Episode 034 – Ambitious Goals for Writers

OK, folks, this was one of my favourite episodes to produce! I love talking about big dreamy author goals and was grinning from ear to ear while recording this one!

I hope you enjoy it.

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Inforgraphic summarising article. Text reads:
    Leverage Strengths: Use strengths like Futuristic and Achiever to fuel ambitious goals.
    Growth through Goals: Align goals with growth, turning challenges into achievements.
    Balance Ambition: Mix ambitious and short-term goals to avoid burnout and stay motivated.
    Manageable Steps: Break down big goals, maintain flexibility, and adapt as needed.
    Mindful Goal-Setting: Recognize when to scale back during tough times for sustainability.
    Resilience in Pursuit: Adopt a tiered goal approach and stay persistent despite setbacks.

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Welcome to Writer Roadmap, the podcast for writers seeking inspiration, guidance, and support on their creative journey. I’m your host, Holly Lyne. Today, we’re setting our sights high—really high. We’re talking about ambitious goals, the kind that stretch your imagination and push your limits. For those of you with CliftonStrengths like Futuristic, Achiever, Maximiser, or Significance, today’s episode will resonate deeply. But even if you haven’t taken the assessment, stick around. Understanding how and when to set ambitious goals can be a game-changer for anyone.

Ambitious goals can be incredibly motivating, giving us a clear, lofty point to aim for. They have the power to pull us forward, to elevate our performance, and to transform our writing lives. But, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. Let’s dive into the world of ambitious goal-setting and find out how to make it work for you.

The Benefits of Ambitious Goals

  • Pushes Your Limits: Ambitious goals force us out of our comfort zones, challenging us to innovate and find new solutions.
  • Increases Motivation: For many, having a significant goal in sight is a powerful motivator, pushing them to take consistent action.
  • Provides Clear Direction: With a lofty goal, the path forward becomes clearer, helping to focus your efforts and prioritize tasks that move you closer to your aim.

When to Set Ambitious Goals

Aligned with Your Strengths: Picture the moment you’ve achieved something you initially thought was out of reach. That surge of triumph, that exhilarating rush—it’s unmatched. If you’re someone who not only seeks out challenges but revels in conquering them, ambitious goals aren’t just beneficial; they’re your fuel. These goals tap directly into your inherent strengths, whether it’s your unyielding drive, your visionary outlook, or your relentless pursuit of excellence. When your goals align with these core aspects of your character, they cease to be mere objectives. They become a reflection of your highest potential, a manifestation of your deepest drives. Ambitious goals, in this light, are not just targets. They are personal statements, affirmations of your capacity to achieve greatness.

Looking for Growth: Growth is not a passive process. It’s an active, dynamic pursuit that demands not just our attention but our courage to venture into the unknown. When you set ambitious goals, you’re not just aiming to reach a new milestone; you’re actively seeking transformation. It’s about pushing the boundaries of what you thought was possible, venturing beyond the familiar shores of your current capabilities into the uncharted waters of your potential. This journey of growth can be personal, as you discover new facets of your character and resilience. It can be creative, as you explore untapped veins of your imagination and skill. Or it can be professional, as you build your career and legacy one bold step at a time.

Setting ambitious goals in pursuit of growth is like setting sail on a voyage. Yes, the seas might get rough, and yes, the destination may seem distant. But every challenging wave you navigate, every gust of wind you harness, brings you closer to becoming the person you aspire to be. It’s in the striving, the reaching, and the stretching that we truly grow. And when you finally reach that new horizon, the view is all the more breathtaking because of the journey it took to get there.

Ambitious goals are more than just endpoints. They are beacons that guide us through our development, challenging us to be braver, to aim higher, and to grow stronger. They remind us that growth is not just about reaching a destination. It’s about embracing the journey, with all its trials and triumphs, and emerging from it transformed.

Acknowledging the Flip Side

While ambitious goals can be incredibly empowering, they’re not for everyone at every moment. It’s crucial to recognize when smaller, short-term goals might be more appropriate.

Avoiding Burnout: For those who may feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of an ambitious goal, breaking it down into smaller, manageable milestones can prevent burnout and keep motivation high.
Celebrating Small Wins: Short-term goals allow for more frequent celebrations of success, which can be crucial for maintaining momentum and enthusiasm. This approach is best for certain personality types and may be how you thrive long term.

Crisis and Survival Modes: I talk about these modes in my book, Goal Setting for Writers, so if you want to know more about them, I recommend reading that. But in short, Crisis Mode is when life has suddenly been interrupted by a bereavement, a injury or illness, or the end of a relationship. Events that make us halt everything to deal with the emergency situation. Survival Mode is when you have ongoing challenges that severely limit your capabilities. I’m talking about things like living with a chronic health condition, having to live away from your support network, having to commute long hours to and from work, living in poverty. This situation might last for months or years and requires your time and energy on an ongoing basis. When in Crisis Mode, don’t set any goals. When in Survival Mode, set small and easily achievable goals.

Making Ambitious Goals Work for You

  1. Break It Down: Even the most ambitious goals can be broken into smaller, actionable steps. This makes the journey more manageable and less daunting.
  2. Balance Is Key: Pair your ambitious goals with short-term objectives to give yourself a mix of immediate satisfaction and long-term vision.
  3. Stay Flexible: Be prepared to adjust your goals as you progress. Flexibility allows you to respond to challenges and opportunities that arise along the way.
  4. Good, Better, Best: Set three tiers to your goals. What would be an outcome that would be satisfying enough? Then how could you push that to be better? And finally the truly lofty “best” outcome. Having these three tiers can help you to feel good even if you don’t hit the top tier, while also giving you something higher to aim for.
  5. Accept Life’s Interruptions: If you miss out on a goal, or can see part way through the allotted time that you’re unlikely to hit it, shake it off and allow for the fact that life sometimes gets in the way. Don’t let it stop you from striving anyway. For example, I set quite ambitious health goals for myself for this quarter of the year and now, in mid-February, I can see that I’m not likely to meet them. I’m not changing them, I’m going to keep pushing to get as close as I can anyway. I know that I was ill in January and that set me back, so it was always going to be hard to catch up. That’s okay. I’ll keep going and see how close I can get.

Navigators, whether you’re setting your sights on the stars or focusing on the next step in front of you, remember, goal setting is a personal journey. What matters most is finding a strategy that resonates with you, one that fuels your passion and propels you forward.

If you’ve found a unique way to set and pursue your goals, I’d love to hear about it. Join our conversation on Patreon at patreon.com/hollylyne or drop us a comment wherever you tune in.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Writer Roadmap, and share this episode with someone who might be pondering their next big goal. Until next time, keep writing, keep dreaming big, and keep navigating your path with courage and clarity.

Writer Roadmap intro and outro music used under license from Pixabay. Music track “Salangseuleoun” was Created by “Dayfox”.

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