Setting Goals – Write out a plan

reflection2012 is looming on the horizon. A new year. New posibilities and the opportunity to start over or set new goals. Real goal setting involves reflection and planning, the ability to reassess and revise in a positive way. Want to join me in setting goals for 2012?

You notice I didn’t say New Years Resolutions. Most of those are done on the fly and we set ourselves up for failure or throw out lofty promises without any real thought or resolve behind them. I’m talking real goals here. Ready?

The reflecting part of the goal-setting process is to look back at this year with an honest eye. No doubting self-talk or downer grumbling allowed! Look at what you’ve accomplished and celebrate that. Yay you!

Perhaps you’re right on track and want to keep up the momentum. Perhaps you’re like me and had a difficult year, always struggling to keep up or had no goals to start with. Whatever the situation, we all need to set our future goals with a workable plan in mind. There is a method for that: SMART Goals. Several ‘net sites can walk you through setting SMART goals, and some even have a worksheet. The verbiage varies slightly, but for writing purposes, I use this:

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time-sensitive.

What does that mean? Check out the links I’ve provided, for more in-depth explanations, but basically, it means no lofty goals like:

Be a NYT best-selling author in 2012. 😦

Oh, please! That’s setting yourself up for failure because you can’t measure your progress, or set specific milestones to get there. The realization of that ‘goal’ is not in your control. It involves too many outside influences.  But you can set a goal like:

Increase my 2012 writing output by 20% over 2011.

That’s doable, with a specific percentage, a specified target.
It’s measurable (if you know what your output or approximate output was in 2011).
It’s attainable. Especially if you break it down into monthly, weekly, or daily goals and track your progress at regular intervals so you can adjust to write more or less, depending on the circumstances.
It’s realistic. You’re working toward gradual increases. Now if your input for 2011 was dismal and way less than 2010, you might want to base your percentage on 2010’s output instead. But keep it within a range you can accomplish and still be a challenge.
It’s time-sensitive. One year. You’ve got 365 days in 2012 to accomplish this goal.

For me, it’s easier to accomplish goals this way. Let’s break this goal down and examine it. Using a nice round number, let’s say 2011’s output was 100,000 words.
100,ooo times 20% is 120,000 words for 2012.
120,000 divided by 365 is an increase of 329 words a day or about 1.5 pages. Doable?

Look at it again with the realistic factor in mind. Do you work a day job, have kids, volunteer, etc. Can you find time to write another 1.5 pages? Be honest! Only you know what kind of goal is realistic for you and your life/schedule/plan. If 1 page is all you think you can manage. Then set that goal. If you’ve been self-indulgent in 2010, perhaps you need to push yourself to 2.5 or 3 pages more per day. This is where honest, self-reflection is important.

If you have questions or comments, jump right in! I’d be glad to discuss.

About Annie Rayburn/Carol Burnside

As an author of sizzling romance, Annie takes contemporary settings. and incorporates twists with sci-fi and paranormal elements.
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4 Responses to Setting Goals – Write out a plan

  1. Michele says:

    Before I retired, I worked for an agency as a consultant to counties and nonprofits who administered state grants for programs that enhanced services to families. The SMART model was one we used with our grantees, as well as several other variations on the same theme. I was planning on using this concept as I developed my goals for the coming year. I, too, don’t look at them as resolutions. I was planning on writing a very similar blog post; you beat me to it!! It makes me believe I’m truly on to something! Good luck to you in developing and achieving the goals you want to accomplish.


  2. tamibrothers says:

    Great advice, Carol/Annie! I plan to reread this in the morning and take a closer look at my goals.
    No NYT best seller wishes, but I do have a few others I want to keep on track!

    Happy New year to you!



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