In December 2017 I took a short course by New York Times Bestselling Author Michael Hyatt about goal setting. The idea was to choose 7-10 specific goals for the year from 10 broad domains: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, marital, parental, social, vocational, avocational (hobbies), and financial. 

For each quarter of 2018, Michael recommends choosing only 2-3 goals to focus on for those three months. It is best to choose goals from a variety of domains. For example, in the first quarter, you might choose to focus on getting closer to your spouse (marital), learning a new hobby (avocational), and training for a 5 km run (physical). In the second quarter, you might choose only two goals: growing better relationships with your friends (social) and saving money for a summer trip (financial). 

The key is to choose and be able to articulate goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Risky, Time-Keyed, Exciting, and Relevant (SMARTER). You can choose “achievement” goals (such as reduce your credit card balance by $1000, or run a marathon) that are easily measurable (either you accomplished them or not) OR “habit” goals (such as spend one hour, five days a week in quiet time with God) where you check off a box each time you reach your goal for the day. 

It is important to write down WHY you want to do each goal. What is motivating you? You may have several reasons. Then it is important to write down the first few steps you need to take to reach each goal. 

I strongly believe in the power of setting goals. When I lead writing workshops, I always make sure to include a section on goal setting. As the saying goes: If you don’t have a goal, you won’t reach it! 

With the beginning of the second quarter of 2018 now upon us, it is not too late to set your personal and professional goals for April-June 2018. One caution: It has been proven that when you share your goals with someone else before you get started, you are less likely to reach your goals! So keep them to yourself until you complete the three months, and then feel free to reflect back on how you did publicly! 

Now that the first quarter of 2018 is over, I am happy to share with you how I did with my three goals for the first three months of the year.

My first goal was to lose 3 kg (physical; achievement goal). I am very happy to say that I exceeded that goal—in fact, from my top weight the first week in January to my bottom weight the last week in March, I lost almost 4 kg!

My second goal was to spend at least 60 hours (about 5 hours a week) in quiet time with the Lord and songwriting (spiritual; habit goal). I am delighted to share that I reached my goal, writing and refining enough songs for a full CD. Hallelujah! 


My third goal was to e-publish an ~9000 word manuscript (vocational; achievement goal). I didn’t quite accomplish this, as it took me much longer to fact check the manuscript of amazing tidbits about animals than I expected. I know I was reaching high (the “risky” factor in SMARTER goals), but because I did make significant progress and can roll this project into my goals for the second quarter of 2018 , I can still say that it was a success.


Now its your turn: take some time to list and plan out two or three major goals to accomplish in the second quarter of 2018. By following the guidelines for SMARTER goals, you should be on target to accomplish your dreams for 2018!


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