Laina Turner, Author
L.C. Turner, Author

SMART Goals for the self-published author

“The greatest dreams are always unrealistic” -Will Smith

Creating good goals, along with the actions and tactics to execute those goals, isn’t as simple as just writing something down on paper.

What you write and how you write it are crucial to achieving the goal. You want your goals to be SMART.

Not smart, but SMART.

SMART goals are simple to create. They take thought and planning but it’s worth the investment of time.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic & Relevant
  • Timely

This goal-setting concept was invented and first written about by George T. Doran in a journal circa 1981 (keep that in the back of your mind for the next trivial pursuit game you play) and the concept is just as strong this many years later.

Why? Because it works.

Think about the last goal you set.

  • Was it a clear and specific goal?
  • Did you achieve the goal?
  • If not, why didn’t you?
  • How could you have done a better job?

Most of us don’t analyze our goals that deeply. We just state them in a general sense and when it doesn’t just happen, we get discouraged. Well they’re not going to happen without ways to make it happen.

Wanting is passive not active.

That quote is so true. We can’t sit around waiting to get lucky. Waiting for what we want to just happen through some magical force.

We must work on making it happen.

Doran’s point with his SMART goal method was that goals need to be specific and measureable, and you need to have relevant and realistic ways to achieve them to have a better chance at the goals being met.

To create SMART goals, you need to make sure your goals meet all of those above requirements. For example, if you told someone to “do the laundry,” that would not be a SMART goal. Though many of us have probably said that at one time or another to a spouse, child, significant other, etc., and you might initially think it’s a perfectly fine sounding goal. But it’s not SMART.

9 SMART Goals for the self-published author

Why isn’t it a SMART goal?

Is it specific? No, it doesn’t specify if you mean all the laundry, or just the whites, or just the ones in the yellow basket.

Is it measurable? Not in its current form because the laundry amount wasn’t quantified.

Is the laundry goal attainable? Can it be done or is the washing machine broken? Is the person who you’re asking to do the laundry capable of doing the laundry?

Is it realistic? Can the goal of the laundry being done actually be met, or is there so much laundry to do that it’s not possible?

Then, is it timely? You need to set time frames around the goal to create a sense of urgency and to have accountability in place. That wasn’t there in the initial instruction “do the laundry.” So maybe you meant by the time you got home from work but the other person thought you meant whenever he or she had time, which theoretically could be never.

Even in that silly example, you can easily see how the lack of specificity can cause the simple goal of getting the laundry done to fail and for frustration to build.

Using SMART goals helps you be more realistic and sets you up for success in attaining your goals. It’s to your benefit to make sure every one of your goals is SMART.

Again, you must write down your goals if you’re committed to making them a reality. This step is very important. I journal every day and restate my goals just to keep them top-of-mind always and to not lose focus.

Look at the list of goals you have. Make sure you’re your goals are written in SMART form.

Here is one of my goals as an example:

My goal within the next twelve months is to make $10,000 a month through book sales, revenue from my blog, and online courses. Since I need to make progress toward the twelve-month desired result I will need to create smaller monthly goals.

Month 1 Goal:

To make $500 dollars from sales of my books, $500 from online courses, and $250 from blog ad revenue.

  • Specific – Yes. I have a numerical goal of $1,250 dollars, a time frame of one month, and the products I’m going to sell.
  • Measurable – Yes, the goal is measured in sales specific to certain products.
  • Attainable – $1,250 in sales is a small increase over the previous month.
  • Realistic/Relevant – I have a new book releasing in this month that will boost sales.
  • Timely – the time frame to achieve this goal is set for one month.

The way the goal is written I have no doubt as to what I’m going to accomplish and by when it will be accomplished. I then need to decide the actions to get it accomplished. It’s easy to get frustrated with your goals if they seem too overwhelming, so it’s also a good idea to break down big goals into small manageable chunks and benchmark your process.

Creating benchmarks to track your progress toward a larger goal is a great way to stay motivated. Eat that elephant one bite at a time, as people say. Celebrate each time you hit one of your benchmarks. It’s important to get excited about the wins. No matter how small they may be.

You also need to believe without a doubt that you can achieve your goals. There is no room for head trash and self-doubt. Don’t let negativity enter your brain.

If you think your goal is impossible, prove to yourself it’s not or you’ll be defeated before you’ve even gotten started.

Now make your goals SMART. Download the worksheet and work through them all. Then let me know how it’s going! I know you can achieve all your dreams.

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