You are more than your writing. You may be a son, daughter, father, mother, husband, wife, etc. I'll say it again: You must not ignore the other areas of your life.
"People who set goals in only one area of life - such as their career - may find that their personal growth becomes one-sided." - From Master Student To Master Employee
Source: MicroSoft Office Images
As much as I need to set goals for my writing, I can't neglect setting goals in my family life, social life and spiritual life. So, pay attention to these other areas. Maybe you can think of more. Good. If you are like me, accomplishing goals in other areas will help you write.
For example, I may have a specific goal to write 5,000 words of a short story on a Saturday. Great. But, what if I also know my wife wants to go out on a date? If I only focus on the writing goal and ignore my wife's needs, then my home will not be a happy place (to put it mildly). Neglect your marriage one too many times, and, well... you run the risk of ending up alone.
So, to meet my writing goal as well as my goal of maintaining a happy marriage, I must get creative. What that may mean is I wake up earlier or stay up later (or both) to write. I also set up a baby sitter and take my wife out on a dinner date. If that doesn't work, then a lunch date. Other appointments preventing you? Then it's a coffee date. Whatever it takes. C'mon! You're a writer. Be creative.
Now, I will do this because my relationship with my wife is important to me. I can not sacrifice my marriage for my writing. At least for me, I need to have someone there by my side to celebrate my writing success.
Another area of life could involve physical fitness. I mention this, because it is an area I am trying to focus more attention on. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. Maybe I will have to cut into my morning routine to include an hour for a jog or bike ride. So be it. I will feel better about myself if I can lose the weight. If I feel better (self-esteem), then that positivity will transfer to my writing.
So, you must set specific writing goals. You must set them in several time frames (long-term, mid-term, short-term). But you also must set goals in other areas of your life. Do it to be a better writer. If for no other reason than this: paying attention to other areas of life will add to your experiences, which can add depth to your writing.
NEXT ARTICLE IN THE SERIES:
AUGUST 22, 2011: PART 4 IN THE SERIES - REFLECTING ON YOUR GOALS