Don’t Break the Chain 2020 Calendar

As requested, and as a holiday gift, I’ve updated the S.M.A.R.T. Goals Don’t Break the Chain calendar for 2020! (Happy holidays!)

The whole year on one free printable for you to mark off day by day.

Check out my other productivity posts, including my printable quarterly 2020 and 2021 calendars, which include room to add notes on each day.

(On a personal note, I’ve completed my third of four semesters for my MFA. I’ll be graduating in July, moving cross country in August, and am booking editing clients for September! What does your 2020 look like?)


  • Making Smart Goals
  • Don’t Break the Chain
  • Free 2020 Calendar Printable

Making SMART Goals


Your goal needs to be specific. “Be a better person” is a good ideal, but not a good goal. “Be a better writer” is more specific, and you can work with it, but let’s try a little harder. How about “Write a novel”? Sure. Let’s take that one.


“Write a novel”–is that a measurable goal? Why yes it is! Because novels have a beginning, middle, and an end. Let’s choose a measurement so we can make the goal even more specific. “Write a 50,000-word novel.”


“Be a better person” isn’t a SMART goal because how will you know when you’ve achieved it? You need a goal with an obvious finish line. Something you can cross off a list. Having a goal of writing a 50,000 novel gives you a point to work towards. In this case, the finish line is typing the 50,000th word.

For something to be achievable, it also needs to be realistic. For me, a full-time mother of two young children (who also freelances), writing a 50,000-word novel in the month of November is NOT a realistic goal. (Sorry NaNoWriMo.) But writing 50,000 words over the next few months is realistic. Especially since most of my research is done.

Helpful tip: Don’t attempt a historical novel during NaNoWriMo.


A SMART goal is relevant. It is important. It is worthwhile. It is meaningful. Are you the right person for the job? Is it a good time in your life to set this goal? Do you have the support necessary to achieve the goal? For me, that means hiring a part-time nanny so that I have a couple of hours every day to devote to writing.


Making a time-bound goal means actually writing it down on your calendar and making time for it. It’s setting a deadline. And this is the kicker—it’s choosing to not procrastinate.

I never have a problem coming up with ideas or goals. I have a problem keeping with them. Which is why I’m really excited about “Don’t Break the Chain” motivation.

[free printable!] SMART Goals & Don't Break the Chain | write lara write #productivity #goals #motivation

Don’t Break the Chain

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “Don’t Break the Chain,” you can read about its background here. It’s easier to turn something into a routine and keep doing it every day than quitting and trying to start back up again. “Don’t Break the Chain” is all about keeping up the momentum.

First, you pick something you can do every single day. Writing. Exercising. Doing the dishes. Choose something relevant. You’ll be bound by time because you have a deadline every 24 hours.

Make it measurable (Ask yourself “How much?” or “For how long?”). Make sure it’s achievable. Be specific.

Say you want to write every day. Will you write for a certain amount of time or will you have a minimum word count? Start small and manageable. It’s better to underestimate yourself than overestimate yourself. One is motivating, the other is debilitating.

If you’re writing just to journal, 300 words each day is a good minimum challenge. Or 15 or 30 minutes.

If you’re trying to put the “progress” into a “work in progress,” then shoot for five hundred, 750, or a thousand words. Or 30 minutes to 2 hours.

If you’re attempting to write a novel in 30 days, your goal will be 1,667 words each day.

Then each day you do that thing, you cross off the day on your calendar. Soon you’ll have a row of X’s. If you skip a day, you break the chain. Don’t break the chain.

Try this for a month, a season, or a year. The longer you go before breaking the chain, the easier it will be to pick up where you left off.

Free Printable 2020 Calendar

You can search for other “Don’t Break the Chain” calendars online. For my own, I wanted to combine the chain idea with SMART goals.

Click on the thumbnail to download the full 2020 calendar. This is for personal or classroom use only. Not for profit use. Enjoy! 


**The image is from 2014, but the link is to the 2020 calendar.**

I make these for personal use and share them on my website for others. Subscribe to my blogfor email updates (like an email when the next year’s calendar is up) or, if you feel so inclined, drop a tip at my Ko-Fi to help me keep this blog online. 💛


Put a Saddle on It

I know this blog is for creative writers, but if you’re a creative person, chances are good you will have to pay the bills with supplemental income. And that usually means working for a client.

So for all you who are keenly familiar with Clients from Hell because you’ve worked as a copywriter, designer, illustrator, etc., you know how ridiculous clients’ demands can be.

And if you haven’t had to bow to strange client demands, maybe you are still familiar with completely winging it.

Both come together in this story:
*note: includes NSFW language* 

If you can’t watch the video or prefer to read a transcript, Paul Ford writes about the story of how He-Man got a riding war tiger over at Postlight.

We don’t talk about that process very much. The process of winging it–using what’s available and cheap, and having no idea if it’ll work out. In truth that’s how a lot of software gets built, and art gets made, and novels get written. We just dress it up with discussions around planning, scrums, user journeys, agile, and process. We try to forget the ugly parts, but maybe we should spend more time celebrating our Battle Cats.Paul Ford, “Put a Saddle On It,” Postlight

When I saw the video on Twitter back in May, I immediately showed it to my day-job colleagues. Then I made a poster for our cubicles:


Sometimes we need a reminder to just go with it, whether “it” is a ridiculous idea coming from your own skull cabinet or from someone whose paid invoice feeds you so you don’t die.

Print your own Put a Saddle On It poster, free for personal use.

I’d love to hear about your own Battle Cats! Comment below or tweet/DM me @LaratheLark


[Download] Printable 2020-2021 Quarterly Calendar

I was hoping to get this up before the beginning of the school year, but I didn’t get any time off between July and September (and had to recreate the calendar from scratch! Arg!). But now I’m sharing 2 years at once to get you through 2021. 😃 

Find 2019’s calendar here

Plan Several Months at Once with a Quarterly Calendar

I’ve been using this quarterly calendar since 2015 as a family planner, color-coding events and appointments for each family member. We can see the whole year at a glance, and I use it daily! It also works really well for planning out projects. You could also use highlighters to create Gantt Charts on your calendar.

These are super simple, and I’m letting you download them for free. The only conditions are that you may not upload this calendar to your own site, you may not redistribute it (you can send people here, though), and you can’t profit from the calendar in any way. If you want to profit from a quarterly calendar, you’ll have to make one yourself, from scratch. 💛

Subscribe to my blog (don’t worry, you won’t get many updates from me!), and then download the grayscale calendar by clicking on the links in this sentence or on the image link below:
2020 Calendar Grayscale

Related posts

Love charts? Love planning? Need help with either? You might be interested in these posts:

What are you most looking forward to in 2020 or 2021?