Building A Consistent Writing Habit

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I’ve been writing quite a bit about goals, reviews, and routines lately as a result of the new year and that’s going to continue in today’s article.

One of the goals I’ve set for myself for the first quarter of this year is to build a consistent writing habit.

This might seem like a vague goal in a sense but I’ve broken it down using the SMART Goals method of goal setting.

I wanted to write this article to share with you how to create a goal that is of value to you and one that you will be motivated to work towards. I’ll be using my goal of building a consistent writing habit as an example.

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The Case For A Yearly Theme With Your Goals

Depending on who you talk to these days, there are lots of differing opinions on the effectiveness of goals.

I’ve talked about this subject in previous articles but where I’ve landed on this idea is: goals are useful when set correctly and when you only work on one or two at a time.

This year for the first time I’m following the approach of a yearly theme, something I wrote about in this article: Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Your Goals – Keep It Simple.

This is something I picked up from listening to the Cortex podcast and have decided to try it out.

My yearly theme this year is “year of knowledge”.

With that in mind, I also wrote down some very general ideas for goals that align with that theme that I’d like to try and work towards.

This was essentially a brain dump of ideas onto a page in my bullet journal. I spent about 30 minutes doing this and the result was a whole host of goals, some realistic, some not so realistic.

With this list of unprocessed ideas for goals, the next step was to pick 1 or 2 to turn into SMART Goals.


Pick One Or Two Goals

If you’ve read my article Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Your Goals that I mentioned above, you’ll know that like most people, I tend to add more things to my plate than I can cope with.

With that in mind, for the first quarter of this year, I picked only 2 goals. I am hoping that by limiting the number of goals I work on that I’ll have a better chance of success.

During my next quarterly review, I’ll look back at how things went and see if I’ve achieved these goals or if I need to go back to the drawing board.

First, let’s take a step back and look at how to pick 2 goals from a huge list of goals.

The first thing I did was to look at each item and see if it could be achieved within the next quarter (3 months).

I did this to ensure I had a short term target in mind. As I’m relatively new to this process of goal setting I wanted to pretty much set myself up for success here.

This step whittled down the list a little bit but not enough to determine 2 goals to work on.

The next step was to look at each item and ask myself why I wanted to work on and achieve that goal.

In my article: Determine The Why Behind Your Work For Increased Motivation, I explored this idea in more detail but suffice it to say, once you understand why you want to do something that is the key to unlocking your motivation to achieve something.

I even went so far as to write out my whys for each goal. This will hopefully be useful next quarter when I look at setting my next set of goals.

This process actually did a good job of showing me the value behind each of the goals on my list.

From here I made the decision to pick 2 goals: build a consistent writing habit and build a consistent reading habit.

My next plan of action was to take these goals and turn them into SMART Goals which we’ll look at next.


SMART Goals - Build A Consistent Writing Habit

The formula for a SMART Goal is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Let’s examine how I took my goal to build a consistent writing habit and turned it into a SMART Goal.

Specific

  • I will write every day for at least 1 Pomodoro timer (25 Minutes) and no more than 2 Pomodoro timers in Q1 (90 days). *(Adding an upper limit to this goal will help to prevent burn-out)

  • The writing can be general free form writing or ideas that can later be developed into a blog post.

    Process:

    • Pick a topic from my writing ideas list or simply write about something that comes to mind.

Measurable

  • I will track my progress towards this goal in my bullet journal habit tracker, as well as my goal entry in Notion.

Achievable

  • I believe this goal should be achievable as I have taken the relevant steps to clarify it fully.
  • As this objective is clear and simple enough to do, this will reduce any friction with carrying it out each day.

Relevant

  • This goal is relevant to where I currently am in my writing process. I want to become a better writer who can more effectively share thoughts and ideas with others.

Time-Bound

  • The time limit on this goal is Q1 which is 90 days.
  • After the 90 days, I will re-evaluate how I’ve done and see what the next steps are.

Tracking Progress Towards A Goal

In the case of my goal of building a consistent writing habit, the metrics are pretty easy and can simply be achieved with a habit tracker entry in my Bullet Journal.

By doing this, I can easily check off each day that I complete my writing practice and over time I will easily know how well I’ve been able to stick to this routine.

I will review my progress during my weekly reviews to make sure I’m sticking with my routines.

That way if things start to slip I can course correct pretty easily.

Something else I’ve been looking at is a Notion tracking system built into my Goals database.

This is more convoluted to set up initially but seems to provide the same hit of dopamine every time I update the running total.

Whatever way you decide to track or monitor your goal is totally up to you.

The main things to keep in mind are that you can easily update as you go and you can clearly see your progress.


Conclusion

I hope you found some value in reading this article all the way to the end.

Hopefully, by sharing this example of how I set a goal to work on, you’ll be able to see just how you can do this for yourself.

I highly encourage you to try and set up even just one goal according to the SMART Goals technique and tracking it as you go. Whether it be the same goal as me or a totally different one.

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please consider sharing it on social media. It will help others to find it and that would really help me out as well.


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