Have you seen that TV commercial about investing where one guy is carting around a number that represents how much he needs to save for retirement and the other guy has a sign that says a bazillion or some such fake number.
The first guy asks the second how much is a bazillion, and the second guys basically replies that he doesn't know but he figures it'll take that much. That little commercial is a great testament to the importance of setting specific goals. It's not enough to want "something." You must want something specific.
Just as important as wanting something specific, i.e., a specific goal, is setting small goals along the way to the big one. I mean, if you were driving from Houston to Dallas, you don't start out by seeing a sign that says: Dallas, 300 miles, and then you drive and drive and drive until you see the Dallas city limits sign. You see signs along the way that let you know you're still on the right road to Dallas: 250 miles, Dallas, 200 miles, and so on.
Setting a big goal is the same way. After you've set the big goal, you decide on the steps from where you are to where you want to be: those markers along the way that show you're still on the right path.
If you want to be a doctor, then you first have to graduate from high school, go to college in pre-Med, then medical school, then internship, etc.
If you want a publishing contract with a reputable eBook seller or a traditional print publisher in New York, that's your goal. Figure out smaller goals that take you from an idea for a book to a contract, that help you feel you're accomplishing something as you work toward the goal.
The goal of publishing, broken down into smaller goals: you write the book, find an agent, submit to publishers, and get a contract I hope.
Even smaller goals in between those mid-points are to plot the book, figure out the characterization, determine your commitment to the project, get started on writing and promoting in this competitive climate.
The smallest steps involve the daily work required to meet the bigger goals, and on and on up the goal ladder. Chapters are made of pages. How many pages a day are you going to write?
Follow the chain of goals. Completion of the smallest goals leads to completion of the largest. Finishing even the smallest goal gives you the satisfaction of something accomplished that day, of time well spent.
Earl Nightingale, one of the pioneers in goal achievement, said: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal." Progressive realization. That means doing something, no matter how small, every day.