Creating a Good Goal

During my last post I talked about the importance of goals and how to set them. Today, I’d like to give an example using my latest goal. For me, goal setting is important because it gives me a focus for my energy. If I don’t have a specific focus, I quickly drift into retail therapy mode, which I can’t afford. So, I set up goals for myself that keep me busy. My newest goal came about in this way…

Initial random thought

I want to write a book.

Remember, a good goal is S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Sensitive

“I want to write a book.” isn’t a good goal, but it could be.


To make it specific, I needed to narrow down what I wanted to write. Instead of just “a book”, I needed to pick a type of book or even a specific story. I actually have multiple books that I want to write. To make it a good goal I needed to narrow that down. So, I decided to change it to “a novel about the origins of my D&D character, Italia”.


To measure my goal, I need to once again be specific. What do I consider a sign that I have accomplished my goal? Personally, the goal of wanting to write a novel doesn’t really cover my actual reason for wanting to write a novel. What I really want is to publish a novel. So, it turns out that my initial random thought was really just a step toward my actual goal. Therefore, I am going to change “write” to “publish”.


To prove attainability, I need to consider my ability, skills, and time available to write a novel that’s worth publishing. I know that many people in my situation have done it before, I have good software and a backup plan in case my computer goes down. Therefore, I believe my goal is attainable.


This is where goals become subjective. A relevant goal is something that I really want. It is something with an end result that makes me so very happy. Finishing and publishing a book is definitely on that list of things that make me happy to think about.


This is where my goal setting always stalls out. Since this is a goal that I want, but not something I absolutely have to do, there are no external clocks telling me when to complete my goal by. So, to infuse some structure into my goal I am going to use an external event to push me through. This year’s NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I have decided that I will write my rough draft during NaNo. Step one of my goal then has a deadline of November 30, 2015. But my goal isn’t to write a first draft of a novel, my goal is to publish this novel. To do that I need to add time for editing, proofreading, organizing, and finalizing. Most advice I’ve read about good after NaNo practices include a cooling off period. So, I plan to finish my rough draft in November, and putting it away until the new year. In January 2016, I will start editing and I plan to publish by March 25, 2016. That is the day my youngest daughter would have turned 13 if she’d lived. I think it only fitting that I give birth to my next masterpiece on that day.

Bring it all together

So, my original random thought has changed a lot in this short time. Bringing it all together, my goal is:

I will publish a novel about Italia’s origins on March 25, 2016.

About MJ Sims

Single mom who plays Assassin's Creed for the exploration more than the killing.
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