HELLO 2019

The first week of a new year is like pressing a “Restart” button. Maybe we didn’t reach all—or any—of the goals we made last January, but this year will be different.


This year I will lose weight. I will write 4 books, and, of course, those stories will (1) be picked up by an agent who will sell them to a New York publisher; (2) make best seller lists; and (3) earn me gazillions of bucks. Oh, and I will be healthy and happy every day of the year, and in my spare time I will solve the world’s problems.

All right, so maybe some (all) of those goals are impossible to achieve, but it is good to have goals. However, statistically, most goals are given up after two weeks. Most, but not all.  SMART goals can be achieved.


I heard that acronym the other day. The letters stand for…

S Specific
M Measureable
A Achievable
R Relevant
T Time-bound

Here is how I interpret the above.

SPECIFIC: You can’t simply say you want to lose weight. You need to be specific. Do you want to lose five pounds? Or is your goal to lose 10 pounds? In my case, my primary goal isn’t about losing weight, though I certainly need to, but about writing. So my specific goal is:

I want to write the 4th book in my P.J. Benson Mystery series

MEASUREABLE: I need a way to measure my success (or lack of) at the end of 2019. So, how long will this book be? Will completing a rough draft fulfill my goal? Or do I want the book published by the end of 2019? What I’m setting for myself is:

I will complete 80k or more words, and have the manuscript ready to send to an editor for a final edit.

ACHIEVABLE: Now I need to consider the realities of my life. My husband and I bought a boat last summer and we plan on taking either several trips on Lake Michigan or one long trip to places unknown. Maybe I need to reconsider my measurable goal.

I will have approximately 80k or more words written as a rough draft of the 4th P.J. Benson Mystery.

RELEVANT: Okay, now I need to consider how relevant writing this book is to my life. Do I really need to write it? If not, it will be easy for me, some time around July to say, “Oh, forget it.” But actually, in this case, I feel this book is quite relevant. I’ve taken P.J. and Wade from total strangers to a married couple expecting a child. I really need to complete the cycle for my characters, my fans, and me.

I will work out the plot of this 4th book so my fans will be satisfied and the series will feel complete. (Of course, I can always change my mind about this being the 4th and last book, but that’s another year and another goal.)

And finally…

TIME-BOUND: Looking back at how It’s important to be reasonable in the amount of time I’m giving myself to achieve this goal. I feel one year is reasonable. I’m not expecting the book to be published by the end of the year or even at a stage where it would be ready to be published. If I achieve more than I expect, great. If not, I won’t be disappointed and there’s a good chance I will have the book at a stage where I can get it published in 2020.

I can do the above in a year.

SMART works for all goals. Think about it

And good luck.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to HELLO 2019

  1. Thanks for this, Maris. It makes a lot of helpful sense.

  2. Sue Myers says:

    Super plan! I’m going to follow your lead!. Happy New Year!

    Sue Myers

  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    I like this. It’s a good way to make goals realistic and achievable. Too often I set goals too high and then when I don’t complete them, I feel I’ve failed. I’m going to think about my goals for this year using this method.

    • Maris Soule says:

      The “realistic” idea often gets me, Lucy. My goal may sound great, but will have really have the time, ability, or well-power to achieve it?

  4. Enid says:

    My goal is to keep on keeping on! No huge plans for anything except watching my two eldest granddaughters graduate from high school in June. One Calif, one Virginia. Equals one airplane round ticket!! Summer in DVille….
    Finish Grand Jury in July. Can’t do another year in a row.
    Health is thankfully still fine. That’s the sum of things around here.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Enid, you have a full (and busy) year ahead of you. Also sound like a lot of fun and positive events. I wish we could manage a get-together, but I don’t see that happening on my side, so here’s to sharing a cyber glass of wine.

  5. Very good suggestions. I’m just posting my own resolutions as well!