Sunday, December 29, 2013

Goals, Motivation and Conflict

Deb Kastner here, wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Goals.  Motivation.  Conflict.  I’m sure most of my writer friends have heard these three words slung together at one time or another.  Authors use them a lot, especially when we’re first forming our stories.  We identify what’s important to our characters, what drives them to pursue those goals (motivation), and what conflicts could potentially get in the way of them succeeding (in a novel, the more conflict, the merrier).

As the New Year quickly approaches, I find myself evaluating 2013—what worked for me and what didn’t, goals on which I progressed and those I quickly scrapped, the life changes I’ve been through, what 2014 is shaping up to be, and what I’d like it to look like.

This is the time of year I look at Goals, Motivation and Conflict in an entirely different way—as they apply to my own life.  

What are my hopes and dreams for 2014?  Are they realistic?  Specific?  Can I break my goals into pieces so I can celebrate small successes along the way?  Do I have an appropriate number of goals?  Am I stretching myself as a person or overwhelming myself?

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, I find it easy to overdo.  I want to write faster, read more, eat less, lose weight and save money.  All noble goals, to be sure, but I’ve discovered that if I don’t have the motivation to back those goals, they drop off within the first week or two and I’m back to my old, familiar habits.

Every year for—well, ever—“Lose Weight” was at the top of my list, and it was always the first thing to drop off after the new year began.  Why?  Because while I knew I wasn’t where I needed to be weight-wise, there were many other more pressing items ahead of that goal.  Last year I finally recognized that I needed to be serious about weight loss in order to help me live a healthier lifestyle.  I researched and studied and learned what would work for me.  And then I put my plan into action.  My motivation changed—and so did my weight.  I’m not done with my weight loss journey yet, but I’ve seen the difference the changes in my lifestyle have made and I’m committed to continuing down that path.


Here’s where the rubber meets the road.  I’ve made my goals measurable and specific, so I know when I’ve reached the finish line, or at least made progress.  I’ve prayed and examined myself and have found the motivation in my heart to pursue those goals.  Yep.  I’m sure about it.  These are things I really want to do this year.  But what happens when I have a bad day, when I fall off the diet bandwagon or don’t get my word count in?

Life happens.  I hit walls, I am tempted down the wrong path, or something truly urgent interferes with my plans.  Like the characters in my novels, things get difficult sometimes.  I’ve come to realized it’s what I choose to do when I hit those bumps in the road that makes the difference when I look back at the end of the year.  If I have strong goals I really care about, and if I continually look to God for course-corrections, I’ll weather those distractions and failures and continue the path I’ve set for myself.

So what about you?  Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  Have you considered your motivations in making those goals and the conflicts that may arise?  How did you do with your goals in 2013?  And what are you most excited about for 2014?

Rugged and tough deputy sheriff Eli Bishop isn't scared of anything.  Except dogs.  When he's assigned a K-9 partner, he thinks things can't get any worse.  Then he learns who'll be training him.  Local vet Mary Travis is sweet as sugar...but she's also Eli's ex-fiancee's sister.  Revealing his humiliating phobia to her is not an option.  Neither is developing feelings for Mary--who's built her career around the dogs Eli fears.  When a terrible storm hits their town, Mary and Eli must find the courage to work together and save lives--and fall in love.

Deb Kastner's book Her Valentine Sheriff is a February 2014 release.  You can purchase it here.


  1. Deb, the new year has snuck up on me! I haven't sat down and thought through my goals. But I'm so glad you mentioned motivation. What a great idea to work on that as well! This year, I'll treat myself like one of my characters. :)

    Happy new year!

  2. Christmas snuck up on me! My goals are losing weight and managing writing time. Awesome cover by the way.

  3. Missy, this whole season snuck up on me!

    Pamela, I'm in love with my cover. The art department at Harlequin just continues to outdo themselves.

  4. Thanks for this post, Deb - - and I'm looking forward to your upcoming book!
    I always write down New Year Goals, but haven't yet (probably will do that on New Year's Eve, LOL).
    Happy New Year!! Patti Jo :)

  5. Me, either, Patti. Guess I know how I'm going to be spending my New Year's Eve...writing goals. =)


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