I read this post over at Writerly Rejects today about achieving things by making tangible goals. The post’s author, Elizabeth Prats, differentiates between tangible goals and intangible goals. Tangible goals are the ones that you, the goal-setter, have control of. Intangible goals are obviously those you don’t.
She makes the point that if your goals are intangible – get an agent, get published – you’re much more likely to feel down on yourself as you work to reach them, because it’s hard to measure your progress. No matter how much effort you put in, you still don’t know when an agent/editor/whoever will say yes. It can feel like you’re floundering, lost.
But if your goals are tangible – finish this chapter, novel, revision – you can see progress and that makes you feel good about yourself and your progress toward your intangible goals. Okay, so you don’t know when that agent will say yes, but in order for them to be able to say yes you need for your chapter/novel/revision to be done; so having finished this chapter/novel/revision, you’re one step closer!
And I think this is so, so important to success. Because as so many have emphasized before, success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. You want to be happy on your journey, taking satisfaction in yourself and what you’re doing, and being able to reach tangible goals is an important part of doing that.