Set Smart Goals and Boost Your Chance of Success

One trick from the 1950’s that you must use in your modern business to avoid failure.

It may come as a surprise to you that a process for goal setting which originated in the 1950’s could still be effective in your modern writing career or business.

But believe it or not, without this one technique, your business is setup for failure.

The SMART process of goal setting became well-known in the education arena thanks in part to the extensive Professional Learning Community work by Rick and Becky DeFour.

But the concept of SMART goals was originally associated with Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management (1954). Fifteen years before I was born! I first heard about Peter Drucker, when I was an Elementary Education major in 1988.

In the 1990’s, SMART goals was a popular trend for adult learning curriculum to enhance accountability and productivity.

This meant, throughout my decade as a community education instructor, certified life skills facilitator, and program coordinator at the college, the SMART goals process was an ever present focus for me.

Now, SMART goals are used in just about every phase of life, including healthcare, fitness, counseling/therapy, manufacturing, agriculture, HR/recruiting, big business, marketing, and so many others.

What Are SMART Goals?

It should come as no surprise then that SMART goals can be effective for writers and small business owners.

There have been several versions or variations of SMART goals over the decades but for most people SMART goals are ones that are:

S-pecific (clearly identified or defined)
M-easurable (something quantifiable that can be monitored, counted, and tracked)
A-chievable (under your control or influence)
R-ealistic or Relevant (a stretch from current status but not too much)
T-imely (they have a deadline or due date)

SMART Goals for Writers

As a writer, it can be very motivating to set and meet an annual income goal but you can take that one step further and set SMART goals for your writing business. These will help you to not only meet your income goal, but will help you to know what your next steps should be.

SMART goals guide the decisions you make for your business at any given point.

You can create SMART goals for your own business. Think about what your goal is for your business for the year. Do you want to launch a course? Or start a YouTube channel? Maybe you know you need to build your email list or launch a website or start a blog.

Whatever your goal is, write it down on a piece of paper.

Make it Specific

Now look at your goal and make sure it’s specific. Will you know when it’s accomplished? Is it something concrete you can do?

Here’s an example:

Goal: I want to build my email list.

Specific Goal: I want to double the number of subscribers on my email list.

Make it Measurable

Now that you have a specific goal, you need to make sure it’s something that you can measure.

It’s important to be able to monitor your progress and see that you are moving closer to your goal.

Measurable Goal: I want to build my email list from 100 people to 1,000 people.

Make it Achievable

Now that you have a measurable goal, you need to make sure it’s a goal you can achieve.

What is required to start your goal? Who will you enlist to help you? Is it doable and under your control?

I want to build my email list to 1,000 people and to do that I need to take an email marketing course, for example.

Make Goals Relevant or Realistic

Shaunta Grimes, founder of Ninja Writers has a great way to do this using an editorial plan she developed.

I used it about six months ago to set a goal for myself of replacing my fixed income with my writing income by December 2020. I’m halfway to meeting that goal already! By the way if you’re not already in the Ninja Writers club, I highly recommend it.

If your current email list is 100, it’s probably not realistic to set a goal of 100,000 in a year. But a goal of 1,000 in six months might be totally realistic for you.

Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s something you have control over and can realistically get done using your own efforts.

Make Your Goals Timely

The last piece of the puzzle for SMART goal planning is the T for Timely. This means giving yourself a deadline to accomplish your goal. By setting a deadline, you give yourself that little push needed to keep you from procrastinating.

This is especially important for writers who are self-employed. Set a deadline and stick to it.

Break big goals into smaller, sub-goals and give those deadlines too.

If you find you’re having trouble making progress toward your goals, it can help to post them on display where you will see them often throughout the day. It can also help to get an accountability partner or group to help you stay on track and keep you motivated.

Now that you’ve got the idea, I can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year!

If you struggle with finding clients, get my step by step guide to using Twitter’s advanced search feature to find writing clients.