After staying in a hotel for three weeks–eating out every day–during the move last summer, I gained about five pounds. Usually, when we get settled back into a routine they come off no problem. Not so this time. Eight months later they're stubbornly clinging.
The thing is, I know exactly how to banish them. I already work out religiously, so it has to be the food. The only way to keep myself from cheating and overeating is to track every calorie that crosses my lips (except on Saturday–that's my day off). And it works for me. Every time.
Writing it down forces me to be accountable, and it becomes like a game to see how good I can be. I love a challenge.
Okay, so here's where this relates to writing goals. If I don't have them, I may write a paragraph or two, get stuck and call it a day. Which is fine, because even a little writing every day is better than nothing. But what if you're getting serious and you want to finish a book by July? You'll need to write more than a few sentences when you sit down to your desk.
Plan it out (be realistic), figure out how many words per day and days per week you need to write. Then track it someplace. You'll be amazed at how motivating it can be to realize you only need a hundred more words to meet your goal. You'll probably meet it and then some.
It becomes a challenge your mind wants to meet.
Or maybe that's only my mind. This works for me because I'm somewhat competitive and analytical. I like to measure things, see trends, visualize progress.
But if you're struggling to finish that book, give it a try. If nothing else, keeping a record of what you do each day will be good if you ever get audited for deducting those conference fees and contest entries.
P.S. Speaking of moves, it's official. We're heading back to D.C. this summer! Alabama's been good to me, especially for writing, but I'm psyched to go back!