Goal Posts: Your SMART GOAL’s Timeline

Your Goal's Timeline

Today we’re going to talk about putting a deadline on our goals and incorporating them into a reasonable timeline. Then, we will combine the timeline with the other elements we’ve been looking at for the past month, in our “Goal Posts” series, and write some SMART Goals. 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

We will take all of the elements of your SMART goal and combine them.

We will start with the first three:

  • S=Specific                   Publish book
  • M=Measurable            Book should be 30,000 words.
  • A=Achievable             Self-Publish

Write these into a meaningful sentence (or 2):

I will self-publish a 30,000-word non-fiction book that will be sold on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

SMART Goals have a deadline

Come up with an ultimate deadline that’s realistic. Don’t get discouraged. You are running a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s use the example of writing and publishing a short nonfiction book.

I will launch by Christmas of 2019.

There are many ways you could approach this goal. The following is just one example:

Now, how do you reach this goal?

  • R=Relevant                 All the relevant steps toward your ultimate goal
  • T=Time                        Timeline of the completion of the relevant steps

Come up with your Timeline

Write down the steps as well as the deadline in order to stay on track. It can help to work backward from your ultimate goal. Include your final deadline (in this case, 1 year from now), as well as goals that you plan to reach at regular intervals in-between. This timeline should be realistic while still pushing you.

  • 1st Draft                       3/01/2019
  • 2nd Draft                      4/01/2019
  • Editor                          5/01/2019
  • 3rd Draft                      6/01/2019
  • Beta Readers               7/01/2019
  • Final Draft                  9/01/2019
  • Cover Art                    10/01/2019
  • Format                         10/15/2019
  • Publish Paperback       12/1/2019
  • Publish E-Book           12/15/2019
  • Launch                        12/15/2019

This timeline is ambitious!

This is important because if there’s no feeling of urgency, it is easy to become complacent. Still, it’s important to look at your timeline and ask yourself if it’s still achievable. Consider each step of your timeline, as well as anything that could go wrong.

For example, step 1 means the 1st draft of this 30,000-word manuscript will need to be written in 60 days. That comes out to 500 words each day. This doesn’t include days off, but it is definitely do-able. Take into consideration steps in your timeline which require the cooperation of others, such as editors and artists. Do they have a guaranteed turnaround time?

Put together your plan.

Once you’ve decided that your plan is complete and realistic, schedule all of the steps into your calendar. Give yourself a little cushion by writing reminders for a week ahead of time, as well.

Also, write a mission statement, for this goal:

I plan to (Specific Goal). I will measure this goal by (How will you Measure it?). It’s important to me to meet this goal because (What’s your motivation?). I will stay accountable and on track by (How?). Here is my timeline: (Timeline)

Put this somewhere you can see it every day. When I participated in NaNoWriMo I wrote my plan on a large whiteboard and put it on my desk right in front of my nose so I wouldn’t get off track.

Sometimes pulling together all the elements of your SMART Goal can be a little putzy. Things don’t always fit into a neat formula. The important thing is to be clear about these elements in your mind and know how to incorporate them into a meaningful and inspiring goal.

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.