How to Make Goals (That You’ll Actually Stick With)

I think most of us know how to make a realistic and achievable goal. Just in case you don’t, here’s a quick run down:

  • Break your goal down into a series of steps.
    • Each step will propel you onward, because you have mini-victories to cheer you along.
  • Give yourself deadlines.
    • But make sure they’re reasonable. If you aren’t writing full time, chances are you can’t write a full length manuscript in one week, let alone plan and edit it.
  • Prioritize your goals.
    • Figure out what’s most important and make sure those get done first. Most important can mean what you care about the most or what needs to be done in a timely manner. You’re smart, you can figure it out.

But here’s the problem. If you’re anything like me and take issue with authority (it’s a problem, I’m working on it), then even giving yourself a set of rules makes you want to rebel. I write to do list after to do list, and you know what I end up doing with them half the time? Throwing them away, telling myself I’m not the boss of me. It’s kind of ridiculous, but that’s beside the point.

I’ve discovered a handy trick to help achieve my goals, and the second I say it you’re going to smack yourself in the face. Just, before you x out of this tab, give me a second to explain. Pretty please?

The trick to actually achieving your goals is *drum roll please* reward yourself!

Seriously, that’s it.

Rewarding yourself can be literally anything from going on a shopping spree (I suggest leaving this to the big goals, like getting published and being given a huge advance) to taking a bubble bath with a glass of wine and your current book. I promise it will change your life.

I typically reward myself with a Starbucks latte or a book from my favorite local bookstore (I try to find used copies so I don’t break the bank). If it’s a huge goal I just accomplished, I’ll splurge on dinner out.

Your rewards don’t have to be insane or innovative to work. By rewarding yourself you’re doing more than telling yourself good job. You’re telling yourself that you value your hard work, you deserve recognition for whatever you’ve done (even if the recognition is just from you), and that you care about what you’re doing.

When we put goals on a piece of paper they sometimes become disconnected from our dreams. They become items on a list we want to cross off and get out of the way. If your goals are your dreams, then you shouldn’t want to move on from them. You should want to live in them, soak up the feeling of accomplishment, and allow yourself a little treat to recognize how much of a bada** you are!

So make those goals, but don’t forget to treat yoself!

~Liz

Follow me @liz_tampa on Twitter and @wethewriters on Instagram.

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