Goal Posts: Get Specific as You Plan #IWSG

Badge for Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. This month, I won’t be answering the optional #IWSG question of the month. But I encourage you to check out some of the answers the other fabulous insecure writers have written. Instead, I will be continuing my Goal Post series. Each week we will be one step closer to having a clear plan for achieving your goals in 2019. This week, that step is for you to get specific.

For a general overview of what SMART GOALS are, check out this post that I wrote a year ago. SMART goals are written based on criteria using the pneumonic acronym SMART which stands for the following:

  • S=Specific
  • M=Measurable
  • A=Achievable
  • R=Relevant
  • T=Time

In order to get specific, ask yourself:

  • Exactly what do you want to accomplish?
  • Why is it important?
  • What’s it going to take to get it done?

Let’s look at an example of a career goal

Get Specific as You Plan

Exactly what do you want to accomplish?

I need to put together my 2019 content plan for both heatherericksonauthor.com and facingcancerwithgrace.com.  I want to have a detailed content plan for January-June and a general overview of July-December. This will include my A-Z Blogging Challenge plan for April.

Why is it important?

This is important because if you fail to plan, you may as well plan to fail. By making a content plan, I always know what my year looks like ahead of time so I don’t get caught off guard. I make a looser plan the second half of the year because it’s a long ways off, and things may change between now and then. However, I will reassess the second half plan and get specific about what posts I will publish from July –December, in May.

What’s it going to take to get it done?

I always start with my Bullet Journal. For me, the Bullet Journal is the perfect way to keep track of my content for both of my blogs. In fact, I keep guest post ideas and any other content thoughts in the same Bujo. That way it’s all in one place. I have to set up my planning pages and my monthly content calendar. The content calendar is where I write the posts down as I schedule them for publication on WordPress. On the content calendar, I make note of any cancer awareness dates under the Facing Cancer planning area. I also note any ideal topics in the Heather Erickson Author planning area. For example, the end of the year is great for goal planning; the beginning of the year is a fresh start. Christmas is of course, in December…You get the idea. I also take into consideration any book launches I have scheduled.

Once I get specific ideas

I now need to contact anyone I might need to interview. I also need to take my overall schedule into consideration. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. We will be talking about whether or not something is achievable in a couple of weeks. For now, look at each of your goals and ask those 3 “get specific” questions.

Next Week

We will look at ensuring that your goal is measurable. Until then, I would love you to get specific in the comments, below. Please share your favorite tip for achieving your goals in the past.

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonThe Ericksons

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

Have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! By commenting, you agree to the terms of my privacy policy.

16 comments on “Goal Posts: Get Specific as You Plan #IWSG

I use a journal to keep track of long-term goals, short-term goals, and daily progress, but I also use that same journal for other things, which makes it a bit messy. I’ve been thinking about getting an actual planner instead of trying to combine the two, although I don’t like to carry two different books around. I use my memo app on my phone fairly often to keep track of dates and details and I have all of my memos categorized into folders. This helps.

Hi Tyrean. I have given up on keeping track of daily progress. That means I don’t have to drag my planning journal around with me. Instead, I check in once a week and write down a list of weekly goals on a post-it. Then, I stick that in my appointment planner as a reminder to stay on track. Everyone works differently. It can take a while to find a system that works. My husband has recently discovered google calendar for his phone and loves it. I tried using a phone scheduler but never felt secure about it. I do love taking notes on my phone, though. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted them with a push of a button. I should have backed them up. Have a great week!

Wow, you really plan out your blog. *hangs head in shame* I do mine on the fly. I guess you can probably tell 🙂

No shame, Liz. I love the impromptu feel of your blog. My favorite posts are the stories from the classroom. You can’t really plan those out, because who knows what those kids will do next. 🙂 Keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s working. Have a great week!

With two blogs, I can understand why you’d want to plan many months in advance. We do schedule in advance at the IWSG site. My own blog – I’m usually coming up with content the Friday before I post. It’s difficult to plan posts when they consist of movie-music-shows-etc. reviews.

Hi Alex. You’re right. This won’t work for many types of blogs. It can work for many types of goals though. Not everyone is comfortable locking themselves into a goal commitment by planning that far ahead. Whether or not you plan ahead is certainly a personal preference. For me, it helps to reduce instances of writer’s block that can creep up an bite me in the butt if I’m not careful. It also allows me to write ahead so that if something comes up in life and I’m not able to work on my blog, I don’t have to stress about it. Like this week, when we had to leave town to go to the Mayo Clinic. It’s totally a personal preference.

I confess my goals and targets aren’t often SMART – more vague aspirations. Perhaps I do need to focus a bit more.

Hi Patsy. Give it a try and see what you think. Maybe start with just one type of goal. In the beginning, I jumped in with both feet and was quickly overwhelmed. Then I decided to only worry about one type of goal. Once I got that down pat, I added another, and so on. Your “vague aspirations” will soon be brilliant. Have a great week!

Tonja Drecker

My book review blog is scheduled tight months in advance. My writers’ one is complete fly by the pants 🙂

Hi Tonja. I’m sort of surprised. I would think it would be harder to schedule reviews. It’s awesome that you have a system. While part of that system is being a “pantser,” it works for you, and that’s what’s most important. I love that the creative aspect of writing is the pantser component. It can be so freeing to have a scheduled and a free aspect to our systems. We do need both. Have a wonderful week!

Great post, Heather. I teach my marketing students to set SMART goals all the time. Do I follow this plan myself? Regrettably, not too often.

I’m specific as hell, but I think the “A” is where it all falls apart for me. My goals are achievable if I were to turn into Superwoman and do nothing but work. Being realistic about what I’m truly capable of achieving without burning out is a struggle, so my goals tend to move further and further into the future.

I still accomplish a lot, but am left feeling like it’s never enough.

Hi JH. I can completely relate to teaching something I struggle with. Sometimes I do it to give myself a kick in the pants. You make a wonderful point about ensuring our goals are achievable, to begin with. Why set ourselves up for failure? The fact that you are accomplishing a lot is a huge success. I once heard a great piece of advice. When you are trying to reach a goal, look back rather than ahead. When you look at your goal, it can seem so far away, so unattainable. But when you look back, you can see how far you’ve come. Have a wonderful week!

Great advice! I always tell people who complain about not reaching their goals to set more attainable goals.

I have a bullet journal (did a blog post on it this year, too) and love it. I enjoy listing all the things I do each day. 🙂

Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog!

Hi Chris. It is wonderful to be able to check off the things we have accomplished. A bullet journal is a perfect way to do that. I am glad I discovered your blog. It has a lot of substance to it. Have a wonderful week!

I need better planning. I’ll have a bit of time to get things done and not know where to start. Having a clear idea of the goals would solve that problem.

Hi Elizabeth. I think planning takes practice. I still feel like I have to take baby steps to get things done. Have a great week!

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