Lesson 5

Why targets should be your #1 priority

When you set a goal, you're simply giving yourself something to aim at – a target to hit.

That target can be big or small. The key is to have one and to check in against it regularly. Having a goal gives your writing a direction and it means that you know when you've achieved it – so you keep making progress.

But what if you don't have a clear project in mind? That's fine! You don't need to have your project nailed down to set a goal but do try to give yourself something to aim for – like writing for a certain amount of time each day or trying to hit a word count. That will give your writing focus.

While your writing goals are personal to you, there are some ingredients common to all that will help to keep your writing moving forward.

ACTION: Setting a goal? Ask yourself these 6 questions

  1. Am I excited by it? A goal without an exciting challenge is just boring old work! Always set a goal that energizes you – something that fires you up, and you’ll get a kick out of achieving.
  2. Am I pushing myself too much? While your goal needs to energize you but it also needs to be winnable. Otherwise, you’ll just lose motivation. So, don’t get carried away, be realistic.
  3. Am I pushing myself too little? Any goal you set needs to achievable but not so much so that it all becomes way too easy – otherwise, you’ll just get bored. If you think your goal seems easy – make it a harder! It’s always good to be a little scared by your goal.
  4. Is it as specific as possible? Vague goals lead to vague outcomes. Make your goal as specific as possible, so you can measure your progress and know when you’ve reached it.
  5. Am I comparing myself to others? Set a goal that’s right for you — not for anyone else. Set one that stretches you, one that scares you a little. But most of all, set one that excites you, energizes you and puts some fire in your belly!
  6. What can I do better next time? If you don’t meet your previous goal, don’t throw in the towel. What worked well and not so well last time? Were you too easy or hard on yourself? Learn from the experience!

Goal setting is a powerful, proven technique to help you achieve your writing ambitions so use it to move forward your project. So start now!

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