Hello Cyberfriends. It’s been a while since I’ve used that intro, but this post felt wrong without it. Small life update from Ardent: I’ve been taking a long hard look at my goals. I think it’s time to reevaluate and shake up my priorities. I have this toxic habit of thinking I can do anything and everything all at once. That habit makes me one stressed out mess, and always leads to a complete halt in progress. Do you find yourself doing this too? Let’s dive into some goal planning together, and create some goblin goals. I’ll be using the SMART goal method outlining one of my personal goals, feel free to follow along with your own goals.
What is a smart goal?
SMART Goal is an acronym that I’ve learned thorough my years between my secondary education and corporate trainings. They stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals. Ideally, they help you devise a game plan to reaching goals that typically yield better results. In the corporate world, they’re used a lot in employee development. They can still be applicable in your personal life.
Let’s take a look at one of my goals. While my long-time readers know that one of my goals is to create a video game, only my closest friends know that my big dream when I was younger was to write. This blog satisfies that dream for the most part; I get to write whatever I want and publish it instantly to a website I designed and pick out my own stock photos that I think best match my topic and will increase my chances of my writing being read. Unlike my academic career or the time I spent writing for a local magazine publishing company, this website has given me the freedom to write about things that I find interesting or can relate to.
While I adore the anonymity of the internet when it comes to my humble little website, I miss the thrill of seeing my name on a by line. Writing a book is one of my childhood dreams. How do I turn writing a novel into a SMART goal?
Creating a SMART Goblin Goal
Using the example of writing a novel, let’s see if we can make it a SMART goal.
Is my Goblin Goal Specific?
I’m going to say no. Writing a novel is a pretty broad goal. What genre of novel? What length? What’s my plot? The old Ardent would’ve been crippled by these questions. Either I wouldn’t have had an answer, or I would’ve had too many ideas to organize. That’s one of the perks of smart goals. They help you learn how to hone in on details that help turn dreams into reality. Notice that I don’t have anything in this goal in regards to sales of my novel. That’s on purpose. This goal is specifically to finish writing one; those equally important plans can be made once I have a manuscript.
Let’s try to make that statement more specific. I’m going to write a 250 page fantasy-thriller novel.
Perfect! While the page count is approximate (font size, spacing, and publishing methods can change that), its a goal that is more honed in than the original statement.
Is it Measurable?
Yes! With the more specific goblin goal including an approximate length, this goal is absolutely measurable. At this point, I can go ahead and add daily/weekly/monthly word counts I’d like to hit to be able to stay on track.
Is it Attainable?
This one may cause some soul searching. I’m going to say yes. With the updates made to make it more specific and a plan to track progress, it is attainable. I’d need to look at my time and maybe adjust my free time to find space to dedicate to it, and make sure I’m still taking some time for myself between writing, working, and Baby Goblin, but I can do it. Make sure that you’re not sacrificing too much time for self-care. It is so important for your emotional well-being. If you need some ideas on self-care for busy lifestyles, check this out!
Is My Goblin Goal Relevant?
This one is another hard one. Is writing a novel relevant to my life and career goals? As many of you know, my career goal is to become a software developer, how will this fit in? Surprisingly, it can add to my portfolio by showing proficiency in written communication along with dedication, follow through, and time management skills.
Another way of making it relevant, is to go back to my origin story and why I became The Ardent Goblin. In my “About Ardent Goblin” page, I reference the moment I became a mother. Knowing that someday I would be telling my children to chase their dreams, I owed it to myself to try. Leading by example is one of my personal philosophies. So, yes. “I want to my children to believe that they can do anything they put their minds do. I’m going to set the example by chasing my childhood dreams.” For me, that makes this one of the ultimate goblin goals.
Is it Time-Bound?
Right now, no. My goal as it stands is not time bound. Let’s review. My goblin goal statement so far is “I want to write a fantasy-thriller novel that is approximately 250 pages long. By achieving this goal, I will be setting the example for my son that he too can chase his dreams and do anything he sets his mind to”. Not a bad goal, if I do say so myself, but it’s still missing something. To make this an effective goal that I’m likely to stick to, I need to put a deadline on it. Nothing makes me go into Productive Goblin mode more than a looming deadline.
That being said, there’s a little bit more that goes into this than just slapping a due date on it. With professional goals, those deadlines are likely going to be given to you by management. For example, if you’re working on the HTML and CSS for a new page on a company website, you’ll have a date that it needs to be ready to be QA’d by, a date those QA’s need to be finished, and a date that all improvements need to be finished and ready for launch. When you are setting the deadline for yourself, make sure that you remember to be specific.
It’s okay to break a big goal down into baby steps.
For example, I’m writing this post in June of 2023. I haven’t at this time put any thought or planning into my goblin goal besides my little word vomit on this post. I think a reasonable starting step would be to have a finished outline of my novel with chapters and the plot point for each chapter finished by the end of August, 2023. Once that’s done, I can set my actual writing goal. Is that a generous time frame for an outline? I’m not sure, having never written a book personally. The big picture is still writing the novel, but this time frame lets me make sure that I’m still allotting time for myself, my family, my career, and continuing to create content for this website.
Final Goblin Goal
With all of those steps, let’s take a look at the final goal statement I’ve created.
I will write a fantasy-thriller with approximately 250 pages by writing 30 minutes a day to set the example for my child that he can do anything he set his mind to, and that dreams do come true. I will have my detailed outline finished by August 31st, 2023 and at that time, I will re-evaluate my goal and set the time frames for the first draft.
Let’s make sure it fits the criteria. Is it specific? Yes. It is measurable? Yes, by adding the “30 minutes a day” I’m adding a measurable chunk of time to the goal. Is it achievable? By breaking this into a baby step, it is achievable. Is it relevant? Yes. Is it time-bound? Yes.
With this my fellow goblins, let’s go forth and conquer our goblin goals. Together, we can watch our dreams come true.