S.M.A.R.T. Goals

 Setting goals is an important way to help us achieve the big goals we have set for ourselves. If you have the ultimate goal of getting published, setting smaller goals along the way is crucial. You have to write a book, edit the book, look for agents, and write a query letter. And that's just the basics. Each of those goals has smaller goals within them to help us get to the end.
Courtesy Kfuot001

The question is, are you setting SMART goals. Smart goals are:
Time Sensitive

Let's look at an example. Here is a goal that is not smart: I want to work on my book.

But what does that look like? Are you going to write, research, outline, think about it? The first part of a smart goal is being specific. So now our goal is: I want to add more words to my book.

How much? The second part of our goal needs to be measurable. New goal: I want to add 20,000 more words to my book.

How are you going to do that? Are you going to write new scenes or go back and edit existing scenes? You goal needs to state the specific action you plan to take. Another thing to think about when it comes to the actionable part of your goal is making sure this is something you have control over. Getting an agent is certainly actionable, but you don't have control over it. You can write a great book, pick the right agents to query and craft a killer query letter. Those are things you can do to work toward getting an agent, but you can't make an agent sign you on as a client.  So now our goal is: I want to write 20,000 words in new scenes for my book.

Can you do that? I'm all for pushing yourself to do things outside the comfort zone. Maybe 20K words is realistic for you, but maybe you know you have a deadline coming up for two other projects and that huge commitment at your kids school and whatever else is going on. Your goal should be a stretch, but it needs to be realistic. If you only have 3 hours to commit to writing then 20K words probably isn't a good idea. New goal: I want to write 5K words in new scenes for my book.

When? The last part of our goal is setting a time frame for when this will be accomplished. You might want to set small daily goals, larger weekly goals, or even larger monthly goals. Maybe you want to set some in several different time frames. It doesn't matter how you do this as long as you set a time. Without this, your goal can stretch indefinitely.

Our final goal is : I will write 5K words in new scenes for my book this week.

There is no wiggle room here to make excuses about how some other action qualifies as accomplishing this goal. If you follow these steps, you can set smart goals that, if accomplished, can get you one step closer to achieving the goals that keep us all dreaming.