4 Steps To Setting Writing Goals That Work

A list of goals ready to be written.

If you’re anything like me, you start a project all excited.

You get off to a great start, then you’re distracted by something else going on in your life or a shiny new idea.

You might still work on it at random intervals, but after a while, the excitement dies down, and it begins to seem like too much trouble.

So, you set it aside, hoping to get back to it someday when you have more time or inspiration.

I found out a long time ago if I didn’t set goals and give myself a deadline, I would never finish it.

I’ve struggled with this all my life and probably always will.

I learned if I want to finish, I must know what my goals are and the steps necessary for completing them.

Since I believe these can be used for all areas of our lives, these are the steps I recommend:


1. Create a dream list.

If you want to set goals, first you must know what you want out of life.

You can do this by creating a dream list and throwing everything on it you ever wanted to have, do, or be.

No dream should be considered too big or small.

Now, not everything on that list will get done.

We all dream of living in mansions (or castles!) and being billionaires.

Some dreams are just dreams.

The point is to clear your head and get everything out into the open.

You have no idea how many times I’ve told myself, “I’d love to do that someday.”

Someday is a dream, and it gets further away with each passing day because you’ll never act on it.

If you don’t write it down, you’ll forget about it until the next time inspiration hits, and you tell yourself someday again.

It’s a vicious cycle of getting your hopes up and stringing you along until the next time.

You can’t plan for what you don’t remember.

If you really want it, write it down and make it happen.


2. Determine what steps need to be taken.

Now take five to ten of your dreams and decide how much time you can devote to each of them per week.

You should also take into consideration how much of your available cash you can contribute each year towards their completion.

Then make a list of the actions you need to take to successfully complete them.

Be sure to include the time required to complete each step, as well as its cost or any possible income it might bring in.

This list should be as detailed as possible so you can plan for any setbacks along the way.

Checking steps off your list is also a great way to keep your motivation high for those times you don’t feel like working.

Knowing each step ahead of time also keeps the momentum going, so you don’t have to stop and plan each time you complete one.


3. Set deadlines and take action every day.

Now, based upon everything you’ve written down in the previous step, set a time frame in which to accomplish each of your goals.

Don’t worry about being perfect.

You can make adjustments along the way if things don’t go as planned.

Once you have your goals and deadlines defined, commit to taking at least one action toward each of your goals every day.

Don’t worry about the next step (or how many there).

Focus on one step at a time and keep going.


4. Track your progress.

The purpose of setting goals is to show forward movement toward your dreams while staying within the allotted time.

So, make sure you track your progress and make any necessary adjustments if you fall off the beaten path.

Don’t be afraid to push back your deadline if you can’t find a way to make the original work.

If you keep moving forward, you’re guaranteed to get there, versus someday.



Golden Rules of Goal Setting: Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success

The Ultimate Goal Setting Process: 7 Steps to Creating Better Goals

5 Simple Steps to Setting Goals and Achieving Them


Professional Picture (2)

Renea strives to help writers develop the focus and skills they need to finish their first novel, offering writers practical writing advice they can apply one step at a time.

She is the author of Conquering Writing Pressures: Living a Balanced Writing Life in a Busy World where she helps writers find the courage to accept life will never be perfect. And if we want our dreams to succeed, we must fight to make them a reality.

She currently lives in St. Joseph, Missouri, with her husband Joe, her three children, and her five lovable furballs.

From a young age, Renea was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, which she read in the ninth grade.

She is an avid reader, with her main interests residing in history, mythology, and fantasy, along with some romance and science fiction in her earlier years.

When Renea’s not writing, she enjoys genealogy, role-playing games, and dreams of traveling the world. In a past life, she plucked chickens and milked cows.

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