B2B Writers International

5 Goal-Setting Tips for Writers to Move Your Business Forward

4 minute read

How do I describe the status of my freelance writing business? In one word: fledgling. The problem is, it’s been fledgling for… well, too long!

I’ve taken more than enough training classes. I love the work of the writing itself. And I have a marketing coach and support network in place.

So, what’s the problem? A lot of serious reflection has revealed that my mindset and planning aren’t supporting my business.

I have dreams, but I don’t have an action plan to follow. I’m missing the goals needed to guide and measure my success. And I’m lacking the habits needed to support my efforts.

Sound familiar? There is a solution!

In Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals, Michael Hyatt delivers a concrete system that guides you through the goal-setting process.

Equally important, he explains what you need to understand and do before you develop your goals and what to do to ensure you follow through.

To succeed as freelancers, we must know where we’re positioned and where we’re headed. Join me in delving into Hyatt’s process!

Step 1: Believe the Possibility

Before you start drafting your goals, you must check your beliefs regarding what you want to achieve.

Do you believe you can do it? Your expectations shape what you believe you can do. Any doubts will diminish your chances of success.

If you have limiting beliefs that hold you back, you must recognize them and replace them with liberating truths.

How? Identify your limiting belief. Evaluate it to see if it’s true.

Most of the time when we have limiting beliefs, we actually have plenty of evidence to the contrary, but we ignore it.

For example, you feel your writing isn’t good enough yet to go after clients. But several fellow writers or teachers have told you very positive things about your writing. And you know how to write at least six types of copy effectively.

So are you really not yet ready to go after clients? Or is that a limiting belief?

Imagine a more empowering, positive belief. Implement that new, liberating truth.

Step 2: Complete Your Past

To move forward, you need to acknowledge and resolve what’s happened in the past, so it doesn’t sabotage your future.

Analyze your past experiences. Review what you wanted to have happen versus what actually happened. Did you learn from the experience? Adjust your behavior going forward.

Did you sense regret over something that happened? Look for an opportunity you may have missed. Hyatt explains, “We tend to feel regret the strongest when the opportunity for improvement is at its greatest.”

And don’t just look at what went wrong. It’s also important to recognize what went right.

Giving gratitude is equally important. Why?

Gratitude helps us build resiliency. It keeps us hopeful and helps us become more resourceful, creative, optimistic, and generous.

Step 3: Design Your Future

Now you’re ready to start formulating your goals.

Hyatt tweaks the SMART goal concept and instructs you to set SMARTER goals. SMARTER goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Risky, Time-Bound, Exciting, and Relevant.

His three modifications are changing Realistic to Risky and adding Exciting and Relevant.

Why change realistic to risky? When we set realistic goals, we tend to set the bar too low. When we set risky goals, we rise to the challenge. Our goals must stretch us and push us out of our comfort zone.

And exciting? To reach your goals, you need to be internally motivated by them. To push through the challenges, your goals must inspire you.

Finally, your goals must align with your true interests, personal values, and each other. That’s what makes your goals relevant to your life and worth doing.

These SMARTER goals are achievement goals. They have clear purposes and definite time frames. Their focus is on one-time accomplishments.

But sometimes you need to develop consistent, ongoing routines. There’s no deadline because you don’t want this practice to end. These are habit goals.

While habit goals don’t have deadlines, they’re still time-bound. Effective habit goals include a start date, a frequency of action, and a time trigger dictating when the action will occur.

Regardless of goal type, write them down. You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down! Why?

Because writing them out:

  • forces you to clarify what you want,
  • helps you to overcome resistance,
  • motivates you to act, and
  • enables you to see and celebrate progress.

Step 4: Find Your Why

Simply put, your “what” needs a “why.”

Invariably, you’ll encounter challenges as you work through your goals. To push through them, you need clear, compelling reasons to keep going.

How do you find your why?

Identify the primary motivations behind your goals. As you do, make sure you frame them positively. You want reasons to keep going.

And make sure you connect with your whys intellectually and emotionally. Both our brains and our hearts must believe in what we’re trying to do.

Step 5: Make It Happen

Once you’ve set your goals, take your first step!

Start with an easy task, something in your comfort zone. This gives you the boost of forward motion, a quick win, and a start at building your momentum.

If you’re working on a large goal, you may not even know all the steps required to achieve it. That’s okay. All you need to know is the next step.

Unsure of your next step? That’s okay, too. Just try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else. But keep moving!

Out of options? Reach out. Someone knows either what you can try or who you can ask. Or check other available resources including books, articles, organizations, or the internet.

Another key to success is regularly reviewing your goals.

You don’t want to lose track of them.

But more importantly, regular review of your goals ensures you keep analyzing them and self-checking your progress. This stimulates your problem-solving and helps you determine your next steps.

As you analyze your goals, you may find you need to modify them. If you’ve gotten stuck, change your approach and recommit to your goal. If you realize your goal is unrealistic, revise it. Or if you realize your goal is no longer relevant, remove it.

However, once you reach your goal, celebrate! Celebrating validates your effort and achievement. Notice what you’ve accomplished!

A Few Final Goal-Setting Tips

Here are a few other points to keep in mind:

  • Set goals that meet all your needs. Goals aren’t just for work. Consider your physical, mental, and spiritual health, family, and love life, community, finances, and hobbies.
  • Reach out for help. Share your goals selectively with supportive peers who can provide encouragement, learning experiences, accountability, and healthy competition. You’ll find yourself more productive, creative, and useful both professionally and personally.

Hyatt’s goal-setting process is moving me and my freelance writing business forward! Join me in making this our best year ever!