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Establishing and Keeping Goals - Phoenix Writers
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phoenixwriters
phoenixtheory
Establishing and Keeping Goals
Every New Year, we make resolutions that we do not keep. As students, we make promises to practice more, pass a certain speed by a certain date, or attend class even when we're writing badly. As reporters, we make promises to increase our speed and clarity, to set aside time to concentrate on realtime, and to improve our time management. We tell ourselves that we're going to meet these goals, and we get excited by the ideas. We might even stick to it for a while, but most of the time the excitement will fade and so will the dedication required to actually meet the goals.

The idea of a goal is to improve in a certain area, and the key is self-motivation. Within your mind, you tell yourself that this time will be better, you're going to work on it every day. When you don't, you fail and then repeat it all from step one. Within your mind, it's just you and the goal. In that way, it’s easier to let it slip a bit.

As simple as it sounds, you need to write your goals down on paper. When you do that, it makes them more real, more concrete. Post it where you can see it every day, so it will be a constant reminder to work towards meeting it. Post it where others can see it as well, and it’s even more of a motivation. No person likes to fail, but failure has a greater sting if it’s public knowledge. Put it on your calendar, litter your house with sticky notes, or put a note on the top of your machine. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself driven.

Another thing to keep in mind when setting a goal is make sure it is realistic. To say that I’m going to take my notes from 95% accuracy up to 99% accuracy in one month isn’t all that reasonable. I’m sure it can be done, but why make it any harder on yourself?

Instead, extend your goals out a little ways beyond what you think is achievable. There will always be things in your life you cannot control: illnesses, sick children or partners, being overloaded at work, swamped with deadlines, etc. You need to make allowances for things like that so in the event of an unachieved goal, you won’t beat yourself up over something you couldn’t help.

Remember, setting goals for yourself is wonderful. It’s working towards them that is the hard part.

Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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