Okay, I admit it, I’m a bit behind. But since there’s a meme on Facebook that says January was a practice month, that 2019 started with February, I’m on time!
Because it is the new year, it’s time to talk about goals. Or rather about goal-making.
Not successful at achieving your goals? Maybe I can help.
The SMART goal approach is becoming a hot item among writers; well, at least with two, Maris Soule and Diane Burton I know through my writer’s group, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America (MMRWA). In fact, both recently blogged about making 2019 goals using the SMART method.
I learned about SMART goals when I taught English classes at Davenport University, a business college. Our students saw the SMART goals methodology used in most of their classes. All the committees I worked on used them, too. In those committees, spreadsheets were used to identify and then track our goals.
Is it any wonder I learned to love spreadsheets? Well, actually, no. I was already in love with spreadsheets before my academic employment. My love for spreadsheets occurred when I was working at W.K. Kellogg Institute for food & nutrition research, where I was a liaison between the cooks there and the procurement department at Kellogg headquarters. I had a wonderful supervisor who taught me how to create cell formulas and create pages that talked to each other. Some of those skills I was able to teach to my academic peers, and now I continue teaching those skills to my writer friends.
I’m big on goals. So are Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, and Norman Vincent Peale. These three men, through their books which I read in my 20s, showed me the value of having SMART goals, even though they weren’t called SMART back then. Well, at least, not in their books.
I’m a fan of making to-do lists, too. Daily ones. So, naturally, my goals end up on my daily to-do lists. I have a master lifetime list of goals, a yearly list, which then gets broken down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Do I achieve all these goals? Heavens no. But, here’s the secret. Because of these lists, I achieve way more than I if I didn’t have goals or the lists.
Only when I start getting specific with the weekly and daily tasks is when I start crossing off items. The more items I cross off the list, the more I want to do. It’s truly addictive. And, there’s something magical about writing the goals down. If you’re already a list maker, you already know the best part of any list is crossing it off the items. It’s a rare day, though, when I cross off all tasks.
So, what is the SMART goal? It’s an acronym for:
SMART goals are why I love our writing group spreadsheet so much, because it’s a way to Measure the Specific, Time-Bound, Action-Oriented, Realistic, monthly, writing goals we individually set up. I use present tense verbs, or as infinitives (To + Verb) when writing the goals:
- To finish editing [book title]
- To clean out files
- Research [book title]
- Write one chapter of [book title]
I then take those goals and break them down into daily, sizeable chunks, doable in 10-15 minutes, others in an hour or so and place them in planner’s calendar. In the years I’ve been doing this, there’s only one month where I completed all the goals. Most of the time, I feel good to accomplished half of them.
Without the spreadsheet, without the SMART goals, I wouldn’t be doing much. Yup, I’m that lazy. That forgetful. Get that sidetracked. I refer to my list multiple times throughout the day.
Bottom line, it really doesn’t take a new year to create new opportunities. Each day is a new opportunity to start a SMART goal, even at 11:55 p.m. After all, a lot can be done in five minutes. Such as creating a goals list for the year.
So, what are my goals for this year?
- To republish two of my first three books published. The first one, Determined Hearts, is already published.
- To plot out the four remaining novellas in my Laurel Ridge novella series. The first one, Shattered Dreams, is published. #2 & #3 have the first drafts written. Ideally, I’d like to write the first drafts for the remaining four, then start publishing them at the end of this year and next.
- To edit 2-3 screenplays and publish them. My first screenplay, David & Goliath is already published.
- To sort materials for writing how-to series
- To plot out a historical (can’t decide if as a novel or a screenplay)
- To write quarterly blogs (A huge improvement over last year’s few postings)
- To schedule on calendar promotional days throughout the year. DONE!!! (On these days, I’ll spend creating Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest promotional posts and/or ads. During 2018, I recognized I was doing promotions 80% of the time, writing only 20%. I want to flip those percentages.)
Actually, I do have a few more goals, but you get the idea. And you can see how I cross them off and write DONE at the end of the line. It’s both thrilling and fulfilling to write DONE.
And, that’s what this blog is: DONE! One-quarter of the way done for this quarter’s blogs.
So, how about you? Do you use SMART goals? Does this blog make you want to try using them?