Looking Forward to 2017 Plus Insights from Cheryl Strayed’s TED Talk

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Goals for 2017

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. ~ Zig Ziglar

Call me inept at living in the moment, but I’m already thinking about 2017.

I know, I know. Christmas is weeks away, and here I am thinking about what I’ll accomplish by December 2017. I haven’t finalized my goals, but I’m thinking about them and perhaps by discussing my old goals I’ll get both of us thinking about our new goals.

That’s my hope.

A Look Back at 2016

Actually, last year was the first year that I sat down and wrote goals for myself.

As I look back, it was a good way to focus my mental energy and decide on the books and other projects I wanted to tackle. I named the projects, gave myself deadlines, and kept track of when I accomplished them.

Here’s the list under the category of books that I accomplished:

I also completed my first email course (not on my original list of goals), and for Joel Friedlander I wrote a hefty Social Media Toolkit for Authors complete with templates and cheat sheets. Also, I’ll soon finish an audio course I’ve been working on with Howard VanEs. The course wasn’t originally on my list either.

Under courses that I paid for, I easily finished Nick Stephenson’s course, Your First 10,000 Readers, but have yet to finish another, which will remain unnamed for now. The way I figure it, I still have time to meet the goal.

I also worked on landing pages for my website. I created a landing page for my social media audits, which includes testimonials, and I finally added some fun facts on my About page.

In addition, I wanted to diversify where my books are available for sale. So I joined Join other retailers, including Kobo, Smashwords, and iBooks.

There were some unplanned changes in 2016. I let go of podcasting. My sound issues lingered and I didn’t have the energy or want to spend additional resources or time trying to fix them. So after I let the podcast go and Joel Friedlander suggested I started a webinar series, Conversations with Frances, I jumped on the idea. The series began with a bang with interviews of Joanna Penn, Joel, and Jane Friedman. I have an excellent lineup in 2017 as well, in case you’re wondering.

I wanted to produce a media kit and put it on my website. Somehow, that project slipped through the cracks. So I need to add that goal to 2017.

Another goal was to have a new author photo taken. If you look at my About page, you’ll see one of the new photos I chose.

I’m not sure what my list of goals will look like in 2017. I know I want to finish my historical fiction novel that I started long ago. (I started it in 2000. Can you believe it?) I’ll use Joanna Penn’s course to help me complete it at long last.

There’s another social media book I want to write and an accompanying course I want to create.

The truth is, I need to give 2017 more thought. Last year I devoted a couple of hours to decide on a goal list, and I need to repeat that process for my new list of targeted projects.

5 Tips on Establishing Goals for 2017

Now it’s your turn. What will your goals be for 2017. How will you derive at them? I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Set aside some time to dream. Go to a park, a coffee shop, or wherever you can have some uninterrupted time to just dream about 2017. Thank about what you want to do or how you want next year to be different than 2016.
  2. Think about what  motivates you. In my case, writing is what I love to do so my goals were heavy on writing. Do you want to try a new genre? Will you decide to write a new series? Will you work on box sets or audio projects? Try to determine what is most exciting for you.Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.
  3. Be specific with your goals and decide on deadlines. What if you miss a deadline? That’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. (I still haven’t finished a course from early 2016 but I know I will.) Just decide on a more realistic deadline and try to stick with it.
  4. Write down your goals. I find that whether it’s a grocery list or a to-do list for work, if I don’t write the tasks down I don’t finish them. So once you give yourself some time to just imagine what you’d like to accomplish in 2017 write down your goals. In my case, I typed up my goals and posted them on my office door to keep me focused.
  5. Don’t give up. Just take your goals one-by-one, knowing that if you remain focused, you will accomplish them.

Cheryl Strayed’s TED Talk

I recently listened to a TED Talk featuring author Cheryl Strayed. She said, “What we accomplish is built on what we failed at.” I think she’s right. If you look at successful entrepreneurs, it seems they all underwent one or more failures before rising to their current level of success. Failures can be like rungs on a ladder that help us rise to the peak we’re trying to reach. It’s odd, isn’t it?

Strayed also said during her TED Talk that “our deepest treasures are buried in the crappy detritus of our lives.”

So I failed at podcasting, but at least I tried. I flew to Georgia to learn how to podcast, spent money on three mics and other equipment and programs, and recorded and re-recorded sessions until finally, I let it go. And I believe that I let it go to open my life to new experiments, such as the webinar series, which, by the way, I enjoy producing so much more.

I produced more books than I expected and it was fun. I also took on a new blogging gig with BookWorks, which wasn’t on my original list but came as a gift.

In some ways, the goal sheet was just a starting point for my professional life this year. And I think that’s as it should be. Whether you formally write your goals for 2017 on an Excel spreadsheet, a Post-It, or don’t write them down at all, at least give them some thought.

As Cheryl Strayed says, we’re all ordinary and extraordinary. So think about 2017. I wish you an extraordinary year.

If you’d like to see Cheryl Strayed’s TED Talk, be sure to watch it here.


Authors: Not Sure What to Tweet? Try These 44 Tweets Today by Frances Caballo, AuthorThe author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks, and blogger at Bowker’s Self-Published Author. She’s written several social media books including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

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