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New Year Goal-Setting for Writers

6 January 2011 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See the original story on AboutFreelanceWriting.com

The new year brings new goals and new promises.

It’s the time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the past year, release regret or disappointment over goals not achieved, and start to dream again for the coming year.

One way I review and create goals is by creating visionboards and mind maps. As a writer, you can use visionboards and mind maps to create long-term dreams, short-term goals, inner qualities and concrete results. You can use them for your writing, entrepreneurial and personal goals.

Visionboards are visual collages of what you would like to manifest in the world. Also known as treasure maps and dream boards, they were popularized by the movie, “The Secret.” But I had been doing them for years before the movie, and I can honestly say they work. I like to use them for long-term intentions.

A variation of visionboards is mind maps, invented by Tony Buzan. They provide visual reminders that also work very well. I draw mind maps as a way to set medium-term goals every six months to a year.

Long-term goals

A visionboard i s made up of images usually cut from magazine pages. I like to use these for long-term dreams and goals. One visionboard, shows a woman wearin g a straw hat and sarong stretched in front of a laptop computer. In the background is a beautiful beach, ocean and sky. She is surrounded by tropical plants and flowers. Above her is a check written to my name, with a monthly dollar amount.

This board hangs on my wall behind my desk. Now, when I go to the beach in San Diego or Hawaii with my laptop and earn money writing, I think of how I am fulfilling this vision.

Another visionboard I created consists solely of dollar bills and deposit slips. The brightly-colored bills are from various sources inard is excellent for reinforcing my beliefs about being a wealthy writer entrepreneur.

I put this one up on another wall in my office. Within four months, I did in fact receive a contract for the smallest amount listed. In the last few years, have continued to sign contracts in other amounts and anticipate more in the future. But given my progress and new business direction, I plan to update this one, with new projects and new amounts.

Medium-term goals

I use mind maps for medium-term goals – six months to one year. Mind map drawings are based on the way the mind works – a main concept in the center that radiates outward. They look sort of like brain cells, with nuclei and tentacles. They provide a quick way to visualize main goals and subgoals.

I usually use children’s drawing pads and colored pens to create these mind maps. The act of drawing unleashes my creative juices, while the colors help imprint the goals in my mind. I use one page for each type of goal.

For my personal life, my goals include spirituality, family, relationships, health, wealth, education and fun. Some years, I add community, money, travel, or adventure, depending on my priorities.

For my writing business, I have goals in areas such as clients, revenue, sales, marketing, systems, technology and professional training. For journalism, I might list specific publications or types of stories I’d like to write.

In addition to action goals, I sometimes also write down inner qualities I want to cultivate, such as “trust” my life process or “cherish” my clients. Internal qualities can be just as important as external action. Both are types of goals.

I use a calendar to turn these long- and medium-term goals into short-terms goals. These then become specific daily tasks that support my vision.

Review Your Goals

In order for goals to manifest, it’s important to review them regularly. Some change. Some are no longer relevant. And some require more patience and intention.

But visionboards and mind maps are a great way to keep your targets fresh in your mind. The best part is when you accomplish those goals. You can tick them off and smile. Job well done.

How do you track your goals? Do you find that your goals happen more quickly when you write them down?

Helen Kaiao Chang is a ghostwriter, editor and journalist. She can be reached at www.ghostwriter-needed.com.

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang

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