Happy New Year! If you’re still spinning your wheels on the the right way to set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling 2009, read on!
When setting goals, large or small, you need to be S.M.A.R.T. We use this method in my day job to measure our performance.
S.pecific: Don’t generalize. Write down a specific goal. i.e. I will write 500 words every afternoon when the kids are at school. Not: “I will write everyday.”
M.easurable: Put a number on it! I will send out 3 queries per month or I will blog 4x week. Referring back to the “I will write 500 words/day”, to me is more specific than “I will write for 1hour per day.” Some days we work slower than others and “writing” for an hour may melt into checking email, posting on a blog, downloading a free writing program. This way, 500 words is MEASURABLE.
A.ttainable: Your goals should be challenging, but realistic. And you should have an action plan, or steps, that help you reach that end goal. i.e. Last year my goal was to begin a young writers’ group. The steps to do this were: contact the right person in the Junior Room at the library, write a rough plan of what my classes will cover, get help from others who teach writing on ideas and lessons they learned, find resources on writing exercises for kids; examples of young published authors; bring the right attitude! Voila!
R.ealistic: Again, start small and work your way up with step-by-step directions. You can’t build a house without a blueprint. Of course we all have those WILD goals, more on that later!
T.imely: Set a deadline. Some goals will not take the entire year to reach them. Say, you want to write a column for your local paper – give yourself a deadline on when your first article will be in print and work backwards to discover where to start. For those goals that will be a long journey, recognize the milestones as you trek along. Reward yourself in June if you’ve consistently sent out 3 queries a month.
A few more tips:
- Write your goals down now, today. Don’t wait for that epiphany to hit on the perfect goals and steps to get there. It’s trial and error.
- Think of reasons for the inevitable “excuses” and head them off.
- Go in with the right attitude. Attitude is EVERYTHING! Why not write down all of your accomplishments from 2008 to give yourself a boost?
- Commit to it! on paper, verbally with yourself and others.
- Ask for help: swap babysitting to give yourself uninterrupted time to conduct that phone interview; ask your spouse to take the kids out for an afternoon so you can tap into the deep seedlings of creativity; find a writing buddy to hold you accountable and check in weekly.
Let me know your goals! I’ll post mine soon…