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Goal Setting 101

Goal setting is a powerful process that allows you to formulate a plan for achieving everything you want out of your life and your career.

Following the 11 steps outlined below will enable you to focus your energy, and avoid wasting valuable time and resources in areas that are not in alignment with your life and career goals.

  1. Be specific about what you want.

The more specific you are about what you want to achieve, the more likely it is that you will achieve it. By knowing exactly what you want the outcome to be, it is also much  easier it is to stay on track and not get distracted.

Example: A general goal would be: “I want to write a book.” A specific goal would be: “I am going to write 5 pages a day.”

  1. Make sure the goal that you set is measurable.

Another easy way to stay motivated and on track is to make sure that you have measurable criteria built in, such as target dates, amounts, and action steps. Measurable criteria is anything that can be checked off that can give you an idea of your progress.

In the previous example, writing 5 pages a day would be a measurable criteria.

  1. Make sure your goal is realistic and attainable.

Your goals should be doable and should also be something that you truly believe that you can achieve. Examine your goals carefully and make sure that you have the qualifications, resources, and skills necessary to accomplish them. If not, then you may need to set a more attainable, lesser goal that can set you up to attain the bigger goal.

Perhaps you need to take a course on how to plot a novel. Enroll and learn the skills that will take you to the next step.

  1. Your goal should excite you.

Whatever excites and thrills you also inspires and motivates you. When you begin with goals that are fueled by your passion, you are already half-way there.

  1. Make your goal timely.

Setting a definitive time frame for the completion of your goals makes them seem more real to you, and helps keep you on track. Knowing there is a deadline creates an increased sense of urgency to take action, that might not be there otherwise.

Instead of saying “someday” set a definitive time frame, such as, “I am going to complete the first draft by August 1, 2016.”

  1. Write it down.

Writing your goals down keeps helps to cement them in your mind and provides visual confirmation of your commitment to obtaining your dreams. A wonderful way to keep your desires and goals top-of-mind is to keep a goal journal and track your progress daily or weekly.

  1. Break it down.

If your goal seems daunting or too big to handle right off the bat, then break it down into several smaller, more manageable goals.

Using our novel example, it might be daunting to think about producing a full manuscript, so work backward and think about all the steps that are required to get to the end result. For instance: your initial breakdown might look something like this:

  • Final Draft
  • Revision 2
  • Second Draft
  • First or Rough Draft
  • Plot Outline or Story Skeleton
  • 5-page synopsis
  • Deep Character Analysis
  • 1-page synopsis
  • Character Sketches
  • 1-paragraph synopsis
  • Create Premise
  • Determine genre

In the above example, you can see that the first goal, the step at the bottom of the list, would be to determine the genre of your new novel. Once that is complete, then you would proceed up the outline to the next step of creating a premise, and so on. You may even find that as you move through it, you will find additional goals to add that will help keep your goal of writing a novel manageable and keep you on track.

  1. Take actionable steps.

For each individual goal, make a list (ie: an action plan) of the steps that you need to take to begin moving forward, then begin taking whatever action is indicated.

For example, if you are new to writing and are not sure what type of genre you want to select for your new novel, you might need to repeat the process from #7, which might include researching different genres and subgenres, to learn what kinds of criteria classify each one and determine if your idea for your novel fits.

  1. Be open to change.

After you begin taking action towards your goal, you may experience a few unexpected obstacles and snags. Don’t get discouraged, simply stop and reevaluate your action plan and make any necessary changes so that you can continue moving forward. It might be necessary to go through the above steps again and make adjustments.

  1. Reward your success.

Set up some type of benefit system and reward yourself for successfully reaching certain milestones along the way to your goals. Rewards help to acknowledge your hard work and provide additional incentives to keep on track.


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