Using a Goal Setting Group to Bring Success

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

If you’ve read any of my past posts, you may have noticed I’m a goals girl. I love taking out the paper and figuring out where I want to go and how to get there. Making sure I check those goal sheets, well… that doesn’t always happen. I can be racing along, in a hurry to get where I think I’m going, and totally forget to check the map.

That can end up with the end of the year check in being a big surprise and can go something like this:

“Wait.. I said I wanted to save money for a trip to Hawaii? But I spent it all on that writing conference. What happened?”

This year though I did something different. I joined a goal setting group last December. Writing Giam hosted by the amazing Amy Atwell. Not only does Amy supervise the entire Writing Gaim site, she jumps on to all the loops (I’m on loop number five, and I know there are more than that), and she also is starting a database for authors with helpful articles.

Writing Gaim has been a lifesaver for me. I’ve found that having a group to report to has made my goal setting much more focused. Every week I set my goals, and I’m actually staying on course! (Except for the Hawaii thing). This is one of the reasons Weight Watchers is so successful. Reporting back to a person or a group of people on your weekly endevours increases your chances of success. Checking in with my GaimX5rs loop on a regular basis is like looking the WW leader in the eye and confessing to eating a whole box of Little Debbies. Not going to happen.

When you know you have someone to report to, then you are much more likely to stay on track. And if you have a bad week, you are much more likely to get back on the wagon. This is particularly helpful if you are easily distracted (like me) by things like unwashed dishes or husbands or dogs.

You see those things (especially the husbands and dogs) notice if you don’t follow through. Who notices when you don’t follow through on your writing goals? Just you, you say? It might be time for a change.

Writing Gaim also has a Go-Pro loop, for those people who haven’t yet made it to PRO. I love this idea and if I’d known about it before I hit PRO, I would have jumped on it. PRO is great, but you can’t access any of it’s benefits till you finish and submit that first ms. And that can be a mountain of work. If you are interested in achieving this milestone, and are having trouble, a whole group focused on getting you there might be the answer.

The other great thing about my goal setting loop is all the wonderful author friends I’ve made. And I use the word author instead of writer on purpose. These people are all either publishing or on the road to publication. And it’s happening at a fast rate. Whether they’ve jumped off the romance boat to write memoirs or are self-publishing, they check in and show their progress. These are authors on the move.

How do you challenge your goal setting weaknesses? Do you have someone who keeps you accountable? Is it a group or a crit-partner? What if they don’t actually push you? Do you need to make a change?


Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, writing organization

11 responses to “Using a Goal Setting Group to Bring Success

  1. Great post, Jessica! And spot on, I’d say. Some days my goal is just to open the ms and look at it. Most times, though, my lists keep me going. I love crossing things off. And those longer term ones are fun to revisit sometimes to see just how many things I can cross off. It’s all about keeping the engine stoked.
    I do like your group idea online, though. Have to check that out.

    • There is something about checking in with someone. I know Gloria checks in with Sherry, and vice versa. Sometimes a critique group can be that, but I haven’t found that my critique peeps are all that steady on the goals. Too much life happening for both of them. 🙂 But on a large group, even if two or three people are having a rough week, there is always someone to keep you steady.

  2. I have tried them all: making a list, reporting to my crit partners, joined ROW 80. In tandem and separate and they work SO LONG AS I look at them. I sometimes practice this game many call “avoidance.” Confession? I have not LOOKED at my Row 80 goals since I posted them. Why? Because I know there are items listed I have not accomplished.

    LUCKY you, Jessica! You get to be the accomplishment forum for me today. When I post this, I will make my to-do list for today. Later today, I’ll check back in and post my accomplishments for the day. One day at a time. Sending goals to my Crit Partners and (gasp!) looking at Row 80 will be on that list. Gotta go…

    Much to accomplish. Thanks for the kick in the kiester. Oh! And, thanks again for playing the meme challenge. LOVED your answers.

  3. I have to look into this group today. Thanks for posting this. I’m pretty hard on myself and set self-imposed deadlines. Then, a night like last night happens where I let it all go and watched The Blind Side (again) and another movie. I hate it when I go off-track like that.

    • As much as I am a goals girl, I think you also need to schedule down time too. If you don’t, you find yourself jumping ship! Jenny Hansen talked about that earlier this fall, how she likes to set goals for personal time. I think Sherry is doing that with reading tomorrow on Romance and Beyond. I’ll have to swing by there and see!

  4. Is this a good time to mention an experiment I read about recently, in which people who wrote down what they planned to do were less successful because in their mind, the task was done because they wrote it down?
    I love my goal-setting group. Goal-setting with a partner began after taking DSDB with Margie Lawson January 2010. Carole St-Laurent and I were partners during the online class and carried on after with weekly goal setting and reports. Gloria Richard joined us a few months in, and this year, Sharon Clare jumped on the goal setting roller-coaster. Goal setting, and sharing and reporting, not only helps me stay on track and organize my week, it also helps me breakdown my task schedule into manageable chunks. I have a tendency to write down more than I can accomplish, but I’m getting more realistic and therefore effective, as I continue goal-setting each week.

    • Oh, you’re all goal setting together. That’s terrific! And, no, I don’t think I even want to know about those people. I love setting goals, but maybe that’s why sometimes some people are less than successful.

  5. Jessica–thanks for the shout out. Sorry Google Alerts didn’t bother to tell me you’d mentioned WritingGIAM until today. And I’m thrilled that the group has helped you be more accountable to your goals. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all too easy for us to surrender our personal goals in the midst of a busy workday or family life. We don’t want to disappoint anyone else’s expectations of us, so we sacrifice our writing. Because, really, who will notice? At WritingGIAM, people will notice. They’ll ask. But they’ll also support, commiserate, brainstorm and cheer you on. Without WritingGIAM, I doubt I would have stuck with my writing long enough to be published.

    • Hi Amy, that pesky Google Alerts not doing it’s job? Tsk, tsk. Glad you stopped by. The group has been invaluable to me and I know I would not be where I am today (publishing within a year of joining) without it. I love the camaraderie and support. Thanks for starting it!

  6. I didn’t know about WritingGIAM until I read your post. Wow, it’s really cool! Hats off to Amy for creating it.

    I have become a big fan of goals groups that meet in person, offline. I like online groups a lot, but for me, there is something about seeing people face-to-face that really keeps me motivated. When I wanted to start my own local goals group, I didn’t know what to do, so I did a lot of research. The start-up process is actually fairly simple. To help others create their own goals groups, I created a blog Please forgive the self-promotion. But all the info on the blog is free, and my hope is that people will use the material to become courageous and create their own goals groups. It is so wonderful to have support for our writing goals. It has made such a world of difference to me.

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