How to Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Writing Goals
Goal-setting is a crucial part of improving your writing and achieving your dreams of finishing your books and getting published. When setting writing goals, it’s important to make sure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound…then don’t forget to Evaluate and Revise them as you go if you need to. Once you’ve set these parameters for your goal-setting process, you can start working on them!
Let’s go over these terms and what they are all about!
S - Be Specific about your goal.
Having a clear, concise goal can help you achieve more.
Your goal should be specific and defined in terms of actions. For example, instead of saying “I want to write a book,” you could say “I will write one chapter per week for one month.” It is important to also include a time frame for the goal. If you’ve set out on a mission to write a book, do it in a way that gives yourself enough time to achieve your target but not so much time that it becomes overwhelming or unrealistic–and make sure that this timeframe is realistic for YOU!
Finally, define what exactly achieving this goal will mean for YOU: what changes do you want to see? How will achieving this change impact your life?
M - Ensure your goal is Measurable.
When you’re setting your goals, make them measurable. A goal that is not measurable is like a car without a steering wheel; it might be moving, but you don’t know where it’s going.
Measurable goals are clear and specific. They should also be realistic–that means they can be achieved with reasonable effort by the person who sets them (and probably others as well). Measurable goals have a time frame attached to them so that you know when they’ll be achieved and how long it will take for them to happen. Finally, if someone else could measure your success at achieving your goal using the same criteria as you did when writing down the goal itself then congratulations! You’ve got yourself an M-worthy objective!
A - Make sure your goal is Attainable for you.
Make sure your goal is attainable for YOU. You need to be realistic about what you can achieve, and not be afraid to set the bar high and then revise it if necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or change your goal if necessary. This is a goal for you, and only you. Make sure it’s important to you.
R - Goals need to be Realistic to the goal-setter.
Realistic: This is probably the most important part of setting a goal. You need to be realistic about what you can achieve and how quickly you can achieve it. If your goal is too ambitious, then it will be difficult or impossible for you to achieve in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if your goal was “I want to become a famous musician by next week,” then this would not be considered a realistic goal because there are many factors involved with becoming famous (talent, connections, hard work, etc.) even if all those things lined up perfectly for someone with no musical experience whatsoever (which rarely happens), they still would not reach their goal within such a short period of time. Making sure goals are realistic helps you set yourself up for success.
Easy: Goals should also not be set too easy — this means that the task isn’t challenging enough for someone who has already achieved some level of success before setting their sights on something new. Far away in time: The ideal length between now and when we expect ourselves or others will achieve our goals should be long enough so that we don’t feel overwhelmed by what needs doing but short enough so as not to lose sight of our objectives altogether over time.
T - You need to make sure your goal is Time-bound.
Time-bound goals are those that have an end date. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people set goals without setting a deadline for themselves to achieve them. For example, one of our past clients wanted to finish writing a book and write more regularly because they felt like they needed to just finish their book ASAP. They were using this goal as motivation but hadn’t really thought about when they would actually reach their goal or what would happen if they didn’t reach it. If we set our minds on something and then don’t do anything about it until later, we’re not going to get very far!
To avoid this problem and make sure your goals are time-bound:
- Set a deadline so that you know exactly when you want to have your task completed (for example “June 1st” or “this Friday”). Make sure there is no room for doubt about whether or not the task was done by then; write down everything that needs doing and make sure there aren’t any missing steps before checking off the box! You could even create checklists for yourself so that nothing slips through the cracks during busy times at work/school etc.
This is where the S.M.A.R.T. acronym usually ends, but we think these last two are just as important for you, too.
E - Regularly Evaluate how your progress toward your goal is going.
Once you’ve set a goal, it’s important to evaluate your progress on a regular basis. This can be a good time to ask yourself a few things:
- Is there anything I need to change about my approach?
- Is this goal still important enough for me to continue pursuing it?
If you find yourself struggling with the first step of achieving your goals (establishing them), consider finding support from others who have been through similar experiences and want to help out. Accountability buddies can help you to go a long way!
R - Revise your goal if necessary.
Use the progress and things you know now about your goal to change the goal to better suit you along the way.
Once you have created a SMART goal, it is important to review your progress and revise the goal as necessary. If you are not making progress towards your goal, then you may need to change its parameters or redefine what success looks like for you. If something has changed in your life since setting this goal (e.g., learning new information about yourself or others), then it may also be time for another round of revisions so that your goals remain relevant and useful in light of these recent developments.
Revising goals can help keep them fresh and relevant over time by ensuring that they continue helping us achieve our desired outcomes even when circumstances change around us
The best way to set goals is by doing them in a way that works for you specifically. You might see friends and family on social media crushing it using a particular goal, style, or idea that works for them, but just like learning styles are unique, so are goals. You get to let yourself be yourself, and work for your own goals exactly how you like to process information and take action.
The key is to be consistent and keep track of your progress toward your goal so that when it’s time to revise or change it, you have enough information to make informed decisions and crush those goals.
Written by Jessica Cassick, M.S., PhD(c)
Jessica Cassick is the CEO of ImagineWe Publishers (Est. 2016), a single mother, a writer, a scholar, and a published author of most of the original children’s Mission Books published in 2018. She uses her writing talent to explore and research a plethora of topics across the publishing world as well as on sense-of-self building, post-traumatic growth, and success. She is a passionate entrepreneur who previously lived life in fast-forward; achieving as many goals as possible with a future-focused mindset. She is now learning to slow down and find balance and peace in the present.