent with.

My beloveds don’t doubt that¬† I love them. I don’t doubt that they love me. So I make sure that when I am creating I give it all I have. The hours away have to be worth the time I sacrifice away from them. When I get it right, I know then that they are.

Joy.

17 things I will do in 2017

So, great. I’ve made my goals and now I’m on my way to executing them all. Well, here are still some things that didn’t make the list…sort of. They’ve been upgraded to a list of their own. Sometimes, success between major goals is spread out. They tend to require more, planning, or resources or whatever. These 17 things to do in 2017 only require my willingness. They are a great way to litter small successes in between major accomplishments without being overwhelmed.

Don’t take this list as seriously as your goal list. It is fine if it has some heavy hitters. Mostly this list should contain¬†short and quickly executable events that will boast your confidence and determination.

Think of it as¬†a fun way to include those things that didn’t seem important enough to make my true “goal list”, but were still things I wanted to do. They are in no particular order, but that isn’t to say I won’t treat them like it. I’ll update as I go, which ones¬†I’ve followed through on and which ones might be more difficult than I intended.

Some of the goals¬†here¬†are fun adventure type events I’d like to share with my family¬†and others are just bucket list items that made the shortlist. Have a read through and then leave a comment to¬†¬†tell me yours!

    1. Read  75 mixed genre books.
    2. Spend 1 Saturday a month with my Grandmother exclusively.
    3. Take a baking class.
    4. Write two shorts a month in addition to published work.
    5. Visit Houston like a tourist with Children.
    6. Build a dollhouse and kitchen set for the little loves.
    7. Sew 5 dresses start to finish.
    8. Learn to re-twist my locks.
    9. Visit Baltimore, Maryland for future book setting research
    10. Take a Creative Writing course
    11. Take my  darlings to a Book Festival.
    12. Take a photography class or several.
    13. Conquer my body discomfort with a Boudoir Photo Shoot.
    14. First stay at Disney World Resort
    15. Visit New Orleans like a tourist without Children ūüôā

(Research of Course.)

  1. Build my Social Media Platforms to 3,000.
  2. Master five staple meals!

I’ll keep you guys updated on what I complete. Comment with what makes your list!

Execute: My 2017 Goal List.

I am posting this out of a need for accountability. Everything I have ever accomplished has been because I’ve exposed my cards. It’s a trick to keep myself honest and focused on the¬†tasks I set for myself.

The¬†things I list here as my 2017 goals are only a few of the items I’ve assigned myself. My goal list spans everything from financial plans to spiritual growth. I like it that way.

For the purpose of this blog, I am only including ¬†things that pertain to my businesses, and my writing. It isn’t that I don’t want to include all of you in my process, but some things¬†belong to only me. so I protect them for close friends only.

You¬†know by now that this is the Year of the Leap for me. My goals reflect carray that theme. The things on¬†this list may be minor for some of you. However, they are lofty for me. I’ll list my top five below. They are not ordered by priority, but they do have varying values. Can you guess which one is the heaviest hitter? Leave a comment below with your answer!

 

Author goals of 2017, the Shortlist

publish 4 full length (35,000-40,000 words) by December 1

Beef up my Social Media Following to 3000 over 4 platforms

Publish 4 novellas (20,000-30,000) words

publish 1 compilation of shorts (5,000 words)

Become an Amazon & New York Times Bestseller

What made your shortlist? Don’t forget to comment below!

Joy.

Resolutions-The Umbrella Solution

I’ve been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions for as long as I can remember. There is something refreshing about reflection on past choices¬†and ambition for something better culminating in a new outlook. the New Year, New Me was built for people with my¬†wavering optimism. Much to my chagrin, it often leads me with the same results when the enthusiasm wears off.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of keeping some resolutions and breaking others. The ugly details generally include weight loss and bad habits I ¬†should have abandoned. As I’ve gotten older and a touch wiser I’ve come to realize that resolutions like any tool are only as effective as the user’s ability. If I was going to keep a resolution – really stick to it – then I had to edit the way I was approaching these opportunistic rebirths.

It took some time to come up with my resolution¬† this year. Since my goals are specific to certain sections of my life, my resolution must be an umbrella. It must cover everything that I hope to accomplish and still leave room for more. So, I don’t say I’m going to lose ten pounds by June. Instead, I say I will have revamped my approach to healthy living in 2017. The process¬†is the exact opposite of my goal setting method, but more on that here.

Having spent most of my life winging resolutions because of course.¬†I’ve noticed having a¬†more definable way of picking them has been the remedy for my inconsistent success. Of course it would be, success is measured in consistency and consistency is contagious.¬†It is not a far leap from¬†successful resolution to reached goals. All you have to do is the work, and trust the process. Here are the five ways I determine my New Year’s resolution. Use them how you will or not at all, just be sure to leave me a comment on your resolution thoughts!

Rule 1: No Small Potatoes.

Like I said before, I had to stop thinking of my resolutions like goals. Instead of making them unnecessarily specific, I had to broaden their reach. The trick is in the language.

e.g. lose ten pounds vs. revamp healthy living approach

In the first portion of the example, the language emphasis is on the number of pounds. In my process, that makes it a goal. In the second portion , the emphasis  is on healthy living. For some, these translate into the same thing. For me, one is about weight and the other is about quality of life. Quality of life is greater than weight.

Rule 2: Broad is not Vague

It is critical that in broadening your resolution it doesn’t become so thin that the goals it covers are barely encompassed. Your resolution should remind you of what your goals for the year are and flexibly address them.

i.e. I will be more mysterious on social media vs. I will be more protective of my private life on social media.

Saying you would be more mysterious does include privacy. However, mystery could be anything. I could be a thinly veiled comment toward an enemy or an elaborate lie that hides true intentions. Privacy carries very specific connotations. Yet, it covers a large area. Privacy could relate just as much to photo sharing as it does to beliefs and ideals. Privacy is a better choice in language for a resolution than mystery, because it addresses your concerns and has a clear interpretation attached to it.

Rule 3: Connectivity is key

Your resolution cannot be an umbrella if the goals you have don’t fit under it. Your goals can cover many factions of your life, but the umbrella method requires a thin thread or theme that connects all of them. Think of it like this. If you tried to use your umbrella to cover your car and yourself at the same time it will undoubtedly leave you wet.¬† So, your goals should have something in common that can be summed up and covered by your resolution.

i.e. My 2012 resolution was no regrets. Sampling of my 2012 goals were to explore different writing styles in business, say yes to more social invitations in my personal life, and to exorcise the shame I carried from past poor choices.

The theme for 2012 was to make my decisions knowing there would be risk and to not regret the outcome. It didn’t matter whether the outcome was good or bad. My umbrella was no regrets and my goals were all examples of situations I would normally formulate regret. Bind your goals to your resolution and it gives you a greater opportunity for success.

Rule 4: Mantras not Minutes

The break down of this is more for practical use. Your resolution should be no longer than three to five words. Crazy, right?!? Crazy good. Unlike your  goals, your resolution is supposed to carry over for the whole year. Thus, it should stick with you. Having a sentence that is three to five words long to cover your year makes it easy to remember. Your resolution is your mantra to be repeated to yourself over and over. It is not however meeting minutes rambling on with every detail you suspect is important.

i.e. (In 2017) I am determined and fearless. vs. I am determined and fearless to overcome any challenges that come my way as I embark on the opportunities that 2017 have to offer.

Need I explain more? The first option is short, can be clearly interpreted, and covers a theme of facing challenges – without explicitly saying so. Your resolution is for you. You don’t have to explain it¬†to yourself. Make your resolution simple, memorable, and it will remain with you all year.

Rule 5: Think of it in terms of a year.

In my post, 5 rules for choosing a goal, I push for goals to have deadlines. Deadlines offer a direction and timing is important when working on specific goals. However, resolutions are not meant to have finality in the same sense. Goals need a finish, but resolutions are generally changes you hope to carry with you through life. Thinking of them in short-term timeframes isn’t as beneficial as thinking of them in over longer terms. Goals are a sprint, resolutions are a marathon.

i.e. Year of no regrets/ Year of being determined and fearless.

2012 was my year of no regrets and I still remind myself to make¬†the choices I am drawn to¬†even when I can’t predict the outcome. Earlier this year, I read Shonda Rhimes’, Year of Yes. In it, she talks about continuing passed her year mark. I’ve found thinking in terms of the year made me more likely to continue the process even after the “deadline” had passed. It’s a sneaky little trick, but it works and we’re all looking for something that works.

So there it is more or less. My Umbrella method for choosing a New Year Resolution. Results will vary according to your resolution and will, but otherwise you should be fine. A toast to meeting you on the other side of all we will accomplish in 2017 and to the methods that get us there.

Joy.

 

 

4 rules to goal picking for success.

 

I’m ambitious, but ambition doesn’t always¬† translate into time management or even a completed to-do list. I aim to change most if not all of that in 2017, but to do so requires a plan.

Everyone knows this is the time of year for resolutions and healthy projections about the year to come. In all the holiday craziness this hardly seems a great time to set goals for the new year. Yet, most of us will.There is just something about the turning over of a new year that makes everything seem possible. Still, all of those good feelings don’t generally come with a guidebook. There’s not always¬† a great way to turn good intentions into accomplishments. So, I decided that in order to give myself¬† the best chance at knocking things off my¬† bucket list I had to start with a clear plan.

Set some goals. Make a plan. Execute.

Simple enough except I’m a Virgo and nothing is ever that simple. The over analytical side of me hopped right up to the plate to determine exactly how complex I could make this simple task, starting with setting my goals for the year. Just before I was utterly defeated, I found a way to streamline my process and ensure the goals I picked for this year were achievable.

I’m sharing my process now, because I know I’m not the only one who could use a little guidance when determining goals.¬†This four¬†rule process¬†helped tremendously when it came time for me to narrow¬†my years goals down.¬†With any luck, it’ll help you too. ¬†Use what you can, discard what you can’t, and be sure to leave a comment about what you would do differently!

Rule 1: Goals must be reasonable.

I’m a wife, and a work-from-home mom who is currently pregnant. Time is of the essence. Any goals I set for the year¬† have to be carefully woven into an already stretched day. I have to be honest with myself when¬†determining what things¬†¬†I can accomplish in the loving chaos that I live in. This isn’t a chance to short myself by not choosing heavy hitters who drive my purpose. I still have to do the work of forward movement. In order to orchestrate this, I must choose goals that are obtainable if nothing changes and flexible when everything does.

Example. I will read 100 books in 2017 vs. I will read 52 books in 2017.

An effective goal has both a deadline and is measurable, but more on that later.

For my schedule anything more than a book a week is too high of a commitment. So my goal must take this into consideration. However, it is not unreasonable within my schedule to find time for one book a week. Even though, it would probably be easier to commit to only one book a month it would not be challenging. I want the challenge.

Rule 2. Goals must feed mind, body, and/or soul.

This one is layered for me. Most often in my busy schedule if something or someone is to be neglected it is me. Putting myself last on the list can sometimes make room for our families bigger picture, but when I am depleted everything in my house seems to stop. In order to continuously be a loving, supportive wife and a loving, devoted mother I have to make time for things that renew me. I must find the time. My goals must prioritize my needs and still honor the needs of those I love.

Goals are personal even though they have rippling effects in some cases.

Example. Taking a twenty minute walk alone to clear my head is not always feasible. However, walking the dogs with my husband and children keeps everyone occupied, gives us quality time and still allows me a little internal space to clear my head. Not to mention, the healthy benefits of a little fresh air and mobility.

You now what your needs are. Do not be afraid to pencil them into your goals. Burn out, fatigue, anxiety are all very real. If you (or I) ignore the needs of the mind, and body the soul will suffer every time. Your goals should offer every imaginable opportunity to bring out the best in yourself to yourself.

Rule 3. Goals must challenge.

Here’s the deal. Goals are about growth. No one grows from remaining comfortable. If a goal does not push, pull, or at the very least coax me out of my comfort zone (comfortable way of thinking, feeling, or doing things) then they are not productive goals.

I have to do the work, to push myself toward greater accomplishments¬† at the risk of being uncomfortable.¬†Things that don’t move, rust.¬†While contentment¬†for what¬†I have when I have it is great, stagnation is not. In¬† the words of Walt Disney… Keep moving forward.

Rule 4 . Goals must have a sense of urgency.

Deadlines are not fun, but they are effective. Executing my goals with efficiency and maximizing my ability to remain focused on them requires an end date. In fairness, the end date must be realistic to the goal. Most goals have layers, different requirements. Consider them individually and honestly when working on your timeline.

Deadline example.

No matter how hard I try, I am not gong to trim 7 inches from my waist in 48 hours.

7 inches in 30 days is a realistic deadline and honest to my metabolism, and health routines.

By being honest with yourself about your timeline, you increase the likelihood of success for that goal. Gives yourself the best shot to be successful. The endorphin release is worth it.

I used these rules as a foundation for all of my goal setting. It is by no means a definitive list nor am I an authority on goals, but I have had some success because of them.

By all means, take what you will from my little list of rules. Edit them, discard what does and doesn’t work for you. Do whatever you must, but make goals and stick to them. No matter how small or large, all the positive changes we willingly make for our lives are significant changes. Just don’t be afraid to take the leap.