Cheryl Hollon on Goals

Hey friends! Liz here, happy to welcome our friend Cheryl Hollon back to the blog – with her own take on goal setting. Welcome, Cheryl!

Is everyone out there working on their new set of New Year’s Resolutions? 

Not me. Nope. I’ve given up New Year’s Resolutions.

Let me explain. At this time of year, most of us have a list of resolutions that read a bit like this:

Save Money


Lose Weight

Make New Friends

Find Love

Every January, I would bring out my programming and organizational skills and make sure each resolution was SMART. In other words, Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-Bound.

I would work like a fiend to set up those SMART goals by splitting them up into smaller tasks to be achieved monthly, weekly, daily – you get the drift. That worked well until about the middle of March when something would happen to send me off track. It was impossible to regain that early enthusiasm so I let them slide.

At that point I knew they had turned into DUMB goals, which stands for Dull, Unexciting, Mindless and Boring. The next thing I knew, time had overcome intention and it would be New Year’s again.

Now I have a new approach to achieve my self-improvement goals. I only set one goal for the year. That’s right, just one. And, even better, the goal is grandly anti-analysis. It doesn’t meet the SMART criteria at all. 

I started this about five years ago when I was trying to get an agent and struggling to write while working a demanding job. I found a book that turned on the light bulb for me. The book is The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. 

Getting to that ONE thing, that single right thing just might help me get that agent. I came up with WRITE EVERYDAY. That’s it. No word count targets. No totaling up time spent. Nothing else but simply to write every single day.

Last year’s goal was BE KIND. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not if you have a quick retort to almost any remark that, you can probably guess, might not be particularly kind. I wanted to fix that. I reminded myself in e-mails, conversations,  and especially in the middle of family drama to BE KIND. I’m a more thoughtful person this year because I thought more about what I said. 

This year I’m going to work on FOCUS. I have a tendency to be easily distracted and can start more than a dozen tasks without making much progress on any of them. By concentrating my focus on what really must be done – preferably ahead of schedule – I think I can achieve more tasks with less stress. 

So, that’s my method. If you were forced to choose only ONE goal for 2019 that would make your life better, what is it?

Cheryl Hollon is the author of the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries. She writes full-time after an engineering career designing and installing military flight simulators in England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Living the dream, she combines a love of writing with a passion for creating glass art in the small studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida. Cheryl is Past President of the Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

21 Thoughts

  1. I love that approach, Cheryl – and that lovely picture of you. Glad the method is working for you! Not sure what my single goal is, but I will give it some thought.

  2. Might I suggest “Take life as it comes”? My goal is to winnow down the waiting emails (currently 16,721but that is better than 17k).

  3. Thanks for the warm Wickeds welcome. Today’s word target is my FOCUS this morning. What’s yours?

  4. That is kind of what my resolutions was this year. It’s not a long list and I summed it up to just DO IT. My resolution is “do it”. I resolve to not put off for another day. Take that trip, tell those near to me how much they mean to me, read that book on the TBR list, speak to that newbie in town – just do it. We are not guaranteed tomorrow so I plan on making 2019 the best yet, step out of my comfort zone, try the new, relish the old and be all the “me” I can be.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. I love that — one of my work friends used to say that all the time. Engineers tend to dither a lot. He would get frustrated and say, “Let’s just do it.”

  5. I used to make lists of goals for the year. I don’t now, partly because I’m lazy and partly because the list was stressing me out.

    Your approach sounds like the “one-word goals” I’ve heard about recently. I think my word for 2019 would be PATIENCE.

    1. That single goal made the biggest difference to my writing process. I can see where I began to make ground after I started doing that.

  6. That’s a better approach than I usually take which is to have grand plans that quickly fall by the wayside when I forget about them a week later.

    1. I’ve used that approach with the same exact result. Apparently I can remember just one thing. LOL

  7. I’m with you. Being the list maker I am, I used to go to extreme lengths to organize myself for the year. The long list was always hanging over my head, waiting for me to start feeling like a guilty failure. Besides, if I really need to lose weight or exercise or save money there probably isn’t a magic day to start. This year I’ve decided to BE MORE PATIENT – in my face, in my head, in my actions. What I project to others affects how they react to me. So I’m taking a breath and thinking a little before I instantly speak or react.

  8. I love the book The One Thing! I read it last year and put it to good use! Thanks so much for visiting and for sharing such a thought provoking and encouraging post!

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