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New Year with New Goals!

It’s that magical and dangerous time of year when I plan all my goals with the enthusiasm and ambition of a forgetful fish. I believe I can write a thousand books all while filming deeply engaging YouTube videos. Oh, and don’t forget raising my son.

I love the new year and all the possibilities it brings. I love imagining where I’ll be in a year. But it’s also a time when I overcommit and set myself up for failure.

In many ways, this year is no different. I have a lot of plans. Except I have a very important tool.

Finding the Right Motivation

Let me back up. I started doing Duolingo over the summer. Duolingo is a language-learning app. It’s really fun, and I highly recommend it. I’m learning Greek because it’s been on my list of places to visit for ages. One day I’ll get there. When I do, I’ll be able to say, “The coffee is pink,” in Greek. (I don’t know why that phrase keeps coming up in lessons. Maybe Greece is full of pink coffee? I hope to find out one day.)

I’ve done Duolingo for the last 148 days straight. I wish I could say that I’m super self-motivated, but that’s not why. The app sends me daily reminders to keep my streak going. That’s all I need to inspire me to do a lesson or two. I don’t want to break my streak. There’s something satisfying about watching the little counter on the app flip from 147 to 148 days. It shows I accomplished something. Even if that something was a five-minute Greek lesson.

So this year I’m channeling that motivation. I’m taking that desire to have a long streak and applying it to my writing. I made an elaborate spreadsheet. It could be argued that creating an elaborate spreadsheet took away precious writing time. But I’d argue that it will be an important tool for me this year.

Creating the Spreadsheet 

I took all of my big goal projects for the year and gave them word count targets. I’ll admit, I started a couple of these projects last year. For the most part, they’re new projects.

I want to blog regularly here as well as post on Medium. I want to up my YouTube game. YouTube is a constant goal that I struggle with. I film videos and then talk myself out of posting them. It’s easy to overthink and convince myself that what I created doesn’t make sense or that people will hate it. Someone will probably hate it, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share it.

I made a tab for each month on the spreadsheet and put the projects across the top and the days along the side. I grayed out all the weekends. I want to take time off every now and then, even though I may write here and there on weekends.

I made monthly word count goals for each target and the spreadsheet calculates what percentage of each goal I’ve accomplished. I love the way it breaks down projects to give me clear targets.

Keeping an Open Mind

Every month I’ll reevaluate this system to see if it’s still working. I want to make sure the goals are still possible and the spreadsheet is still motivational instead of demoralizing. For now, I’m excited to see what the year holds and how many words I can write.

What are your goals this year? How do you track them? Please share in the comments below!

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