NaNoWriMo Day #25 – Setting goals like a boss

By Curtis Canham


Parkinson’s Law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  This means if you don’t set a goal, you could take forever to complete what you would like to accomplish. If, however, you set a timeline of two weeks, it will take two weeks to reach that goal. If you set a one week timeline, it will take one week to reach your goal. Interestingly enough, if you set a timeline of one hour, you actually could complete your goal in one hour if you truly wanted to. The number one reason why people do not accomplish something they might wish to do is the fact they never set a goal to do so.


Write them down

Everyone should think about having specific life goals they are working towards – spirituality, relationships, personal or work related – and have them written down.  Having them in writing helps you key in on what is really important for you to accomplish.

It’s never enough to be busy.  The question to ask is “what are you busy doing?”  I know a lot of real “busy” people that never seem to accomplish anything of substance.  American poet, Bill Copeland, put it this way, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”  For example, I set a goal of writing a book and having it published.


Walkable. Lots of hills though.

Begin with daily small goals and mark them on your calendar at the end of each day. Every day. You are building up a daily habit on progress toward a larger goal. This is called the “Seinfeld Method.”  I began researching information on my book daily before I even began writing it.


Meaningful Motivation

What is your motivation or passion that helps you get out of bed in the morning? Goals need to line up with your inner needs and motives.  They cannot be set for external reasons such as pleasing your wife or boss. My motive for wanting to publish a book was to help graphic design students have a fun way to study about different fonts.


Treat Yo Self

Adding simple rewards for meeting the smaller day-to-day goals will make the end goal more manageable. If you are trying to lose weight, for example, try treating yourself to a movie with a friend for every five pounds you lose instead of thinking of that fifty that you need to lose all together.  Sometimes an end goal like that can be overwhelming so you need to break it down.


Only you are accountable for your own goals.  It is a willingness to answer for the outcomes of your choices, actions and behaviors.  When you are personally accountable, you stop assigning blame on others and making excuses. You can make it happen! Start setting your literary goals today.  Write them out.  Check them off daily on your calendar. Do your research. Start writing that first page. Finish that next chapter. Send out queries. Push your social media contacts. Set new goals.


ccanhamCurtis Canham has been working in the field of graphic design and illustration for over 17 years and has put his experience to work as an Adjunct Professor at the College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY) for the last 3 years. Curtis has also been integral in a variety of out-reach programs over the years, helping to organize a creative exhibition space in Downtown Albany, New York and coordinating Coffee and Creatives meet-ups for the regional Advertising Agency. His ability to speak frankly and with humor has made his speaking and lectures popular among his peers. Canham is a member of the AIGA and board member of the Albany Ad Club.
Through these experiences, he hopes to teach the next generation the important nuances of their chosen field. Curtis Canham is from Upstate New York; he claims to be practically Canadian and wants to live in a world without brush script and comic sans. He strongly feels that FONT is a four-letter word and shouldn’t be used around young children.
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