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Goal Setting

Whatever the reason, don't feel embarrassed or ashamed. As you can see from above, it's not always your fault...

Hi there, and welcome to 2024.

I trust you had a healthy Christmas holiday period.

Setting Goals for the New Year

This month, I'm writing about setting goals. You might refer to goal-setting as traditionally making resolutions for the new year. I know it's early days, but if you do make resolutions, are you still on track, or have they come off the rails?

Many people admit to making resolutions but break them after a short time. This is mainly because they find things are not going to plan and give up. Or, it could be the goal just wasn't realistic and achievable in the first place.

If we are serious about setting goals for 2024, a starting point might be to reflect on how you did in 2023. Ask yourself if you had success. If so, what worked, and why did it work? If you are satisfied, keep doing what you are doing, and well done.

If goals weren't successfully achieved, why do you think that was? Was it because:-

  • You became discouraged

  • You lost motivation

  • Things were happening in your life that were outside of your control

  • Priorities changed

  • You gave up


Whatever the reason, don't feel embarrassed or ashamed. As you can see from above, it's not always your fault. Hopefully, I can help to get you back on track.

Coming from a teaching background, I was used to working with a system called SMART goals. I will explain what they are in a moment. However, before I do, I must clarify that I researched the internet for this article and found many different systems for setting goals. Most are aimed at big businesses and companies, though there are components within those systems that one could use. I won't dwell on these because, as a writer, my opinion is that I don't think they are realistic. However, if you want to learn more about them, google 'Setting Goals' or 'Goal Setting'.


I used this system for many years in my professional life, but I wish I had remembered it when I started writing fiction. I re-discovered it late last year, and I can honestly say it has helped me to focus on short-term goals more efficiently.

So, what are SMART goals? Let's find out.

SMART is an acronym for:- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. All these criteria are combined to help you achieve your goals.

Specific: have a clearly defined goal – don't be vague. Unless you have a clear action plan, it will be difficult to progress towards your goal.

Measurable: a measurable goal has concrete milestones that you can use to track your progress.

Achievable: your goal needs to be attainable, genuine and possible to achieve without it being too simple. Find a balance between an achievable yet challenging goal. 

Realistic:- make sure your goals are within your abilities.

Time-bound: This is the time allocated to reach your goal. Such a target date can help provide a sense of urgency and drive your efforts towards achieving your goal.

Example of a Smart goal for writing a Book

Specific: To have a manuscript ready for editing by a specific date.

Measurable: The book will be approximately 100,000 words long, and I want to write 500 words daily. 

Achievable: I have the resources and ability to achieve my goal by setting challenging, realistic and attainable outcomes.

Realistic:  I will remain focused and regularly evaluate my progress.

Time-bound: I will start writing my manuscript in February 2024 and complete my first draft by October 2024.

Some Simple Tips 

By researching books about the craft of writing, I have picked up some useful advice from experienced writers and authors. See what you think. You can also choose others that resonate with your own goals.

To remain focused and achieve your smart goals, try the following:-

  • Make your goals visible and close by. e.g. next to your computer, on the wall in your office (if you have one) or even on the fridge door. It will bring your goals to life and make them real. Also, read them out aloud occasionally to remind you of your goals

  • Keep motivated and show commitment.

  • Regularly evaluate your progress.

  • Don't choose too many goals to start with. Prioritise – this will help you to identify the most important and relevant goals to focus on and avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

  • Break down long-term goals into a series of short-term goals.

  • Be flexible, and don't fear changing your goals if necessary.

  • Last but not least, CELEBRATE your SUCCESSES and REWARD yourself. (be steady on the wine, though!!) 

PS I've just thought of another important tip. If you have a support network, make use of it. Every writer needs support and encouragement from a trusted friend or family member.  

My apologies if this blog has been longer than usual, but there is no way I could have paid due diligence to its importance otherwise. I hope it helps you and don't hesitate to contact me for further information.

Happy reading, and a happy writing new year to you.

Mansel Winter

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