Setting SMART Goals for writers
The beginning of a new year will always fill people with ideas of change and motivation to achieve their goals, but several weeks in and it is easy to slip back into the old ‘comfortable’ way of doing things, before you know it, the goals are a distant thought and it’s ‘business as usual’, which is not great for you or your goals.
But you may be asking yourself ‘I don’t have many goals set, I just want to publish my book or lose weight or get that promotion’, whatever the goal is (and as you’re reading a blog which is heavily based around books and publishing, I’m assuming its about working on your book), you should take some time to refocus and plan out how you’ll achieve hitting or even setting your target for 2021.
The good news is that setting targets and goals is easy to do, you just need to be specific and realistic about it. If you look at the world of business, goals are set as S.M.A.R.T goals, meaning that they are:
Specific – This sounds obvious but so many people are vague when it comes to setting a goal, saying you want to write a book in 2021 is a little wishy-washy, setting a goal of writing a book on fishing on the Florida coast, with a word count of 75,000, begins to be more specific and leads on to the next part of a SMART objective.
Measured – Ask yourself, how will I know once I have achieved this goal? You need to have something to measure the achievement with, your goal could be to write your book with a minimum word count of 75,000 words, have it edited, proofread, formatted and a book cover designed. Giving yourself tangible targets that can be measured (after all, you either do them or you don’t) helps you to understand what the specific outcome of your goal will look like. If you don’t know what your outcome/target looks like, you will miss it.
Achievable – This is so important, many people make wild assumptions about how much time and effort they can dedicate to their goal, they work like crazy for the first couple of months and then burn out (the goal is missed, and they go back to their old ways). If you have a goal of 75,000 words break it down into manageable chunks, if you can write just 100 words a day, stick to this.
Realistic – Similar to the achievable aspect of a SMART goal, you should look at making your goals realistic (but challenging) for yourself. For example, if you went to the gym for the first time and decided by the end of week one you want to be benching 500bls, you would leave the gym injured and disillusioned. You would give yourself a more realistic goal at first and lead up to those bigger weights, keeping motivated and free of injuries. The same goes for your goal, make it realistic but still challenging.
Timed – You must set yourself a timeframe, without one your goal becomes undeliverable, it could be to achieve the first draft of your book to a minimum of 75,000 words in 12 months, you need that end date so that you can hold yourself accountable for the goal itself.
SMART goals are used by many successful people within every area of both business and the creative industry, they make your targets clear, hold you accountable for them and help you to set a specific path in achieving each one.
It’s also good to share your goal with someone you trust and review your progress on a regular basis, this is really important if you have a goal which is set over the next 12 months. Taking time to review where you are every month ensures that you can adjust your performance towards the goal as you go (you don’t want to get to the end of the timeframe only to miss it because you should have adjusted something six months prior).
Whatever the specifics of your own goal may be, using a SMART approach to it will certainly increase the chances of your success and will build a greater process for your future projects too.
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