Set Your Goals for a Successful Year: Nonfiction Writing Prompt #2

Writers need to set goals to achieve successOver the years, there’s been a lot of debate about whether or not goal setting works. However, I’m a firm believer in using goals to help me achieve the success I desire. So have some of the people I admire and whose advice I follow, such as Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield and Michael Hyatt. I’ve successfully used goals with my clients as well.

That said, you have to know how to set and use goals if you want to achieve them. Use them incorrectly, and you might find they hinder, rather than, help you.

Nonfiction Writing Prompt #2: Set Your Goals for a Successful Year

For that reason, today’s writing prompt is a bit more complicated than it seems: Set your nonfiction writing goals for the coming year. More specifically, write down three major goals you want to accomplish this year and three to five minor goals you’d like to achieve.

For example, here are my writing-related goals for 2014:

Primary Goals:

  1. Make my new book, The Author Training Manual, an Amazon bestseller in the first month on the market.
  2. Find a publisher for one, possibly two, new books by October 30, 2014.
  3. Write the first draft of my next book by March 30, 2014.

Secondary Goals:

  1. Combine two of my websites by February 15, 2014.
  2. Close down two of my static websites by March 1, 2014.
  3. Create an affiliate system for my products by January 15, 2014.
  4. Produce two new ebooks from blog content by June 1, 2014.
  5. Produce two new book proposals by February 29, 2014.
How to Write Your Goals

Some people like to talk about writing SMART Goals because they have many qualities that help you achieve them, including a clear description or definition (specific), deadlines (timely) and a way to determine if you have achieved them (measurable):

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound
How to Achieve Your Goals

Here are 7 tips for how to achieve your nonfiction writing goals.

  1. Be sure not to make your goals to large a stretch, even though the idea of doing so can seem positive. In fact, if you fail, you’ll be less likely to attempt any goal, let alone a related one, again. Set yourself up for success. Your goals should be attainable and realistic.
  2. Be sure your goals line up with your passions. Remember, you are creating your writing goals; you should be passionate about these since they constitute your career. Develop a career around the work that inspires you.
  3. Don’t let your goals revolve only around accumulation of things or getting more—making more money, having a larger platform or selling more books. All of this might help you succeed, but you will find it easier to achieve your goals if you tie them into your values and your sense of purpose or mission. That is why sometimes you will see SMART goals with the “realistic” changed to “relevant”; both words make a huge difference to actually achieving your goal since it must be both realistic and relevant. Your goals become achievable when they are relevant.
  4. Keep in mind the difference between your intentions and your goals. An intention has a huge amount of power once set. It is the direction you want—intend—to take or the action you intend to pursue. Hopefully you do so with passion, lending even more positive energy to that intention. Choose intentions that line up with your values and purpose. Your goals then will fall into place with your intentions. If you intend to become a professional journalist, for example, because this fits with your values and a sense of purpose, you will find yourself creating goals easily and effortlessly that are always “on purpose” with your intention.
  5. As you go through the process of writing your goals, or the vision of your Best Positive Self that you created last week, don’t get stuck in the negative sink hole of focusing on what you don’t have right now. This will produce negative emotions that make it difficult for you to move toward achievement of your goals. Be grateful for what you do have and for every baby step you make toward your goal.
  6. Be kind to yourself. Accept where you are now as you look toward the future. Don’t compare yourself to others. You are traveling at your own speed toward your own destination.
  7. Be accountable to someone. This can make a huge difference to whether or not you achieve your goals. For this reason, sometimes the “realistic” in SMART goals is changed to “reportable.” So, do consider sharing your goals in the comment section below. That’s what I’d like you to do every Friday anyway—share your prompt. This week it’s more important to do so than any other week. Let us witness your goals so you can make them reportable.

Don’t forget: Share your work in a comment!


  1. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that the RSS icon in your right sidebar is leading to the wrong place. It takes you to an email sign-up box, not an RSS feed URL.

    (Just found your blog, want to subscribe because it looks awesome, so thought I should tell you!)

    • Philippa,
      Yes, I know that; Feedburner may go away in the next year or so. Therefore, I am directing subscribers to a special blog broadcast via my own server. If you sign up using that RSS box, you will receive posts in your email box three times a week. Does that work for you?

      • Hi,

        Unfortunately, no, that doesn’t work for me. There are lots of other ways to have an RSS feed than just with feedburner, including just within your self-hosted WordPress system.

        The sign-up box that the RSS icon leads to is not an RSS box, it’s an email sign-up box. RSS feeds let people subscribe in a multitude of different ways. Doing it by email doesn’t suit me, sadly, and having the RSS icon link to an email sign-up form makes it look like an error – perhaps use an email icon for that? People expect the RSS symbol to lead to RSS feeds.

        Thanks for getting back to me.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. I intend to spend some time setting myself three large, and three-five smaller goals. I especially appreciate your emphasis on being kind to yourself and accept yourself where you are, instead of comparing yourself, your clarification that goals should be realistic to create positive experiences, and that they should align with your values and intentions, so they create positive energy (instead of making more money, bigger platform, etc). Thanks! I am inspired!

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