Resolution Week: Measuring Success

Talking to Carol
on Facebook the other day, I realized that the reason it doesn’t bother
me to call my goals for a new year “resolutions” is because I’m very
resolute in making goals. At the end of the year, while I give myself
points for effort, I still ultimately categorize each goal as a
“success” or “failure” for the year. For a lot of people, that doesn’t
work just because the word “failure” carries such negative connotations,
but unlike a lot of people, I think it’s good to have some negative
feedback in life, even if it’s my own. It’s honest, and it makes true
success that much sweeter.

Trying to protect myself from what is real (from my perception,
anyways) for the sake of avoiding negativity would only serve to make me
weak. I’d rather be strong, and face the truth head on, even in my
yearly resolutions. Because that sets the tone for how I will deal with
issues in all other areas of my life. 

Obviously, this is just my personal outlook on things, but to
understand how I measure success, it’s something you need to know. Our
personal perception colors everything we do.

With that said, after all the work I’ve done of analyzing last
year’s resolutions and creating this year’s list, scheduling them into
my daily/weekly/monthly routines and setting up infrastructure to ensure
I have the best chance at success, one might think I have some complex
spreadsheet system to track my progress for these goals throughout the
year, or a daily peek at the list to make sure I stay on track.

One would be wrong.

Once the resolutions are made, the schedule is lined out, and the
infrastructure is in place…I completely ignore the original list until
next December. I don’t refer back to it at all. I treat it like a book
synopsis, something to center my thinking and focus my thoughts, but
then whatever happens, happens. I’ve done as much as I possibly could to
make those goals part of my life, not just a list on paper, and I have
to trust that if I fail to achieve that goal by the end of the year that
either I screwed up somewhere in the scheduling or infrastructure, or
the goal itself wasn’t actually as important as I’d thought it was, and
doesn’t really need to be a goal. Which is fine too.

But if you don’t keep track, how do you know if you succeeded
at truly measurable goal? Like writing 1,000 words per day, 5 days per
week – how would you know if you don’t keep track?”

Good question – and the answer is, I don’t really. I could easily
check it at the end of the year by adding up the word counts of any
published works and works in progress, and average it out by the number
of possible writing days. The truth is though, when I get to December
I’ll have a very good idea just in my head of how many words I’m writing
on average per day, and if I’m averaging 1k words most days of the
week, I consider that a success for the year. In that respect, I’m
perfectly fine with averages. If most days are under 1k and have been
for awhile, I’ll know that too (I have a fairly good memory), and I’ll
consider the goal a failure for that year.

I’m going to know how many books I published and if I hit my goals
each month just by memory, and if not, I’ll know the answer to that if
I’m keeping up on my bookkeeping goals for the year. I guess my point
is, I’d rather spend a month analyzing and setting up so that I can
focus on *doing* for the other 11 months of the year, rather than
tracking my attempts to do something.

I’ve never been big on extraneous paperwork. Even if it’s digital.

I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll generally know at the
end of the year whether our goals were a success or failure without any
busy-work during the year to make that happen. So my advice to you,
should you choose to accept it, is to make your list, fit it into your
schedule, set up your infrastructure, and then forget about it until
next December. Your schedule and infrastructure should remind you of
what you need to be working on when, and that should be enough if the
goal is important to you. Or that’s my opinion, anyways.

And with that, I’m putting my list away for the year, and getting
back to my normal schedule for the year – which includes this blog.
Starting Monday, we’ll go to the regular weekly schedule:

Monday: A news/goals post
Wednesday: Recommended Read
Friday: An excerpt from either one of my books, or a draft I’m working on.

Incidentally, the two serial drafts I currently have going on other
blogs *will* continue until they’re finished. After those are done, I
may serialize already published works, or drafts that are done and
awaiting publication if there’s interest.

Here’s to a new year, new resolutions and a solid plan to be successful with them!


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