How to Write a New Years Resolution : Five steps to making “smart” goals in 2020

Here we go again… Those 6 glory days between Christmas and New Years day have officially passed, which means that it’s time to put down the gingersnaps and pick up the slack. By the drop of a hat yet another year has passed, and many of us are facing those daunting “New Year, new me!” thoughts, while all at the same time it feels like it was only yesterday that we were welcoming in 2019. Don’t worry, here at the Black Bear Review, we get you, and we are fully aware of how truly anxiety provoking the New Year can be. That is why we have taken the time to make a list for you to follow along to help all of your big goals for this year seem a little more achievable.

Here’s the thing: Goal setting is an art, and setting a good goal does not come as easily as saying “I want to write a book this year”, or “I want to paint a masterpiece”. The truth is, even Di Vinci had a plan to achieve his success with the Mona Lisa. Achieving success with your goals takes preparing for success, and poor preparation ultimately leads to failure and disappointment. So with that out of the way, let’s get on with our 5 Step “smart” goal setting list.

Since we are a literary magazine, lets use the goal of “I want to be published” as an example, but keep in mind this list can be used for accomplishing any goal, big or small.
1 – S is for Specific :
In order to create a more thorough goal you need to be meticulous on specifying the parameters. Goals should be clear and be stated with intent of accomplishment. Sure, it’s great that you may understand where your final destination is, but you need to know which turns to take. You see, saying “I want to be published” is far too vague. Instead, your mission statement should sound something like this: “I want to have one piece of fiction published to the Black Bear Review”. Once you have the specifics of your goal figured out, you can move on to step two of five.

2 – M is for Measurable :
Measurable means there needs to be a tangible system for tracking and achieving your goal. To elaborate, measurable goals allow for the setter to keep tabs on their progress in regards to their end point. In doing so, you can provoke self esteem and motivation within your goal. For an author with a goal to be published, this could look something like writing a couple hundred words every morning, or putting aside an hour per day that is completely dedicated to writing.

3 – A is for Attainable :
More often than not, individuals will fail their goals simply due to the fact that they have bitten off more than they could chew. People can become overzealous when it comes to goal setting, and this often leads to failure. The best advice when it comes to attainability in goals is really quite simple – start small. In other words, instead of trying to publish four short stories, start by putting all of your energy into having one really good story publish. Absolutely ensure that your goal is in your power, and there is no reason why you could not conquer it.

4 – R is for Realistic :
Being realistic is similar to choosing an attainable goal, but it is more personal. This is where self reflection comes into play: Is the goal that you are choosing synonymous to your character? What obstacles will you have to overcome? Are you willing to prioritize your goal over other distractions and desires? It is important to have a clear understanding of how you will account for every little detail. Being realistic plans for the potential pit falls that may arise by strategizing before they appear.

5 –  T is for Timely :
The real world is chalk full of deadlines, which means that there is no room for procrastination. Your best work will be produced when you give yourself ample time to create it, not when you cram the night before it is due. You must create a tangible schedule for compiling and accomplishing the steps that will lead up to your goal. With that being said, a timeline should be flexible to account for any spontaneous setbacks that may occur. All in all, a timely goal should keep you accountable and on progress without overwhelming and intruding on the rest of your life.

Now with the use of all of these steps, we have successfully changed our initial goal from “I want to be published” to the following :
“I am going to have one of my short stories published to the Black Bear Review on January 17th by writing for one hour everyday at a flexible time to meet the needs of my current schedule” See how much better that sounds?

There you have it, five “smart” steps to ensure your success in whatever it is that you hope to do to make 2020 your best year yet. From all of us at the Black Bear Review, we truly hope that this year you achieve anything you put your heart to.

Black Bear


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