Three Keys to Setting Effective Goals

Hello Everyone!  Today’s post comes from the newly launched Life List Club blogroll and is written by Science Fiction writer, Gene Lempp.  The Life List Club is a group of writers and readers connecting through the support they provide each other on achieving their goals.  You can check out Gene’s Life List here.  And you can read my guest blog over at Marcia Richard’s blog today, it’s all about roller skating and work-life balance, which of course, go together!

I have to brag that Gene is the first guest post on the ol’ Witkins’ Happiness Project and I couldn’t be happier.  He is always so supportive and generous with his comments, you couldn’t ask for a better friend.  So without further ado, I’ll hand the blogging podium over to Gene with some wise words on setting effective goals.  Thanks, Gene!

Gene Lempp, Life List Club Member since Yesterday!

 Three Keys to Setting Effective Goals

Goals, we all have them. Yet, so often we refuse to express our goals, to ourselves or others, out of fear that we won’t be able to achieve them. How do I know this?  Well, because I’ve faced that same fear and after years of letting it stop me finally said “enough”, set some goals and am now achieving things I never dreamed possible, such as guest blogging today on one of the best blogs around.

Here are three steps we can take that will help us to achieve our goals and find a bit of happiness for ourselves in this oft-times crazy world. Don’t laugh, but I used to run a Pokemon league for a hobby store and some of my kids had a driving desire to earn the respect of their peers by becoming Pokemon Champions. These kids were passionate about achieving their goal and most had plans that they trusted would lead them to victory. Here is what I learned while teaching these excellent children.

Find Your Need

We first have to recognize that we have a need. I’m not talking about basic physical needs like food or breathing, but one that requires a goal to achieve, something long-term and personally fulfilling.
We all have things we want, things we desire, things that we’d love to have. Our need could be anything from saving to buy a house to gaining financing for college or, like the kids in my league, trying to collect every Pokemon card ever made. The point is each of these will take more than a day or a simple action to achieve, which means, we need a plan.

Set a Goal/Have a Plan

Ah, back to the fearsome goal we go. Take a deep breath with me, it will be okay. What is a goal, after all, but a plan focused on achieving something of value? For some, like the kids in my league, that may be winning at a card tournament to gain the respect of their peers. For others it could be moving a personal desire forward, like writing is for me.
If you aren’t sure how to achieve your goal, find people that have already achieved the thing you’re aiming for and pay attention to their advice and actions. By studying successful examples we can find ways to set effective goals and advance towards the things that will improve our lives.

Empower Your Passion

The third key to setting effective goals is go “all in”. This is the heart of passion. When we choose passion for something, nothing can deter us from pursuing it. Passion is what drives us through dark days when it seems we will never arrive at the destination we desire.

The kids in my Pokemon league would talk incessantly about the cards they had and the ones they were convinced would allow them to win a tournament, if only they could find them. They struggled through their losses, learned and adjusted again and again, but never gave up trying to achieve their goal. Nor did they ever give up faith that they were capable of reaching their goal of becoming the best. And you know what; some of them did achieve the pinnacle and gained the respect of their peers by claiming the title of champion.

It is only when we fail to try to that we’ve truly failed. Setting goals is what saves our dreams.

I’d like to express my deepest thanks to Jess for inviting me over to guest post today. It actually fulfills a goal I had set for this year. I encourage all of you to consider the things you desire in life and find ways to achieve them. There is nothing more fulfilling than the satisfaction of attaining a goal.

Gene Lempp is a science fiction writer pursuing publication. He blogs about the uses of history, archaeology and myth in his Designing from Bones series. Gene lives in Northern Illinois and is a friend of squirrels and trees. “Only the moment seems eternal and in a moment everything will change.”

32 responses

  1. […] to us from sci-fi, fantasy and horror writer Sonia G. Medeiros. You can also see my (first ever) guest post on Jess Witkins’ Happiness Project on what the children of Pokemon taught me about setting goals. For those expecting Blog Treasures, […]

  2. If we fail to try, we’ve truly failed. Thank you, Gene, for reminding why I do what I do, even in the face of rejection letters and bad writing days.

    1. Hallelujah Patti! I hear ya on that one! 🙂

  3. Hi Patricia!

    The writing path can be a long and lonely one which is why it having friends for support is so important. Having writers in your support system is key since we understand the struggles of our “art” more than say Aunt Minnie, who loves you, but is more interested in whether you are eating well or not.

    Glad I could add some hope and peace to your day 🙂

    1. I had an Aunt Mona like that. 😀 She also told me I was going to be the tallest person in my family. I’m the shortest, and she was barely 5 feet herself. *shakes head*

  4. Wise words. We do need to set our goals and be passionate about them. I know how easy it is to let an unspoken wish slide. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Sonia! It is truly an easy thing to talk ourselves out of our dreams, which is why finding a great group of understanding friends is so important. Seize your passions and never let go 🙂

      1. Carpe diem!

  5. Jess, thank you for hosting Gene.

    Gene, you’ve hit upon so many of my fears (and in the exact way I express them). Perhaps this is why we get along so well. The writing for me is a hope that I can finally achieve something I’m proud of. I don’t tell people IRL because I don’t want them to know about it in case I do fail. If I’m trying, though, I’ve not failed yet. Thanks for those encouraging words on a day I woke up sort of depressed.

    1. Hey Catie! Glad I could brighten your day 🙂

      I think there are many reasons why we get along so well and I’m very glad that we do. Catie, you have an amazing mind and are an excellent friend!

      There is a saying: “The road of success is paved with the stones of failure”. No one can put down a road with a single stone. So we place them one by one, pressing ever forward and knowing that one day the road we labor to build will lead us to that wonderful city named Success.

    2. It was entirely my pleasure! Love all the inspiration going on around here!

    3. It’s scary to tell ppl IRL that we’re writers. There are some folks in my life who don’t even bother to hide their scoffing. LOL. And there are those who cheer me on too (thankfully more of the cheerers than the scoffers). I tell myself that I’ve already succeeded at being a writer. As for publishing…my odds increase dramatically as long as I stick with it and am willing to learn (that from Kristen Lamb’s blog on the odds of being a published author). How can we really fail if we are doing something we love? 😀

  6. A timely post- I tend to not only set my goals too high but I set too many of them at once. Thanks for the reminder of healthy goal setting.

    1. Glad to help out Alica! I have a tendency to press my “plate” to the limit as well, but I’ve always felt that setting my goals high is a good thing. While we made not achieve everything at least we strive to do so and grow during the experience. Thanks for the comment.

    2. Good point Alica. It’s an easy thing for all of us to do, set too many goals to realistically achieve with our best commitment. Keep your big goals, you shouldn’t ever give up, just make small steps or points of progress to follow along the way. Like Gene suggested, know what you want, figure out what will get you there and track that progress so you see yourself (and even those pesky failures) as growth towards your dreams. Never give up!

  7. @alica Check out the Life List Club where we can all work together helping each other reach our goals!

    Jess & Gene, very wise advice and a perfect analogy! We should also not think of ourselves as failures, but only some of our attempts. Not everything we try willl work out the way we’d like, so we try a new avenue. Thanks Gene for a great post!

    1. Thanks Marcia, appreciate the compliment 🙂

  8. That is a great guest post! Was it your first one, you say? You’re a natural. 😛

    So… I love the Pokemon simile and of course I’m not laughing. I like unconventional. Last week I was sitting in a bus thinking: if only I had read more comic books as a child. As if I needed even more bullies on my case, lol.

    Anyway, you post makes me think of the community of writers I have found myself in: both on twitter and the blog-o-sphere. I feel like this is what was missing: a supportive collective of like-minded (and kinda wacky) writers to set goals WITH. Because it’s no fun when you do all this alone. Not impossible but not fun…

    And I especially like the third step: going all in. That magical ingredient! You know what, I believe that I have it and I thank you for reminding of what matters most. It’s a great post to read just before I go to bed. Thank you both and have fun writing and setting goals. 🙂

    1. What lovely comments lynmidnight! Hope you join us to share your own goals so we can cheer you on! I love hearing you say you believe you have that magical ingredient! How true, and how eloquent! 🙂

      1. Thanks for the beautifully written comment and compliments Violeta 🙂

        The road is definitely a lonely ride for every writer, but imagine doing it in a convertible, down a long stretch of highway with good friends. Radio playing great tunes and quirky fun conversations…just a good time and all heading for the same destination.

  9. […] Life List Club. Yesterday, I hosted the fantastic Sonia G. Medeiros while guest blogging over at Jess Witkins’ Happiness Project. You can find Sonia’s post under Recent Posts (right below my picture) titled “Commit […]

  10. Well said, Gene: “It is only when we fail to try to that we’ve truly failed. Setting goals is what saves our dreams.”

    I’m still in awe of your quote on your profile: “Only the moment seems eternal and in a moment everything will change.”

    1. Thanks Lyn, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  11. Great, great guest post, Gene! Thanksf or hosting him, Jess!

    1. Thanks for the compliment Tiffany!

  12. Talking about fulfilling goals fulfills a goal? That’s so meta, Gene. Or is the correct word existential? Maybe my goal will be to look that up. Great post!

    1. LOL! Thanks Mark. Guess I should have clarified that statement. Getting to guest post fulfilled the goal. Awesome comment!

  13. Ready, aim, fire! Get ready by finding out your need. Aim by setting goals. Fire would be the passion for the action.

  14. Great post, Gene. I don’t talk about writing to very many people, like Catie said. Most of the people I’ve told scoff or don’t get it; therefore, most of my writing goes in a file drawer and stays there.
    However, I realized that I don’t/can’t stop–that’s my need. Your point about finding people who have achieved the same goal in order to follow their advice is such a good one. In just a few weeks diving into the writers’ world online, I’m impressed with the breadth and depth of the community I’ve found.

    1. Isn’t it awesome?! I immediately fell in love with this community too. It’s been a key component of why I continue to write and have changed many things about my day to day life because WRITING has become the big picture. It’s not about one book anymore, who wants to be a one hit wonder? It’s about making this a career if you really want to be a writer. That’s been one of my biggest wake up calls and most rewarding realizations. Thanks for sharing in the Life List Club! Keep writing, you’ve got a group of readers right here!

  15. […] Gene Lempp @ Jess Witkin’s Happiness Project […]

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