A Recipe for Writing and Personal Success By Carol Malone

Summer Holiday by Carol MalonePlease welcome author and book coach in training Carol Malone. Today she’s sharing her article regarding the New Year and those dreaded, but necessary resolutions. Enjoy!


Happy New Year! Time for resolutions and goal setting. Time for me to freak out. I’ve always hated the words goal and resolution. Oh, I had them – the same every year: lose weight, save money, get out of debt. But I never thought about the plans, the schedules, the hard work it took to achieve those goals, so I bailed and failed and told myself that it was better not to have goals so I could save myself from anxiety and disappointment.

But the New Year has dawned and I can’t help but get the feeling everything is new and clean and fresh enough for me to start once more – clean slate. This year something feels different. I didn’t get that awful sense I was a failure even before I started. I had an epiphany, a change of mindset. Whereas I’d always been a little closed minded or had a “fixed mindset” as Beth Barany calls it in her book editing workshop, I learned I can develop an open mind or have a “Growth Mindset” ready to accept new possibilities IF I thought differently about them. According to Beth, a person with a “Growth Mindset [will] measure themselves against how far they’ve come and celebrate each step they take.” I liked that thought.

I have come a long way in my writing career and I needed to celebrate my milestones, victories, and my learning experiences. It makes me tingle just thinking about my successes and anticipate more.

Facing the proposition of setting another round of yearly goals had always left me cold in the past. What has changed?

I was blessed with a wonderful mother who believed a young girl should learn to cook. We had a lot of hungry mouths to feed in my family. Mom and I were the only females in a house filled with males – my dad and four older brothers. They worked extremely hard on our chicken ranch, and come supper time, they were ravenous. And just like in cooking, there are steps or recipes to follow if we want our food to taste good and be appealing to the eye.

To become a great cook, and I’m not ashamed to say that I am a terrific cook, it took years of trial and error. Though I’m not a “world-class chef” only because I was never classically trained, I learned from experts in the field. With the push of a button, expert chefs come into my home and continue to train me in the culinary art of preparing masterpiece dishes to please the eye and pallet.

All of us who write want our writing to be something special. We want to follow the “rules” or “guidelines.” The same applies for having a balanced life. I wrote about this in my article for Beth’s website Writers Fun Zone a while ago on how to have a balanced life. I found so many resources to help us work on balancing our lives so that we have balance with our financial, spiritual, family and friends, job/career, health, psychology/inner peace, emotional, and adventure sides to our lives. I found the information on getting back in balance on BeHappy101.com invaluable.

And as authors, we have one more area of focus: our writing.

So how do we set goals, make projects, plan, schedule, and meet the writerly challenges we want to accomplish for the New Year?

Many of you know Michael Hyatt. Perhaps some of you have taken workshops from him or listen to his valuable podcasts. He is a master teacher and an inspirational leader. I recently took his free webinar where he introduced his “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever,” and I learned great stuff about goals and goal setting. Unexpectedly, the process didn’t look so daunting anymore. I thought I could actually set some goals and maybe, with perseverance, achieve them.

Then another thought hit me. I could combine my love of cooking with Michael’s list of goal setting “rules,” and make something that would taste good and be easily digested and healthy for me. A true recipe for success both in my personal life and in my writing career.

So here is mine and Michael’s Recipe for Personal and Writing Goal-Setting Success:

  • Add 3 cups of the “Circles of Life” to a very large bowl: The circles are:
    • Being: spiritual, physical, intellectual
    • Relating: marital, parental, social
    • Doing: financial, vocational and avocational.
  • Toss in 1 cup of goals chosen from each of the three “Circles of Life” to focus on.
  • Also add ½ cup of don’t choose too many goals; 5 to 7 items at any one time, no more than 10
  • Mix well by hand or use an electric hand mixer.
  • Add in 2 cups of writing down your goals; avoid good intentions that will sabotage your dish.
  • Add 2/3’s cup of making your goals specific and actionable.
  • Grate in 1/3 cup of making your goals measurable and manageable.
  • Add a dollop of assigning a deadline otherwise tasks will expand to the time allotted to them. We don’t want our dish to curdle.
  • Season well with stretching outside your comfort zone.
  • Don’t over season with negativity – fear or failure, uncertainty, doubt.
  • Sprinkle generously with positivity – “I can do this.” “I have the resources to succeed.” “I feel good all the time.”
  • Whisk in a smidgeon of compelling goals that will make you stretch through the messy middle.
  • Add a dash of spiritually meaningful, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally energizing flavored attributes to the dish.
  • Fold all together with big ACTION. Don’t procrastinate or skip this step. All of the steps in the recipe mean nothing if you don’t blend it all together.
  • Pour into a clear baking dish of visibility where your dish will be in your sight as it bakes on high for a year.
  • Place your baked creation on a crystal serving plate for the entire world to see and salivate over.

Whether you follow a recipe or a set of rules, guidelines, or your mom’s suggestion for reaching your goals, I hope you’ll feel the compelling need to change something in your life or in your writing life/career for the better. Don’t limit your possibilities. Worker smarter not harder. Give it hundred and ten percent. Think outside the box. Reach for the stars. And a bunch of other positive clichés to help motivate you.

My best advice for moving forward, be grateful for how far you’ve come. According to Michael Hyatt, “You won’t get more of what you want until you are thankful for what you have.”


About the Author

Carol Malone, AuthorAn award winning novelist, Carol Malone writes romantic suspense, rocketing readers into the past to uncover a hard-fought happily-ever-after. Based in coastal California, when not hammering out new tales, Carol reads, watches sports, the Food Network or HGTV, or spends time with her author husband. She loves to connect with her readers on her website, Twitter, and on Facebook.

Check out her books here:

Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night  

Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night Christmas

Summer Holiday

You may also like...

  • Beth Barany says:

    Carol, This is absolutely wonderful. I love how you applied your love of cooking and recipes to goal setting for the year. Brilliant! Thanks for being a monthly columnist and a part of the Writer’s Fun Zone family.

  • Carol says:

    Thanks Beth. This was a fun article to arite. For the first time in my entire life, I think I understand what goal setting is all about. Though I still might take the project approach, Michael Hyatt opened my eyes and when I saw it like a recipe, then I thought I could do it. But I need to take one step at a time, as do we all, and be gentle with myself as I learn this new recipe.

  • >