Be S.M.A.R.T

By Milli Gilbert

No, really. I know it sounds silly, but… when’s the last time you set a goal? Let’s up the ante a little bit, and ask when’s the last time you actually met a goal you’ve set for yourself?

I know. It’s hard sometimes, especially when life happens. Kids are going crazy, a pipe breaks in the basement or the toilet floods. Maybe the dog is loose, somewhere, in the neighborhood. I get it. There are distractions.

But goals. Be S.M.A.R.T. about them.

Make it Specific. What is your goal? Don’t be generic. “Write” isn’t very specific, and it’s not going to fly.

Make it Measurable. How much progress is expected? “Write words” isn’t very measurable. Sure, I can measure words, but… how many of them am I supposed to write?

Make it Attainable. I don’t know anyone who can write 20,000 words in one day. I don’t think. I sure know I can’t. So I find a number I can do. I know I can hit 2,000 words in a day, if I’m not being too distracted, or if I get on a roll.

Make it Relevant. As in, if your goal is to finish writing the last scene in your last chapter, don’t make your goal be to write a few hundred words for a different story. It won’t help you finish that story that’s almost done.

Make it Timely. Set a deadline. But don’t give yourself 30 minutes to write your 1,000 words if you know it takes you an hour and a half to do it. Remember that “attainable” part? 1,000 words in 30 minutes isn’t attainable if it’s actually more than you can physically do. (I came close to it during NaNo during their little challenges that they did a few times a day.)

I had a deadline for this post. February 17th, 2016. So let’s use this post as my goal. I could just say, “write Happy Authors Guild post for 2/17” (which is actually more detailed than what I actually had, of “write blog-post for HAG”).

Instead, I’m going to say, “Write and schedule a 400-word guest post for Happy Authors Guild by February 16th, 2016, at 11:59 pm.”

It’s Specific – it says everything I need to know.

It’s Measurable – (385 words as of “measurable”) 400 words (I can count those. Or have the word processor, in this case, Google Docs, count them for me).

It’s Attainable – I’ve had plenty of time to do it, but this only took me half an hour or so to write, which I know I can do, if I don’t let anything distract me (thank you, dubstep music without words).

It’s Relevant – I needed to work on this post, and the goal was toward completing it.

It’s Timely – I had a deadline, and I beat it, by more than a whole day (technically, I wrote this on Monday, 2/15, and scheduled it then too).

With any luck, I’ll do this every day, with everything that I need to do. Like getting up. And the dishes. You are already smart – make your goals just as smart, and start crossing items off your Honey-Do lists!

***

Milli Gilbert is a stay-at-home mom who loves to play with words almost as much as she loves to play with her kids. All of her stories involve romance, and maybe a little bit of mystery. But she loves to write about cowboys, shifters, and dragons. And smut. And can usually be found trying to find interesting ways to combine them. She just took off after a cowboy-dragon shifter in search of his one true mate… Don’t worry. She’ll be back. If not, you can find her (and all of her links) on her blog, Hairballs of Genius.

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