Well, here we are. The new year. Two thousand and seventeen.

It is January 2nd. I am starting to settle nicely into the new year, and I am already feeling good about my goals and resolutions.

Resolutions are a tricky thing. I often criticize the new year’s resolution because you don’t need a new year to make a change. I hate hearing people say “new year, new me” because it just sounds so cliche’.

But this year I made some resolutions that are specific and goal oriented. Resolutions that I can actually keep and that will actually improve my life.

The first trick to doing this is to be SPECIFIC and FOCUSED.

I have seen a lot of people sharing check lists of what they will be accomplishing this year. Or a list of their goals this year. Some of these lists have a dozen things that are vague and not all all specific.

Exercise more or eat healthier are not goals that are specific and they can not be easily measured.

I have two very specific goals for 2017. One has to do with my writing and the other has to do with my running.

My writing goal for 2017 is measured in a specific dollar amount of sales for a single month. I am not going to reveal the details of that one because I want to keep the numbers private.

But I can tell you what I plan to do to get there.

First I examine my goal and ask myself what I need to do to get there. In this case I need to get more stories and books published. I am finishing up the first book in a new series that I have planned. A very specific and actionable step toward my goal is to get the first three books in this series published.

The first book will be published by the end of March. I scheduled deadlines for the second and third books. All three will be published by the end of November.

Then I asked myself what do I need to do to get those three books finished?

Well, the first book is in edits right now. I finished it during NaNoWriMo. That gives me a bit of a head start. So a specific and actionable step I can do to get these other two books written is to write every day.

One problem I have had in the past is my consistency with writing. So I decided on a word count goal that I can meet every day. It is small. The goal is so small that it would be ridiculous if I did not meet that goal each day. If I missed a day writing I know that I will look at the daily word count goal and be embarrassed that I did not take the time to even meet that goal.

The daily word count goal is small. It is not large enough to add up to the amount of writing I will need for each book, but the daily word count goal is not meant to get the books finished. It is meant to create the consistency I need to keep writing every single day.

Most days that I write I will go beyond the daily goal. On days that I can devote more time to writing I will blast so far past it that the goal will seem even more ridiculous.

But that type of win is a mental one. When I look down at the word count compared to the goal and I see that I have surpassed it by over 2,000 words that makes me feel even better and keeps me motivated to keep writing.

With those few steps and the deadlines I have created I will be able to lock in on my writing goal for the year and resolve to get to the next level of success in my writing career.

And that is the way you do it.

You focus on a single, specific goal that can be easily measured. If you split your attention to too many things than they all get neglected and before you know it you aren’t accomplishing anything.

Then, you take that goal and break down exactly what you need to reach that goal. Take the whole and break it into pieces. Each piece can then be broken into smaller pieces and you get each piece as you need it and put it together to create the whole.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

And you don’t need a new year to do all this. Start now on a single goal and when you reach it start new on the next goal.

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a month to reach your goal. Just do what you have to do to reach it.