Why set goals? Because you can either control your own destiny or hand it over to circumstance. (James Scott Bell, The Mental Game of Writing)
In case you missed it earlier this month, I’m reading another book by James Scott Bell. Though most of his books are about writing for writers, The Mental Game of Writing is inspiring my freelance work as much as it’s inspiring my writing. Last week I talked about the mental game of self-employment. This week I’d like to talk about goal setting.
Goals are necessary because they establish absolutes. You can say that you want to be a successful web designer, but how do you make that happen? First you have to know what you mean when you say success (see last week’s post). Then you have to figure out how you’re going to achieve that. Those are your goals.
You can successful set real, applicable goals in two simple steps:
- Set Your Goals
- Make a Plan
Set Your Goals
Be specific. Coming up with a mental list of things that might work is a good start, but don’t stop there. You need to create an actual list of goals that you can refine and review.
Make sure your goals are also something you can achieve. “Win a prestigious award” isn’t a realistic goal, because you have no control over the nominating or judging process. “Enter a contest” is a great goal – you have the ability to figure out the guidelines and meet the deadline.
Make a Plan
Goals without a plan are just dreams. You need to know how you’re going to achieve your goals. Using the previous example of entering a contest – plan out your steps. For example, if I entered a writing contest, my plan might look like this:
- Finish rough draft by November 1
- Finish edit by November 15
- Have it critiqued by December 1
- Finish re-write by December 21
- Proofread on or before December 31
- Submit to contest on or before January 5
Plans or Dreams?
Don’t leave your business success up to chance. Set your goals. Make plans. Succeed.