On Setting Yourself Goals

There’s been a lot on my mind this week. I found out that I hadn’t taken all of my owed leave (for my job with The Reader Organisation) so I hastily arranged cover for my read aloud reading groups, tied up a few loose ends and sorted out some days off. Very handy they’ll be too because I’m travelling to London tomorrow (Monday 8th December) for the launch of my poetry pamphlet at The Poetry Café. Yes, my poetry pamphlet is here, it’s in my hands, I can stop worrying that it’s never going to happen. I can place a tick on my List Of Things  I Want To Do.

and while in the realm of To Do Lists, Plans, Goals, Aims, Ambitions, Hopes, Dreams…..I was very taken with a new product –  Passion Planner – which has been shared around social media this week.  You will see that is a planner which integrates, not only your daily appointments, but also your goals, to-do lists and there’s even space to write what you’re thankful for, plus space to creatively doodle.  Although I love the concept of this product, I will probably create my own version of it using a simple planner or diary.  I’m sure I’m not alone in having form for this.  I tend to write out my goals and plans somewhere in my diary to remind myself what I’m aiming for.  Here is a snapshot of something I wrote at the beginning of 2011.

2011 diary

Laugh with me at my naiveté in imaging that it would “take 2 years to write 30 – 40 publishable poems”.  The realty is it’s taken me four or five years to write about 22.  I’m also smiling at how I imagined I could “make money” from entering poetry competitions.  I have made some money from comps, by the way, and I know that this is possible, but isn’t probably to be recommended if your family are feeling peckish and you have no other sources of income.

But in spite of the laughter, there are, nonetheless, two things I wrote here which have more or less come true.  My first aim in 2011 was to “write a collection of poetry.”  OK, I haven’t, yet, written a full collection of 40 – 60 poems but I have written, and had published, a collection of 22 poems.  My other clear goal, documented here, is to “create a website for poems that have had any success” (“success” I defined then as poems being noticed in a competition or being published somewhere).  It was shortly after this that I set up And Other Poems, an online anthology of poems which has turned out to be for other people’s poems, not my own.  I didn’t set out to be an editor but through And Other Poems editorial experience is what I gained, and very valuable it’s been to me, too.

What am I getting at here?  I don’t know if it’s the time of the year, nearly the end of 2014, or because another birthday (December 13th) is fast approaching but I’m very pre-occupied with thinking about what I want to do with my life in 2015 and beyond.  I worry about sharing my goals in public, surely it’s setting myself up for ridicule and failure.  But if I don’t make them public, have I truly committed myself to them or am I kidding myself?

I wouldn’t mind your thoughts about this.  Do you set yourself goals?  Do my keep them private or share them?  Do you jot them down and carry them about with you?  And have you set yourself a goal and then achieved it?

24 thoughts on “On Setting Yourself Goals”

  1. Enjoyed this post — I love lists of dreams, whether realistic or not — I think our dreams broaden our humanity and make the everyday feel exciting. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to fall short of a goal, either; people are quick to label the wildest hopes as naive, but really, what other kind of hopes should we want?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, not being afraid of falling short is so important! It’s good to have a chuckle at yourself, though (just not that keen when other people do it to me!). Thanks for such an encouraging and supportive reply, T, I really appreciate it. Best wishes, Josephine x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post, something I too have been thinking about recently, I think it is the time of the year. A magical time of year and It is wonderful to look ahead and make plans new positive plans for 2015. Something I really believe in as well, is as soon as you make your new year plans they begin to happen, and you should be making them happen too, why wait until January?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is brave to share your goals publicly but I’m sure it will help to sustain your momentum, I’ve blogged in the past about my new year resolutions etc. but haven’t always stuck to them (especially the perpetual one to lose weight!).I’ve been struggling to get back into writing again so I was toying with setting myself word count targets and your post has encouraged me to set out a timescale. Good luck with your goals! 🙂


    1. Thanks for popping in, Helen and thanks for your encouragement. I’m not brave enough to share ALL of my goals but perhaps some of them. It’s quite a good time of year to think about what you’d like to do in the year/s ahead. Best of luck with your plans! 🙂


  4. I would love to have multiple goals, but only ever manage one at a time. That is, I can only concentrate on one project – if I leave it for something else, I never come back. Acceptance is all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like this, Nina. I know that I am frequently overwhelmed by multiple projects. I think that it is possible to have goals in different areas of your life, though, but probably not too many areas (!). Thanks for commenting.


  5. Josephine, your latest blog post reminds me that I wrote a list of goals when I turned 50, entitled ‘Things to do before I’m 60.’ I even bought a lovely Paperchase scrapbook, to collate evidence of my achievements along the way. I’m embarrassed to say that, apart from stuffing a few bits and pieces between its covers, it remains unused. The list did include ‘become a published poet,’ ‘achieve job satisfaction’ and ‘create a labour-saving garden.’ With regard to the first and second, I’m especially pleased with my progress thus far. As for the garden, my hip decided that it needed paid-for-by-the-hour muscle power!


    1. Jayne, I like your idea of setting ten year goals. I read somewhere that people tend to over-estimate what they can do in one year but under-estimate what they could achieve in a decade. I also like your idea of a scrapbook and I certainly enjoy the right kind of stationery for goal-setting! Thanks, as ever, for commenting 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this post, Josephine, it’s just what I needed. With my youngest having started school last year, I set myself the goal of seeing whether I could be a writer (in public, I mean – in my head I already was)! I’ve had some success with poetry and prose, though it’s the prose that tends to make the money! I found a magazine that was willing to pay for articles on subjects that I know something about, which I consider to be extremely lucky since there aren’t many human rights magazines on the market. I look back on the last year with amazement, given where I was twelve months ago – now I have poems in Brittle Star and an anthology by a small publisher, and I’ve even done a poetry reading! But it’s easy to rest on what you’ve already achieved and forget to set new goals, and this kind of profession seems to need those goals to give structure and purpose to how you work. So yes, it’s definitely time to look forward to next year. Thanks again, and I hope very much that your launch goes well tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Josephine, your openness about the whole process of getting work together and putting it out there is so encouraging. Best wishes for your launch tomorrow at the Poetry Cafe. Unfortunately, I can’t be there but will order a copy direct from Tall Lighthouse.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved this post. Setting out some goals in public is scary but I find I’m more likely to aim for them once they are out there, even if I don’t achieve them! I do set some targets (some appear year on year!) and yes, it is that time to year. I look back and look forward. Sometimes progress can seem so painfully slow and all the doubts creep in. Then something good happens and life is great! You certainly have something to feel good about with your pamphlet – enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think sharing your goals publicly in the way you have done is exactly the way to share them. It’s creating positivity, and I do believe words have power, so writing them with pen on paper and then posting them electronically really adds depth to their development. There is a great book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne which encourages writing down your goals.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dearest Josephine !
    Hope the ball reaches the back of the net
    for you every time !
    Thanks again for everything.
    About to clamber my way around paypal
    to reach your pamphlet !

    S x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you for such a funny and charming comment, Stephen! I’m so pleased to see that your work is getting the recognition it deserves. I’m delighted that you’re buying my pamphlet. I’ve bought from tall-lighthouse’s website and it’s very straightforward and efficient but if you have any difficulties, let me know and I’ll send you a pamphlet from home. Thank you, again! Best wishes, J x 🙂


  11. Just an end-of-the-year thankyou. You put two of my poems on your poem blog. More important, you turned down two others. Theat’s what I needed and need. And you are absurdly generous with your time. Look after it. x

    Liked by 1 person

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