2021 goals: Think BIGGER

As 2020 has shown us, everything you can plan for your year can be undone in the blink of an eye. And yet we all still need to keep moving forward, doing our best, and setting goals as we go. How does one reasonably set goals, then, as we head into an uncertain new year?

My newest strategy involves embracing the Deliberately Unobtainable Goal.

You’ve undoubtedly read tons of articles touting the value of S.M.A.R.T. goals, with some variation on Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely as each of the acronym’s letters. But what if you were to nix the concept of Attainability as a core measure of your goals?

“Attainability” has, for me, always been a rather nebulous concept. As a writer, many of the things involved in the publishing process after the writing is complete are actually quite out of my control, so the idea of trying to set goals that are “attainable” has always seemed slightly meaningless. How long will it take to find an agent? That depends on lots of variables, including a bit of luck, a dash of charm, and good timing. The same goes for other questions like “How long will it take to find a publisher for my work?” or “When will I write a bestseller?”

If I don’t have concrete time frames to plug into the standard goal equation, the equation doesn’t work. So let’s scrap the equation and try something different. Let’s embrace the unknown, and think bigger.

Toss attainability out the window and pick an outlandish goal instead. Something huge. Something you don’t think you’ll ever be able to do, not in a million years.

Then, put it on your To Do list.

This is the kind of thinking that inspires me, much more than “achievable” timelines. It’s the reason why I’ve decided to join author Charlie Knight in an unreasonable quest to write One Million Words in 2021.

If you break the goal down by month, that’s approximately 83,334 words per month. Broken down by day, it’s about 2,740 words per day. That is a lot of words, even for a professional writer with no day job, writing seven days a week, with no breaks!

It’s daunting, and it’s not Attainable by any normal S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting standards. But I’m going for it anyway, not because I expect to hit the goal, but – much like my walking goal of virtually journeying to Neptune – because I want to see how close I can get.

The aim, here, is to see how many words I can write in a year, if I count everything I’m writing. Journaling, blog posts, notes towards stories, actual stories – everything counts! (The only thing I don’t intend to count are my social media posts, since those tend to come out of blog posts and are therefore repurposed words rather than fresh new ones.)

I’ve done this before, with the aim of writing 100,000 words in a year, and it boosted my writing productivity immensely. I look forward to experiencing a similar boost in 2021, counting my words toward the one million mark.

As they say: whether you think you’ll succeed or fail, you’re right. So why not indulge in some big picture positive thinking, aiming for the moon? Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Join us!

Join the #OneMillionWords crew of star-gazers and Deliberately Unobtainable Goal-setters using the hashtag on social media. You can follow me @buttontapper on Twitter or @LauraRobertsRomance on Instagram, and be sure to follow @CKnightWrites, the founder and instigator, to learn more about this big, audacious goal and how to achieve it!

One Comment

  • Sandra Yeaman

    I like it. I haven’t even begun to put together my SMART goals. That’s on my list for 2021, to prove I am serious about finishing my wip and amping up my editing work. Thanks for the challenge.