The Road to Success

curvy road ahead sign They say make resolutions. But others say most resolutions fail so don’t make resolutions, make goals. Make long term goals. No, make short term goals. Not only that, they tell you how you must make goals. And each person has their own rules. You could get whiplash from adjusting your plan. Arg! So which way is the road to success?

Clarity First

I’m not telling you to make or not make resolutions. Heck, if not setting goals works for you, go for it! But if you set goals or resolutions last year and you did not get the results you wanted, stop. Do not make another goal or resolution. At least not until after you get some clarity. Clarity about those two things takes precedence over setting goals.

Make a Plan

But, you can know who you are and where you want to go, and still get lost on the trip. If you didn’t meet last year’s goals or resolutions, examine why. It’s imperative that you know why those things didn’t work before you make your list for next year. If you had a long trip to make to a specific location, would you take off and hope you’d get to your destination? No, you’d at least look at a map. You’d choose a route, plan how long it would take, prepare the car, etc. So, think of your resolutions or goals as a road trip. Look at what you had planned for last year. What detours or rest stops did you take and why?

Actions You Can Control

Were your goals dependent upon others? For example, a goal of going to the gym with my husband or best friend is a goal that hinges on someone else’s cooperation. If my goal had been to have a Big Six Publisher publish my book by the end of the year, that’s a goal I cannot control. I can’t make my best friend, nor even my husband, be ready to go to the gym with me. Nor can I make a Big Six Publisher publish my book.

A better goal would have been that I would go to the gym three days a week. Or that I would send my manuscript to one of the big 6 publishers for consideration every three months. Or even I will research each publisher and check if they would be a good match for me.

road to success in 2011

Plan for Roadblocks

Perhaps you were more like Dean Wesley Smith in that a life change created a temporary roadblock. Then in your evaluation of how you did last year, you take that life change under consideration. For example, one year we were in the middle of remodeling my kitchen and disaster struck. A 90-foot tall tree landed on my house. Then, my husband had a 5-way cardiac by-pass followed by a stroke. My goals did not get accomplished. The kitchen remodeling stopped cold, and I got zero, nada, zip writing done in the last 6 months of that year. That meant I had to reevaluate what the road to success was under my new circumstances and adjust. In Dean’s posts, Goals and Dreams 2012 Series, he encourages you to plan how and when to start back writing. Based on my experience, that’s a fantastic idea. Small, specific, achievable goals would have helped me negotiate that roadblock.

Things to Remember

Sometimes, you can’t ever seem to get to the finish line. Did you get stuck in a ‘must be perfect loop’ never finishing your project? Or were you too tired or not in the mood and so accomplished less than you had planned? If perfectionism or moods get in your way, read Kristin Lamb’s take on 2012 and Planning for Success in the New Year.


Perhaps on your road to success, you had goals that were ‘too big.’ For example, your resolution to lose 50 pounds in three months is not only huge; it may not be safe to accomplish in that time period. Or if your goal had been to write the first draft of two novels and revise another novel AND you work a full-time job outside of writing, you have a family or moved, had a new baby, etc., those goals may have been demanding too much of yourself. That’s like trying to drive from Key West, Florida to Point Barrow, Alaska (approximately 5,500 miles or 8,800 km) without a pit stop. Look at this marathon runner’s post on the danger of setting big goals and learn about his motto: Think Big, Act Small, Start Today.


Perhaps last year’s goals or resolutions had an indefinite future. In this case, your roadmap may have taken you on multiple detours. See Coleen Patrick’s post about indefinite future goals.

Specific, Actionable Goals

Vague goals like: I’ll start blogging, I’ll lose weight, I’ll control my diabetes, or I’ll take a trip to Australia can set you up for roadblocks. These goals have the potential to be great goals, but you need to have a plan that is specific. Specific like, I will read three books on blogging and follow 4 blogs for three months. That will help me plan how to fit blogging into my life. Or for your diet, you could say that for the next three months you will eat a salad at lunch and dinner 4 out of 7 days a week. Or I’ll save X number of dollars per week for X weeks and take my trip to Australia in a specific month of a specific year. See more about how to make SMART goals in the post Five Golden Rules of Goal Setting.

Baby Steps

If you need more help to set goals that are baby steps. Read about ROW80. This kind of goal setting allows for future needs. It allows for unplanned life events or learning something new or changing your mind. With short-term goals, you can easily adjust your goals.

My Road to Success

I don’t know about you, but after reading all these wonderful posts, I will spend January looking at the goals I want for next year. Specific goals that will carry me forward. I will take the long-term goals and break them down into 80-90 day increments. This way I can reevaluate my goals throughout the year and make adjustments as needed.

Remember, the road to Success is NOT straight.

curvy road ahead sign

Did last year go the way you planned? What road to success will you be following for next year?


  1. Thanks so much for including our blog in your lineup! Great post. Lots to think about. Marcy is definitely the planner in our partnership, but her SMART goals make a lot of sense 🙂

    1. You are so welcome, Lisa. It’s amazing how many different takes there are on making Resolutions or goals.

      I’d learned of SMART goals from my day job and was delighted when I say Marcy’s post. Saved me from trying to explain it 🙂 !

  2. Thanks for the great links, Lynette. I hadn’t read some of these and they are a great addition to my thinking process. I just wish I could figure out how to subscribe to Dean’s blog. it’s great.

    1. Thank you, Louise. Do you have RSS feed through Google or some other feed service? It’s easy to sign up for Google reads if you don’t already have an account. As far as I can tell he has no email list, just the RSS feed or to follow him on twitter and facebook.

      If you’ve never done an RSS feed, that’s easy too. In the address bar at the top of your browser, to the far right of the http address for dean’s site there is a squarish symbol with arcing lines as if it’s sound waves – click on that symbol to access the RSS feed

  3. “Think Big, Act Small, Start Today” What a good motto! I’ll need to add that one to my long list. …. oops! Maybe I missed the point of your post, hmmm? 🙂

    1. Oh, my Pat. Dean’s blog is a fount of information and an addiction! If I remember correctly, his was the first blog I found and followed. Then his wife’s, then I joined WANA1011 and found oh, so many more I want to read daily! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. And a very Happy New Year to you, too!

  4. Fantastic post. I have been in the mood to jump into all the great things I know this year holds, but now I know that my desire to regroup is smart. I also will be taking the next week or two to plan out my goals, short and long range, with a very detailed road map so I can hit those mile-markers.

  5. Thanks for posting this, Lynette! These are some really blogs you’ve mentioned.
    I have definitely fallen into the “must be perfect” loop before as well as allowed feelings to get in the way. Both of those have hindered me not just in meeting goals but in following dreams as well. But I’ve made some changes and this year I joined ROW80. So here’s to getting things done in 2012!

    1. It is waaaay easy for me to fall into “perfect” and “feelings.”

      Congratulations on doing ROW80. I’m tempted, but I really have to sit down and figure out what are realistic goals for me.

      I’ll be watching for your future ROW80 posts. Ya know? I have a feeling we’re going to accomplish amazing things in 2012!

      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you for all the wonderful insight and links! I pretty much feel like most of last year I was swirling down the drain. We found out we were moving around Feb. and the rest of the year was consumed with moving, settling, etc. I’ve learned even the best plans can get changed and interrupted, but it’s always good to have a plan to start with. I’ll be revising and adding to last years list!

    1. Kara, Oh, man, moving is a BIG TIME stressor. Sounds like you’re bouncing back though, and ready to ROCK 2012!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Here’s hoping 2012 will be the year you envision it to be!

  7. Thanks for including me Lynette! 2011 was the year where I ended up mixing up my whole life list and accomplishing things out of order–and it was surprisingly wonderful! Especially finding WANA peeps like you!! 🙂

    1. You are so welcome, Coleen. I am so glad you found success in 2011, even if it wasn’t in the planned order.

      Ah, thanks! I think you’re a pretty special WANA peep, too. The whole WANA class is an amazing group of people.

  8. 2011 was the year I learned more about what I’m reaaly capable of, and what I can reasonably accomplish. Last round of ROW80 was my first, and it really highlighted where I kept committing to too much. So many good points here – thanks for sharing!

  9. What a awesome line-up of great inspiring posts Lynette! As you know, I’ve climbed on board ROW80. And your blog is the last for me today to visit! I must get busy on my new post and then off to exercise! And then there is the WIP. Yes, I will get to it. Thank you for always being supportive and encouraging Lynette! I count on that! And may I be the same for you! My last year was like your kitchen remodel year. Let’s just say I’m glad 2011 is over. Oh how nice to have a fresh clean slate! 🙂

    1. Gosh, you’ve got me blushing! Thank you so much for your comments.

      Karen, you’ve been a terrific source of support and encouragement, too.

      I’m so sorry you had a difficult year in 2011. Hopefully, that’s behind you and between the WANA crowd, your amazing spirit and your ROW80 goals – I’m sure 2012 will be full of all the wonderful things you deserve!

  10. Great points, Lynette. I’ve joined ROW80 because it gives me measurable goals. I can track my progress and course-correct when needed. Thanks for the valuable links too.

    1. Thanks, Fabio. I think ROW80 is a terrific idea. I way over committed myself last year – in fact I’m still catching up, so I opted to wait til the next time to commit to ROW. At least that’s one goal I have already! I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and comment!

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