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A well-crafted goal is going to be easier to achieve than a “bucket list” aspirational dream.
Goals should be “Specific”
Specific goals give you a clear direction. Think of it in terms of the journalistic 5W/Y. If it’s to publish a book:
- What genre?
- What length?
- How will you release it?
- Will you publish it yourself or submit it for representation and traditional publishing?
Goals should be “Measurable”
If you have no way of measuring your progress toward a goal, it is difficult to see where you may need to adjust your approach until it’s past the deadline you’ve set and you haven’t attained what you hoped to attain.
The bigger the goal, the more you will need to break it down into smaller items to avoid overwhelm and also to keep your schedule.
Goals should be “Actionable”
Your specific, measurable goals should help you create a task list of actions that map your progress toward your goal.
Example: as part of a 120,000 word thriller, you know you need to schedule an editor, and by scheduling an editor you know you will need to finish a manuscript to send them according to their schedule, and you will need to commission a cover, copy writer, etc.
Follow your production calendar to make sure that you are on track with your goal’s actions.
Goals should be “Relevant” and “Realistic”
The goal needs to be important to you, or why bother? Check in daily and make sure the goal still matters to you or if you need to create a new goal or adjust your goal. Don’t knuckle down to stubbornly finish a goal you no longer desire.
There’s no shame in changing your mind.
You may want to revisit Episode 2: Writer’s Goals, which focuses on knowing your “Why.”
Goals should be “Timed-Based”
If you are adjusting your path, you may need to adjust your production calendar, but otherwise you will follow your attainable schedule to keep on top of the timed elements of your production calendar to stay on track.
Having a deadline allows you to set expectations of whether you are moving toward your goal or not.
If your goal is to publish a book in July, you will need to focus on the goal in order to complete that.
Missing the deadline of a goal, however, does not mean permanent failure, it just means you need to redefine your SMART goal and re-approach.
Determining the timeline of your project may help you decide whether the goal really is “attainable” and “reasonable.”
Bonus Round: Craft your goals in a Positive Way
Focus on being productive in your goal, not on “not procrastinating.”
Think of what you’re going to gain, not what you are denying yourself. Create a daily discipline, don’t tear yourself down with negativity.
It was a quick episode this week, but there’s homework!
Set your 2019 S.M.A.R.T. Goals and let us know what they are!
You can use SMART goals for all aspects of your life. Small wins over time really add up!