During this time of year we’re getting ready to go back to school (well some of us), we’re making new goals and reaching for new stars.
Last week, I took a goal-setting class on The Young Writer’s Workshop. Because of how much it helped me, I wanted to share with you the four steps I learned to setting good goals– condensed into one post. For this class, we were setting goals for our writing journey, fiction of non-fiction. However, you can set goals for anything you would like.
The first step to making great goals is to reflect on the past year.
This is a time to focus on gratitude, milestones (big or small), achievements and anything else you would like to include. Do this in bullet points, or you can even freewrite a messy paragraph if that’s what works for you. If you can’t remember what happened, ask your family members or refer to your journal if you have one. When you’re writing this, some things to remember are:
- Obstacles that didn’t defeat you
- Paradigm shifts you experienced (a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions– a change in mind, basically)
- Important decisions you made
- Key books or resources you completed
After you’ve done this, figure out what worked and what didn’t, so you can block out the unhelpful things, and continue doing the things that benefited you.
Now it’s time to reflect on where you want to be in the future.
This should be a free, one paragraph (or more, I can’t expect writers to keep it to one) reflection on what you want 2020 to look like for you. Write down everything that comes to mind, and don’t be afraid to go wild on this, this is for you, no one else.
Write this in present tense. So instead of, ‘I will wake up early every morning to read my Bible’, it should be ‘I wake up early every morning to read my Bible’. This helps to get you into this positive mindset; it’s as if you are already doing it, and we can envision ourselves already reaching our goals.
Have fun with this step!
The next step is to reflect on your current reality and where you are now in life.
I get that this may be a little discouraging, but this will be very helpful to plan your next steps. I find it helped me to face what I was feeling and allow me to do something about it, or even just realise it. If you’re not comfortable doing this, don’t feel you have to.
This is a time to get brutally honest about your current situation. Where are you now? Maybe you’re dealing with some tough things, or you’re stressed out. Whatever it is, take the time to write it down. After you’ve done this, take some time to write a short reflection on what you learned from this exercise. Maybe you’ve discovered something you’ve been hiding from, or didn’t want to realise.
Refer back to your desired destination in step 2 and use them to help you write down 2-4 big goals for the year.
Ah, here we are. We’ve come to the setting-goals step. The first step, is to make sure these goals are your own and based on your views, values, and ideas; not anyone else’s.
It’s really important to keep your goals minimal, as it can be overwhelming to have a lot of goals. After you have written down your big goals for the year, now is the time to plan out the next achievable and simple step to get you closer to your goal. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
A bad example of a goal would be:
Goal: I’ll get better at blogging.
What exactly does ‘better’ mean for you? What does it look like to ‘get better’? Be specific. It’s not time measurable. Is there a deadline? This might seem obvious to you, but having the deadline right next to your goal — even if it’s just December 31st 2020 — is helpful.
A bad example of a next step would be:
Consistency equals getting better, so I’ll start being consistent on my blog.
Although it is great to be consistent, what does consistency look like for you based on what your schedule is already like? How does one ‘start’ being consistent?
For example, one of my goals is:
Goal 3: Consistently write 1 blog post per week until the end of the year.
Next step: Sit down and write down blog post ideas and based on past postings, find the day that works best for me to post. (My next step could be: make a detailed plan with deadlines as well as plan days to batch create.)
The goal is time measurable, and something that I can achieve if I work at it. The next step will get me one step closer to my goal, and is specific. When you’re setting your next steps, be sure to set ones that you can easily complete so that you can write down your next step after that. Or, ones that will set a chain reaction of consistency and habit are great. But for now, focus on one easy-to-complete next step.
If your goal was ‘Get better at blogging’, you could change it to: Complete and study (book title) on blogging by (date). Your next step could be something like: Go to the library to check for the book, and gather a few friends to study the book with me.
Once you have your goals, well done! If you did this, share your goals down below if you’re comfortable. I would love to read them and cheer you on! All of our goals will look different for each of us. Some of our next steps may include making detailed plans, but some of you might not like rigid plans and are more flexible. Do what works for you, just make sure they follow the S.M.A.R.T plan. 🙂
To review the steps:
1. Reflect on the past year.
2. Reflect on where you want to be in the future.
3. Reflect on where you are now.
4. Make your goals using the S.M.A.R.T plan.
All that said, the process of setting goals should not be stressful or overwhelming; it should be fun and motivating. If it’s starting to overwhelm you, maybe it’s time to take a step back and be kind to yourself. 🙂
I promise this is not a tactic to get you to comment; I genuinely love reading your comments, and I love responding to each and every one of them.
What are your goals and next steps in 2020?
Did you find this post helpful? Will you do these steps?
Anything else you want to comment? Leave it down below! This is a judgement free zone, and your mind is welcome. 😉
P.S The backround featured image is from Canva.com