Goals for 2018: Get S.M.A.R.T. — Why to Write Goals Down and How to Achieve Your Goals

Before I tell you about my goals for 2018, I have to note that at the beginning of January thirty-six years ago, my youngest spawn came reluctantly into the world. Despite my doctor’s assurances that I had not been pregnant for eleven months, I can just as positively assure you such was indeed the case. The only way to dislodge the little alien was by C-section which was not the most fun I’ve ever had.

But, of course, it was worth it.

That kid is now an intelligent, adventurous, and open-minded young man who constantly amazes me.  I live vicariously through his and his sister’s adventures.

So happy birthday, Kris! (If he was a really good son, he would post a comment. We’ll see how that goes.)

Goals for a Happy New Year

Goals and Me

With the New Year, the human writer’s instincts lead her to make goals—a thinly veiled procrastination device.

Back in the day when I was a full time teacher, the administrative types (i.e. the Empire) required teachers undergo evaluations each year. No problem because I was an awesome teacher, but the time spent preparing for, doing, and following up didn’t seem to be justified by the results.

Oh, how I hated the paperwork that accompanied this yearly trek into hell. Stupid, Hopeless, Inconsequential Twaddle was my take on the soul-sapping, creativity-draining, time-wasting busy work of writing goals. In retrospect, a substantial portion of my dislike may have had its roots in the fact that someone was telling me what to do. And, of course, I would have much rather been writing books.

Come to think of it, most of my goals were total works of fiction, so writing goals actually helped prepare me for a career as a fantasy writer.

I have since come to believe that creatively written S.M.A.R.T goals may not be so bad after all.

S.M.A.R.T Goals in a nutshell

If you need a refresher, here’s what a S.M.A.R.T goal is.

S=Specific

  • This is the what, when, why, and how. The main wording of the goal should include these things.

M=Measurable

  • Write in the tangible evidence you can use to prove you’ve met the goal.

A=Achievable

  • Here’s the part where many people have a problem. Your goal must be something in your control to do. I do not have control over how many people buy my books (barring some sort of mass hostage situation which isn’t entirely out of the question), but I do have control over how many books I put out and what methods I use to make the reading public aware of them.

R=Results-focused

  • Don’t hinge a goal on the results, but on actions taken toward reaching the desired results. Mileage may vary. It’s not a Pass/Fail situation—it’s a Mastery course. If, despite all my best efforts, I don’t get the desired results this year, I don’t count it as a fail. I’ve successfully found one way that doesn’t work. I can change my approach and try it again next year. I may want the same results, but I will have a new plan for achieving them.

T=Time-bound

  • While the entire goal has a one-year expiration date, I’ll break it down into more manageable bite-sized chunks. I’ll check on progress regularly and tweak accordingly. This works for losing weight too. Twenty pounds sounds like a lot, but if you break it down to 1.6 pounds per month, it seems much more doable.

And here is where I must advise in the most stringent terms that you plan to reward yourself when you meet these checkpoint goals. Write it into the goal!!

Reward yourself for meeting your goal.

I came up with no fewer than 6 goals for the New Year. Here is one I’m willing to make public.  While some advise to publicize the hell out of your goals, others suggest the added strain of trying to save face may be counter-productive. I am of the latter way of thinking.

My goal #1 for 2018 is as follows and to wit:

Goal 1: I will produce weekly blog posts of 500 words +/- and promote with Twitter, FB, and other social media sites a minimum of 10x per week to increase brand recognition, increase contacts on Twitter and FB, increase traffic to website, add to newsletter subscribers, and improve book sales.

  • By Dec. 31, 2018, I will have 52 posts and a spreadsheet of media content for each.
  • Success for this goal will be measured by the existence of blog posts and media content as well as running totals of followers.
  • I’ll also assess followers and web traffic along with book sales using informal polls and other metrics to be determined.
  • I’ll reassess quarterly.
  • If  I meet the goal for the quarter, I get a guilt-free day away from the computer. No email, no social media, no WIP, no nagging deadlines. Maybe a movie  and dinner out or a spa day, depending on funds.

This goal breaks down something like this:

DateEvidence 1Evidence 2Evidence 3
March 2111 blog postsSpreadsheet of at least 110 promosCheck follower increases on Twitter, FB, email list, and book sales
June 2124 blog posts240 promosCheck follower increases on Twitter, FB, email list, and book sales
Sept. 2138 blog posts380 promosCheck follower increases on Twitter, FB, email list, and book sales
Dec 2151 blog posts510 promosCheck follower increases on Twitter, FB, email list, and book sales

So there you have it. A written record of 1 thing I hope to accomplish by the end of 2018. You’ll notice the “other metrics to be determined.” Readership and website hits as well as keeping track of sales and followers involve numbers—and my brain does not compute. If anyone knows an easy—and I mean idiot-proof –way to do any of this—let me know.

 

Okay!! I’ve shown you mine. Time

for you to show me yours.

 

You don’t have to write it up formally, but what resolution or goal do you most want to achieve this year?

Whatever your goals and dreams are for 2018–May you achieve them all with a 20% bonus for reading this post!

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