As the New Year approaches, many of us are thinking about making resolutions or setting goals.

New Year’s resolutions are often cliches – lose weight, save money, give up smoking or other bad habit – and just as often broken and forgotten early in the year. However, setting goals and making plans at the beginning of the year can be a positive experience.

To achieve your dreams, you must set SMART goals. You can read about several variations of SMART goals and get more detailed advice on goal-setting at these sites: GetMotivation.comHuman Resources, Nine Quick Learning Strategies for SuccessTop Achievement, and many more.

Briefly, SMART goals are:

S = specific: “complete the first draft of a 50,000 word mystery novel” rather than “write a book”

M = measurable: “write 15 minutes every day” rather than “write more”

A = attainable: “get an agent to represent Book Title” rather than “sell Book Title to a major publisher, receive a $100,000 advance, and make #1 on the New York Times bestseller list”

R = relevant: “join a business organization to meet prospective clients for my freelance writing business” rather than “join the country club because my relatives think I should” 

T = tangible: “write an outline for a series of articles on subject” rather than “come up with ideas about subject

Note: Some version of SMART goals assign the word “actionable” to the letter A, the word “motivational” to the letter M, the word “realistic” to the letter R, and/or the word “timely/time-bound” or “trackable” to the letter T. There are plenty of other words that would be effective in describing successful goals, as well, but the main point is to set goals that will help you achieve your dream – whatever that is.

[tags]goals, smart[/tags]

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