If you are going to set goals for 2017, you need to think SMART!
Unlike goals, promises and resolutions are full of hot air.
Those flighty resolutions float through our minds at the fresh, breezy start of January. They usually settle, forgotten in the corners of our minds before that groundhog pokes his head out.
But a real, workable, practical, life-changing goals look entirely different. Plans that are still a part of your life in March and April will be SMART.
Are Your Goals SMART Enough For 2017?
Are they SPECIFIC? This means you envision tasks that are easy to visualize. For example, In 2017, I want to read 100 books, I want to write 500,000 new words and I want to complete two nonfiction proposals. These goals are way more specific than “read more, write more, send stuff out.” As you think about your goals for 2017, rewrite them into the most specific way possible, use numbers not just vague adjectives.
Are they MEASURABLE? Your goals should be a black and white event — they should either be done or not be done. If you have something measurable, say write 500,000 new words in 2017, then you would know what you’d have to write on the average daily to meet that goal. (That’s 1370 words a day, in case you’re wondering. ) You’d know what you would do to make the words up if you missed a day. You’d be able to accurately measure, as the year progressed, if you are going to meet your goal or not. Are your goals measurable? Can you break them down to a daily task? A weekly one?
Are they ATTAINABLE? This may be the hardest part of goal setting: What are you really capable of? Does your reach exceed your grasp? I know that if I say I’m going to do Couch25K in 2017, that I probably won’t. As much as I’d like to meet that goal, think exercising three times a week is a much more attainable. To find the most attainable goal, you’ll need to know your strengths and weaknesses well. You’ll also need to admit where you’ve failed in the past. But this is the nice thing about goals and the New Year: It’s never too late to start over. Be honest with yourself and check that your goals are attainable.
Are they REALISTIC? It’s one thing to dream big, it’s quite another to understand what really could happen and adjust your dreams accordingly. Do you have an adequate understanding of your other time commitments so you can meet this goal regularly? It also probably wouldn’t hurt you to ask a trusted friend if they think that your goals are realistic. And as disappointing as it may be, a little adjustment of the goal could be called for. It’s better to have a realistic goal you can make than break your heart later after reaching for the impossible.
Are they TIMELY? What are the time constraints you’ve put on yourself for this goal? Is this goal something that you must do now, or would it better to wait for another time? Can you address the meeting of this goal on a regular basis throughout the course of a year? We only have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year to accomplish what we want. Analyze your time well and set your goals to fit between your needs and commitments.
Your goals for 2017 should be so much more than wishful thinking and broken resolutions.
Successful writers plan for success. And if you are to be successful, you will need to think about how each of your goals meet these requirements.
2017 will be a great year, if you plan it the SMART way!
Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community.