*This post was updates from “The 90 Day Year and Revolutionizing Goal Setting” to it’s current format December 8th, 2020*
For the last several years, I have set very public professional goals on this blog. A few years ago, I wrote a post with how I set my goals. But it was one big, long, very detailed post and some feedback I got was that it was overwhelming. So I decided to create the challenge and break those posts into 7 days of educational content and implemented steps to help others achieve the SMARTER goals and success that I have.
We’ve mastered the two toughest parts first, creating our control points by establishing our baseline and our vision. But those two points are so important because with them we can create smarter goals.
What are SMARTER GOALS
I have always used SMART goals. (I think my brother-in-law McKay taught me this when we planned our New Year’s Resolutions back when I was in middle school, but don’t quote me on that.) but it’s something that is taught by most business managers since the 1980’s. However, last year one of my goals was to get healthy and I joined Weigh to Health program at my local hospital. They taught a new version which I quite like.
So let’s break this down and I will use an example from my personal goals.
Remember when we were exploring our vision? I said it needed to be broad and not specific? Well, that’s because dreams and visions are the inspiration and specific is often not inspiring. It is daunting.
But we need to take our baselines from yesterday and come up with a specific goal for this year that will get us started on the path that will get us to our dream.
EX: I want to republish 11 of my 13 books under their own ISBNs and my own publishing house this year.
It is exactly how it sounds. you have to be able to measure your progress towards this goal. So don’t say “I want to lose weight” provide a specific and measurable amount “I want to lose 30 lbs.”
This one is a little bit tricky, and in my experience people shoot themselves in the foot by underestimating and then hitting their goal early and thinking their done or overestimating then not achieving their goal and getting discouraged.
I prefer to over-estimate because I know my personality type. I will push and push and celebrate the win even if I end up achieving the goal a few months later than I originally planned. But I am really good at seeing the forest for the trees so you need to figure out what works for you and set your goal accordingly.
Example, going back to the weight loss goal. I know I want to lose 130 lbs. I also know that my body is weight loss resistant. While that 130 (was 150 last year) is not something I can achieve in a year, I do know I can lose 20-30 lbs in a year so I set my goal there and know that if I achieve it I can set another to get me to that eventual 150 lb loss.
This kind of goes back to my previous point. I know realistically with a lot of hard work I can lose 150 lbs. I’ve been that weight before. But I also know that it would not be realistic for me to expect to lose that 150 lbs in one year, even though there are lots of other people who can and do lose that kind of weight in one year.
You have to set a deadline to help you keep it front of mind. On day 5 we will dig into this a bit more. However, for now, going back to the weight loss goal example (because it is a big struggle for me so I think it is most relatable to other people’s struggles with goals in general) If I say, “I want to lose 150 lbs.” that doesn’t have a timeline tied to it. But if I say, “I want to lose 5 lbs by the end of the month that timeliness helps put urgency on working toward and achieving our goal. Likewise, if I say “I’m going to publish two books by February. that is enough to put urgency on my efforts to achieve my publishing goal.
We will dig into this in a deeper analysis later, but you have to set up a system to keep that goal front and center and the best way to do that is to regularly evaluate the goal. As a different example, I set audience growth goals every year. Once a week I analyze one of my growth platforms to measure, adjust, and adapt the goals. For those who participate in my last 30 Day Marketing Challenge, you know that I grew my audience from 16,000 to 20,000 over the course of that 30-day challenge.
This is one that I have always struggled with and it has gotten me labeled as a work junkie, no fun, and a downer most of my life. I achieve one level of my goal and then I’m on to the next one. But rewards are a great way to enjoy the journey, as they say.
A couple of important things to consider when setting up a reward: don’t make it counter-intuitive to your goal. Going back to that weight loss goal as an example, a lot of my classmates wanted to reward their weight loss goals with a cheat day or food.
Ideally find a reward that not only is not counter-intuitive to your goal, but also is a natural consequence of your goal. For example, when I lost 20 lbs I got to buy a new wardrobe (and I needed it.) when I finished saving my down payment for my house, I got to use the next chunk of money I earned to pay for my ISBNs.
Here are some examples of SMARTER goals
I want to lose at least 30 lbs by December 31st 2021 through walking 12K steps a day, swimming 3 days a week, and carb and calorie cycling between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day. I will track my daily food and activities in Myfitnesspal and will weigh in and measure every Sunday to make sure I’m on track. When I achieve my goal I will reward myself by buying fun swim gear for my swimming workout. SMARTER
I will republish the remaining 11 books in my backlist before the end of the year. Start with updating and republishing Clear Angel Chronicles one and two, and the Penslinger’s Ponderings by March 1st in ebook and paperback with wide distribution and through Ingram Spark. When I complete those publications I will reward myself by running AMS ads on Elements of a Broken Mind to re-ignite sales. SMARTER
I will find volunteers for and set up all the events for the Urban Fantasy genre for LitCon by February 20th so that I can spend the 20th through to LitCon focusing on promoting my own works. (Speaking of, any authors in the group who are interested in participating in an online book event that is anticipated to have hundreds of book bloggers, authors, and industry professionals all promoting and targeting thousands of readers please fill out this form. If you publish UF and would like to volunteer, reach out to me directly. It will be amazing!)
Hopefully SMARTER. It’s ambitious.
You will notice that I set several of my goals for March. Part of that is because I want these things in place before LitCon March 5th, but it is also because I practice a concept called the 90 day plan which has really blown up in corporate work where companies are trying to be more agile and adaptable to consumer needs. You can also set annual goals if that is more comfortable for you and then break those down into 90 days goals as I also demonstrated. We will dig deeper into this over the next few lessons.
Now, who’s ready to set some goals?
You know I have a worksheet for you, right? Of course I do.
You will notice that I only have 7 slots for you. I know what some of you overachievers are thinking “But I have a hundred goals I have to work on to achieve that visionary dream! I need to start at the beginning for each of them.” Trust me, that way lies folly.
Of course we all have thousands of things we need to do to achieve our goals. And we all want to do it over night. But this is a journey. One I’ve been on for 20 years. We have to eat this elephant one bite at a time.
Not sure where you want/ need to start? Write down all the goals and over the next couple of days we will dig deeper into how many goals to set, how to target the best goals, and how to ensure you are tracking so that you can feel real progress towards your dreams.
Trust me, it is better to focus on one or two things and make huge gains than to spread yourself too thin.
But this is the brainstorming stage of your goals. Brainstorm away. Write it all down, and then we can refine as we go.
Not sure if your goal is a SMARTER goal? Feel free to drop it in the comments and ask for support. Provide support to others. A huge part of this challenge is to help one another by giving objective feedback and support to one another.
Until next time,