Friday, January 10, 2014


There's a trick to goal setting.  I haven't mastered it, but I'm gaining ground.  I'm learning how I work and what inspires me to want to reach my goals.

Yes, we're already two weeks into a new year.  No, it isn't too late to set goals.  If you've already set your goals for the year, congratulations!  You're on the road to reaching your goal.  You've already begun.

But have you really set goals in a smart way, not simply picked something that sounded good and made it your goal?

If you haven't yet set your goals or your goals could use some tweaking, there are ways to do that.

I'm going to focus on writing goals, although the nuts and bolts of goal setting work for everything in life.  Exercise?  Weight loss?  Education?  Employment?  Everything we can set goals for should be done in a way that doesn't set us up for failure.

Your goal is to have a book published by one of the Big Five publishers?  A lofty goal, indeed!  But you really don't have control of this goal.  Instead, a goal of writing a complete book (including editing and polishing) and submitting it to one of the Big Five publishers would be practical.  Why?  Because we have no control over what one publisher or another will buy.  Well, unless you're J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, or one of the "biggies."  Set up your goal(s) for success!  Having that book published is a dream.  Your goals are there to lead you to that dream.

Here's the first step in setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals.


Know what your goal is.  This sounds easy, but it isn't always as simple as it seems.  Ask yourself some questions, as you look at your goal.  Answer them, and you're on your way to setting a goal.
  • Who?  Simple, huh?  This goal is for you, right?  You're not doing this for someone else, you're doing it for you.
  • What?  Again, one of the tricky questions.  Your dream is to become published by one of the Big Five or even yourself.  Yes, it's okay in today's ultra-modern world to indie/self-publish your book.  Check out Amanda Hocking and others. But let's be realistic and make that goal to write a book.  After all, a book can't be published (dream) if you don't write the book (goal).
  • When?  Well, now is a good time.☺ Waiting until June or September probably isn't a good idea, especially if this is your first book.  We now have 50 weeks left in 2014.  It's definitely doable, if you have a goal.
  • Where?  When it comes to writing a book, there's no specific place to do it.  I've written in my car, at my daughter's volleyball games, early in the morning, late at night, middle of the day, lunch breaks at the day job.  In an office, at a dining room table, in a car (yes, I do that often), in a park.  You name it, writing can happen anywhere.  But the best way to reach your goal is to find a specific place and time to do the biggest portion of your writing.  Make it a goal to write X number of words or pages every day or five days a week or even on weekends, if that's the only time available.  Make it a goal, stick to it, and it becomes a habit.
  • Why?  Know why you want to do this.  Has writing a book been a lifelong dream?  Do you want to prove to yourself (and that English teacher in high school) that you can?  Whatever the reason, it's yours, not someone else's.  But don't do it simply on a lark.  Make it real.
  • How?  Ah, now we come down to the nitty-gritty.  Think of your life.  What demands are made on you by others?  Are you a mom with small children?  Do you have a full-time job that keeps you away from writing for eight to nine hours a day?  Do you already have commitments that must be met?  Any or all of those things won't bring your goal to a screeching halt.  There are still those other times.  It may mean giving up something else you enjoy.  Do you watch television in the evenings?  Is there one, hour-long show you can live without?  Or two half-hour long shows?  Cut out the things that aren't the most important to you (family doesn't count), and use that time to reach your goal.  If dreaming is all you want to do, that's okay.  But if you truly want to make that dream come true, start doing.
Be SMART.  Don't set yourself up for failure.  Don't set goals that aren't attainable.

Next week we'll look at the next to steps in Goal Setting: Measurable/Motivational and Attainable/Accountable.  Until then, start thinking about your goal, start setting it up.  Make your goal specific.  Goals aren't set in stone, once they're made.  They can always be adjusted.  But goals not set are only dreams.  Make your dream a goal, and you're on your way to achieving it.
In everything the ends well defined are the secret of durable success. ~ Victor Cousins


Stacie VanE said...

This is awesome advice. I need to create SMART goals for a writing program, so this really helps. Thanks!

Rox Delaney said...

Stacie, I'm so glad you found something useful! Stop by again for more. :)