The end of the year is only three months away. As it draws nearer we start to think of the things we have accomplished this year, and the things we hope to accomplish next year. People often make resolutions for the New Year. However, many people often confuse making resolutions with setting goals. Resolutions are new habits you would like to start. Goals are solid things to work towards. So let’s talk about setting some goals for next year.

We all know goals are supposed to S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. But what does that really mean?

Specific: Make sure you know what you want to achieve. I want to write is too broad. What do you want to write, fiction or non-fiction, a novel, a devotional, or an article? Do you want to write three hundred words or thirty thousand?

Measurable: Set goals that will produce results you will be able to see along the way. When writing, you will be able to measure your progress as your word count, your files of research, or your piles of submissions to publishers grow.

Attainable: “I will write ten thousand words a day every day for a month,” is most likely not an attainable goal. Make your goals manageable tasks that you will be able to complete. When you finish them you will feel the excitement of completing something, but if you set the bar too high you will only end up being discouraged.

Realistic: Dreaming big is a good thing, but when you set goals to try and obtain those dreams be sure you keep a firm grasp on reality. Know your limits and know where and when you will need to ask for help.

Timely: If you are the one setting the deadline make sure it is reasonable given your other commitments. Too short and you will be so stressed you won’t be able to think straight. Too long and you will procrastinate.

Once you have your goal defined write it down. It will be more concrete and you will be more likely to achieve it. It is also a good idea to tell your friends and family about your goal. This way they can offer encouragement and help keep you on track.

What goals are you working towards right now?

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