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goals

How to Get Up Early

It’s 4:27 a.m. and I’m sitting in front of my laptop working on a blog post — this blog post.

I am a firm believer in the saying “The early bird gets the worm.” I get up between 4 and 4:30 a.m. most days of the week. People often ask me how I manage to juggle blogging, freelancing, and running a business with working a full-time job, being a wife and trying to have a social life. And one of the secrets to my productivity is being an early riser.

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On Blogging, Business, and Running in the Rain

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I woke up Monday morning determined to get in a 2-mile run before the end of the day. Rainy days and a busy schedule had kept me from pounding the pavement for a few days and I’m trying to get back into the groove of running so I can register for a few big races next year.

The elements were against me. Thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time I knew it’d be pitch black before 6 p.m. and because of a little run-in a sports car had with my rear end back in 2008, I terrified of running at night. But I left work on time (I’m a teacher and can technically leave at 3:06 p.m. but rarely ever do) and made it home and changed into my running gear before 4 p.m.

But there was another problem. Those same clouds that had been raining on my parade for the past few days were threatening to do so again. I considered putting on one of my favorite fitness DVDs and giving up on my run but something inside rebelled against that idea.

So I headed out the door.

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5 Mistakes You’re Making When Setting Goals

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Most  people love setting goals and resolutions in January and I’m certainly in that number. At the start of a new year I always commit to pursuing lofty aspirations. But for years these goals would often be abandoned by April! Finally, I figured out what I was doing wrong. Chances are, you’re making many of the same mistakes.

On Wednesday, January 6, I hosted a goal-setting workshop for members of See Jane Write. I walked the women in attendance through my own goal-setting process and shared anecdotes about some of the mistakes I’ve made when goal-setting in the past.

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Here are five mistakes you may be making when setting goals:

1. You’re setting too many goals. When I was a teenager every December I would make a list of 99 things I wanted to do the following year — 99 things! Obviously, I never accomplished all of these. In fact, by spring I’d completely forgotten about most of the things on my list! I recommend setting about 3 to 5 major goals for the year. If you need help culling your list, remember that your goals should always be a reflection of your values. Don’t take on a goal just because someone told you it would be a good idea. Do what’s best for you and the life you want to create.

2. Your goals aren’t big and bold enough. Yes, your goals should be realistic. If your aspirations are too outlandish you might feel defeated from the start. But this doesn’t mean your goals should be small. They should ruffle feathers and raise eyebrows. Challenge yourself! Otherwise, you won’t be very motivated.

3. Your goals aren’t measurable and specific. Don’t simply say you want to be a more successful blogger or get in shape. What do these things look like? Do you want to earn a certain amount of money from your blog? Do you want to run a half marathon? Specificity will give you the direction you need.

4. You’re only setting long-term goals. One reason I didn’t accomplish many of goals of the past was simply because I got bored with them. If you know me well, you know I get bored with things VERY easily. But I realized that by breaking my 3 to 5 one-year goals into several 90-day goals I stayed excited about my pursuits. At the end of each quarter I could set new 90-day goals so I felt like I was taking on a shiny new project, but I was actually still working on the same one-year goals I set on January 1. These 90-day goals will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

5.  You’re not sweating the small stuff. While 90-day goals are great, you need to break down things even further. You need what I like to call momentum moves. These are things you do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis to help you accomplish the 90-day goals. So if you want to earn more money from your blog you’ll probably need to blog more. Your momentum move could be to take devote four hours each Sunday  to writing three blog posts for the week.

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If you need more help with goal-setting this year, consider enrolling in my new time management e-course How to Write and Have a Life. In this course, I will walk you through my goal-setting process and show you how setting goals in such a way will save you time and make you more productive.

 

*Cross-posted at WriteousBabe.com

 

4 Ways to Make 2014 Your Best Year Yet

Image by Dan Moyle via Flickr/Creative Commons

Happy New Year!

2013 was a big year for See Jane Write Birmingham. We hosted panel discussions on blogging and community journalism, publishing, and social media. We started Bloggers Who Brunch. And we launched an online magazine!

Even though 2013 was great, I want 2014 to be even better and not just for me, but for you too. Here are four ways you can help make 2014 your best year yet.

1. Set writing goals for the New Year. These goals will motivate and guide you throughout the year. If you need some inspiration check out the writing resolutions of some See Jane Write Magazine readers.

2. Develop helpful habits. I know you may be skeptical about making a New Year’s resolution. You may be thinking, “Been there. Done that. Didn’t work.” But let’s take a different approach this year. Instead of just drafting a list of lofty goals, decide on things you can do daily, weekly, and monthly that will help you accomplish those goals. By doing this you’re breaking down your big goals into small manageable steps. That’s exactly what I’m doing. You can read about my writing resolutions on SeeJaneWriteMagazine.com.

3. Find a writing accountability partner. As Natalie Goldberg states in her book Writing Down the Bones, writing is a communal act. We need someone in our lives to give us honest feedback and to hold us accountable for the goals that we set for our writing careers. My hope for the next See Jane Write event — a mixer set to be held Thursday, Jan. 9 at the Wine Loft — is that attendees will find a writing accountability partner for 2014. This mixer is free, but registration is required. Click here to sign up today.

4. Give back. While you should definitely take out more time for yourself this year to work on your writing, don’t forget to give back to others too. You can kick off the new year doing just that at the Serve and Strut Brunch, set for Saturday, Jan. 4. At this event you will enjoy a three-course meal, live entertainment and a chance to win door prizes and you will have the opportunity to give the gift of style. Attendees are asked to donate a pair of new or gently used women’s shoes which will be given to Birmingham-area women’s charities. Learn more about the event and its organizer, Cydni Robertson of ItsHerStrut.com, in this week’s edition of See Jane Write Magazine.

What are you goals for 2014?

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