On the Setting of Goals
Two days ago I set a personal goal to write 1,000 words per day. It may sound like a lot to non-writers or others, but it’s not that much but it’s also not too little. I believe it to be realistic given the demands of my workday as well as balancing my life with reading, ministry, family, and recreation. At the bottom of my computer screen, I have a tiny post-it note that reads, “1,000 words per day.” It stares me in the face. Being the A-type personality that I am, it’s not only a to-do reminder, but it’s also a challenge that I enjoy meeting.
While working on this final dissertation chapter and holding myself to this goal—today being day three of this committment—I’m about 400 words short of my daily goal for today and already have nine pages written. I need a minimum of sixteen pages to be within the parameters that my doctoral supervisor set for me, so I’m making good timing.
However, I’ve also edited through what I’ve written to make sure that my verbiage isn’t redundant or superfluous, that it sticks to the point, and that it’s substantive. Another piece of advice that my supervisor gave me was that quality was preferred over quantity. This reminds me: I have a cousin whose wife is completing her Ph.D. as well in engineering. When I told her that the body of my thesis was to be somewhere between 160–180 pages she gave me this huge opossum grin. She said that she already have over 600 pages and would be in the 700-page range by the time she was finished. I asked if she included pictures, charts, diagrams, etc. to which she said that she did. I didn’t feel as bad once I was told that because I have an appendix of about three or four pages that will contain graphics.
I’ve always been a goal-oriented person. I might prefer to call it a to-do list because I live by them. If it’s not written down, I will forget to do it. You can apply this to any aspect of your life. Set goals, write them down, and read them daily to remind you what you’re trying to accomplish. Zig Zigler once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Be sure you’re aiming at something.