A lot of people struggle with making goals they stick to for all sorts of things, writers included. So, today we’ll be talking about how to make goals you’ll actually follow through! The main thing is the type of goal you set for yourself, so let’s get started!
The Goal System
One of the best ways I like to create goals is by using the S.M.A.R.T Goal system. While I’d applied a lot of aspects beforehand, I learned about the system name a few years ago when I became a volunteer tutor at my school, and we used this for the academic goals of students.
The letters stand for different elements of the goal; Specific, Measured, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. I’m not sure how widespread the system is, but it’s really useful for ensuring you’ll meet your goals!
Let’s dive into the different elements.
A goal should be specific, rather than just a vague notion of what you’d like to do. Rather than “I will write,” you could have a goal that starts at “I will write the first chapter of my novel.”
Get as specific as possible, because this will make the goal much clearer in your mind. Being specific makes you identify what exactly you are looking to accomplish, and gives you a more concrete idea of when you’ve completed it.
Your goals also need to be quantifiable. Goals like “Become an awesome writer,” are impossible to measure, so you’ll never really know if you achieve them, and you won’t have any clue how. Instead, maybe start at “Practice writing and read an article of writing advice everyday.”
Make sure that you have a finite quantity t your goal, or else it won’t really go anywhere (and you won’t be able to tell if it does!).
Your goals need to be something you can realistically achieve. “Be the best writer ever,” isn’t something that can be objectively achieved, so it can’t be your goal. Just like “Write 500, 000 pages per day,” wouldn’t be possible.
Pick a goal that challenges you, but that isn’t so far out there you can never reach it. It’s great to have big aspirations, keep those, but when it comes to setting target goals it’s best to stick to things you have the capability to achieve. It only discourages you to feel that you fail constantly to meet your goals, so set ones that are actually possible for you. When you attain those goals, the reward you feel is often what drives you to continue with meeting them!
Why is the goal important to you? It’s important to make goals that are important to you, or you won’t have the motivation to follow them. If you don’t like horror books in the slightest, why do you have a goal to read one every week? How is it benefiting you?
Make goals that you are passionate about, that you have some reason to work towards. Rather than setting goals that don’t matter to you, focus on what’s important. Maybe your beta readers pointed out some unnatural dialogue, and you really want to improve–that can be a good motivation for a goal such as “I will take notes of nearby dialogue every morning at the coffee shop, and practice by using them in at least one quick story/scene.”
This might be the most important point. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, the odds are it won’t get done. It can just get pushed off and pushed off, because there’s no pressure at all. Goals like we did before, “I will finish the first chapter of my novel,” are great to start with, but we need to add more. Try, “I will finish the first chapter of my novel by Tuesday night, through writing 250 words each day.”
By adding a deadline, you can hold yourself more accountable for your goals. No timeline means no need to finish.
In short, make sure that your goals are specific, measured, attainable, relevant, and timed. Ask yourself:
What exactly does my goal entail?
How will I know I’ve achieved it?
Is it possible to achieve?
Why do I want to achieve it?
How long do I have to achieve it?
Do you have another way of setting goals you stick to? Do you use the S.M.A.R.T system?
Thanks so much for reading! 🙂 I post new content on Saturdays, so be sure to follow and stay up-to-date!
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I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to drop a comment, or contact me! You can find me @smpearceauthor on social media, and at email@example.com 🙂
Also, if you want an awesome YA dystopian/sci-fi book to read, check out OUTLIERS 😉
With all of this in mind, go out and write your masterpiece!