(The first post spelling out SMART. The question of the day for writer friends is this--did you have a goal to complete a book in 2011? I know that's taking us back a few years, but surely you remember. Was it a SMART goal? Did you meet that goal? Here we go... the letter S.)
Your specific goals should be well-defined, straight forward and emphasize what you want to accomplish. It's where you want to focus your efforts.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of your goal.
What: easy--what are you going to do? Use action words. Hmm, that's rather like showing rather than telling, isn't it?
Why: why is this goal important to you?
How: how are you going to accomplish the goal. Here is where you really need to be specific by giving a time frame. Having a 'finish by' date helps further along in the SMART goal process, so you might as well be ready for it.
As an example--instead of making your goal to finish a book in 2011 (which only really generally gives a hint of what you want to do and by when...) a SMART goal might say something like : I will write X number of words a day (Hey! That sounds familiar!) to complete name of manuscript by this date.
Significant? That's pretty simple, too. If your goal wasn't significant to you, you probably wouldn't be thinking about it.
Stretching? Don't make your goal too easy. If you normally write, oh, say, 100 words a day--stretch to 150 words a day. Stretching isn't always easy (in either the mental or physical sense). Maybe you'll be a little sore, but the end results will be well worth the stretch.
So have a good stretch and start thinking seriously about your SMART goals.
(Oh, and today---Happy New Year 2015!)