Your List: How to Make a Good One

I told you on Friday that I’m doing the 30 Before 30 list. Still working on filling it out, but I’ve got a pretty good start. Want to try making your own list? Here are my tips for making a good one:

1. Be specific. I’m talking get down to the essence of what you really want to do. If you want to go on a camping trip specifically so that you can sleep under the stars, then your goal should be “sleep under the stars,” not “go camping.”

2. Make your goals measurable. Each of my goals are set up so that I can say a definite “Yes” or “No” to the question, “Have I completed this goal?” That means I’m not putting stuff in there like, “Master the art of forgiveness.” It’s a nice goal, but it’s not very measurable.

3. Be sure your goals are attainable. I was pretty realistic when I made my list. I want to keep my husband and my job, and I’m pretty sure money is not going to start falling from the sky, so stuff like, “move to Ireland” and “buy a condo at the beach” aren’t going to go on this list, because there’s no way to make them happen without undergoing some pretty drastic life changes, and that’s not in my year-long plan.

4. Your goals should be relevant to you. To me, this means that they should be under your control. Like, I would love to put “sell a book to a big New York publisher” on my list, but really, I could write the best book I am capable of writing, and that still would not guarantee that a New York publisher would buy that book. It’s out of my control, so it can’t really be a goal. My goal can be “write the best book I am capable of writing,” because I do have control over that.

5. Since the list is 30 Before 30, it’s necessarily going to be time-bound, but if you’re working on a different list, you’ll want to put a time limit on it as well. This is one reason I don’t like the idea of “bucket lists.” The time limit is “before you die” which really isn’t that specific.

So are you ready to jump in now? Come on, I know you are. If you make a list, be sure to share it with me! I’ll even post it on my blog!

  • ACW

    #2 is probably what ruins my monthly resolutions. (Yes, I post a new habit on my whiteboard every month instead of making New Year's resolutions!)
    I've been stuck on 'be patient' for three months. It doesn't help that, during one of my sister's visits, she scribbled the addendum: “RIGHT NOW!” 😛
    Two weeks from now is the start of my first honest-to-goodness summer vacation since I was… I don't know… fourteen?!
    I've completed NaNoWriMo three times, but never ended up with anything workable as a novel. 50,000 words, I can do, no problem. It's a matter of getting all the threads to pull together, and I think it's been a lack of preparation each time.
    I have a plot bouncing around in my head and I've written my index cards and it is my goal to start –and finish!– a full and complete story this summer. I can go back and rewrite/revise later… but I need to get the skeleton knocked out, from start to finish.