Goals & Habits

My Goals for January

I’m taking the plunge here: I’ve decided to share a monthly report on my key goals, habits and productivity.

Why I’m sharing my goals online

  • Since I write extensively about productivity, I feel I owe you the honesty of what’s on my plate and where I’m struggling to make progress.
  • I want to show other writers that purposeful productivity is about far more than word count. It’s about the big picture, about balance, and about long-term stamina and enjoyment.
  • According to Gretchen Rubin’s interesting framework, I’m an upholder, meaning I shouldn’t need much in the way of external accountability to meet an inner expectation. Well, even so, I’m convinced that posting here will light an extra fire under my toes!

Why I'm Sharing My Goals Online | Pauline Wiles

All that said, I’m nervous. Until now, if I failed dismally during any given month, the shame was all in my head. I could beat myself up happily, and in private. By sharing here, I’m upping the stakes. Even though this blog isn’t read by millions, it won’t be easy to come back here and report missed goals and lousy habits.

December results

Here are some of my measures you can expect to see in future months, and how they played out in December.

Key achievements:

  • 18,000 words drafted for new novel.
  • Released Resolutions for Writers audio seminar.
  • Created Write Intentions bundle gift.
  • Joined Tailwind and Gumroad. Got serious about Pinterest!
  • Major content review, including article & paid product planning for the whole of 2019.
  • Christmas errands, decorations, cards and socializing (oh my).
  • Tentative plan with my husband for 2019 travel & vacations.


  • Meditate: 14 days
  • Exercise: 21 days
  • Track food eaten: 11 days
  • Floss teeth: 24 days

Note: I don’t aim to exercise every day, but about 5 times a week. For the other habits, daily would be  ideal.

Weight this morning:  131.2 lbs
I’m not “overweight,” but am determined to shift 5 pounds this year. I lost it a couple of years ago and am dismayed I allowed it to come back. Running is such a slog with that unnecessary ballast!

New experience/skills:

  • I tried the leek soup fast from French Women Don’t Get Fat. I lasted a whole day, which was a big deal for me!
  • I learned how to make wallpapers for phones and brushed up on audio editing.

Fun & rest:

  • Book club; holiday party; walking tour of holiday lights; meals with 2 friends; made candles; day trip to Pacific Grove; festive movies.

December lessons

  • December is a tricky month for many people in terms of productivity. However, since November was actually my time of disruption & overeating (I visited family in England, struggled with jetlag and then a cold), I’m disappointed in my meditation and food tracking habits in December. Exercise held up better than I thought, though.
  • I wasted time choosing print materials for my business and wondering how to present it creatively. This site led me down many pleasant but non-productive rabbit holes! I often spend hours on activities which feel like “work”, but really aren’t leading me anywhere.
  • Hidden behind my modest achievements was a huge amount of strategic thinking. I made adjustments in my brand, website and messaging to talk more directly to writers about productivity. So, I spent plenty of hours which don’t actually show up as clear deliverables. But it was useful work.

January goals

OK, time to share what’s in store for January. Alongside habits, a new experience, and rest, which are standing items…

Key goals:

  • Reach 42,000 words of new novel. (24,000 this month.)
  • Do an email audit and produce a how-to resource on this topic.
  • Publish Indie With Ease through Ingram Spark.
  • Lots of website housekeeping.*
  • 4 blog posts; 3 productivity newsletters; 1 fiction newsletter.
  • Pitch 4 podcasts.
  • Finish working through my Pinterest/Tailwind to-do list.
  • Do at least 2 of the mini courses waiting in my email.
  • Research conferences/training to attend this year.
  • Register for 2-3 running events.
  • Meet up in person with author Julie Valerie.

*Notice how ill-defined this goal is. I clearly need to make a separate list for this one!

Over to You…

Assuming you have some monthly or annual goals, do you keep them to yourself, or share them? Does external accountability help you get where you’re heading? Do you enjoy seeing the goals which others have set?

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    Jean | Delightful Repast
    January 19, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Pauline, sounds like you’re doing great. I had much more modest goals for January, simply keeping on with my good self-care habits–16/8 intermittent fasting, 6-teaspoons-a-day sugar limit, daily exercise–and taking care of our “infrastructure”–filling gaps in our wardrobes and household maintenance issues. Your posts have motivated me to think on goals for February.

    1. Reply
      January 19, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Jean, the good thing about a month’s worth of goals is that even if I wobble on some days (like after a poor night’s sleep, or with an unplanned trip to the DMV!) there’s still plenty of time for me to nudge forward in progress…

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