SMART Targets

As part of my drive to achieve my New Year’s Resolutions, and to help the other members of Unofficial Writer’s Club achieve theirs (so called because it is not the official Writer’s Club of our hometown, but one we started between us because the official one only runs once a month) we are setting ourselves five SMART targets a week.

My previous experience with goals and targets has often been of disappointment and failure. It was my Stepdad who said my targets weren’t SMART.

It’s an acronym I’m sure many people are familiar with, which is intended to help plan goals and targets you stand a chance of completing.

It stands for:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Timely

There are other variations that can apply to different contexts, but those are the ones that are most relevant to us. The rest can be found on Wikipedia.

So, my overall goals for 2013 I’ve tried to make specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely, but inevitably they are big goals, and to achieve them I need to break them down into more achievable chunks.

I’m trying to link my targets to my five resolutions, and where that’s not practical setting myself something random that I want to achieve that week relating to writing. For example, one of my resolutions is to read four books a month, 1 self-pub, 1 review book, 1 borrowed, 1 from my shelf. This in itself is a very achievable goal, which doesn’t really need much breakdown, as it’s monthly anyway, but this week I’ve set myself the target to read my Self Published book of the month, Can’t Live Without by Joanne Phillips. It will help me ensure that I don’t end up with four books to read on the last weekend of the month!

For my more vague goals, e.g. write a new novel, I’m trying to break it down into smaller steps to ensure I am ready to get started when February rolls around (I’m having January to finish current projects) and will be able to continue. A SMART target I set myself was to plot an outline for the novel. This has helped me get a step closer to writing it, and was much more achievable than just flat ‘write a novel.’

Of course, this is nothing new. It’s been used by loads of people for many years. But I’m hoping it’s a system that will help me to ensure I’m not sat feeling despondent come December because I’ve not achieved what I wanted to.

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