(Talkin' about the letter A in your smart goals today.)
Attainable, Achievable, Action -Oriented
First you create goals that are important to YOU, then you figure out the ways needed to make them happen. In writing, this means you develop the attitudes, abilities and skills needed to reach those goals. One good way to do this is to make one of your goals each year a concentration on one aspect of your writing. Maybe you need to work on transitions so the reader will easily understand how much time has passed. Or you need to work on your layer of adding the five senses. Or using action verbs instead of writing passively.
Each goal should stretch you. If you've consistently written 100 words a day this past year (theme alert) then your stretching goal could be 125 or 150 words a day. Then each day when you meet that goal, you give yourself a mental pat on the back and the encouragement to do the same thing tomorrow.
But if you've been writing 100 words a day then decide your goal needs to be 1000 words a day--you may be reaching too far. If your goal seems out of reach, will you really commit to it? Your subconscious will constantly remind you that the goal is out of reach (hmm rather like our internal editors, huh) and those reminders will undermine your goal by keeping you from doing your best.
If you do want to build to 1000 words a day, make smaller goals. Perhaps you will writer 150 words a day for two weeks. Once you discover you can do that easily, reevaluate your goals and set a new goal for 250 words a day for two weeks. Success will build upon success and keep you motivated.
As with so many things we put on our goal lists-- decluttering, losing weight, reading a certain number of books--building our writing career is best taken in small, manageable steps. Once you're used to taking those steps, you'll be amazed at how much faster you find yourself moving forward!
(I can't help it. I just had to add a little music for today. From one of my favorite and most inspiring movies. Enjoy.)