Have you set yourself up for success this year? Do you know how to actually do that? Let’s break it down.

Y’all, we are 11 days into 2023’s Q2. You might look at that and be going: What? This is not a business. I don’t need to think about Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4.

But to that I say: Yes. Yes, you do!

Here’s why:

You see, last year I started looking at the year in quarters rather than as a hole. Part of that is due to the intentionality that comes from the Mastermind group I talked about last week (the Sisterhood of Brushes and Quills). If you’ve ever done anything goal-setting related, then you know that in order to have the best chance of success, your goals should be achievable and measurable.

SMART GOALS

Because of this basic concept, I’ve always gravitated toward the SMART goals* method in which goals must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
Intentionality

When I first started to be more intentional about my goals, I did them on an annual basis.

This year I will finish my book.

This year I will lose 10 pounds.

This year I will __________.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I could never sustain that type of 12-month outlook. 365 days as a whole is just too long to focus on one big goal.

That got me thinking about how to break my goals into smaller chunks. I have a good friend who is masterful at this. She’s taught me so much about how to plan and how to goal-set in smaller bite-sized pieces.

Plan

Now, I’m not as deep into it as she is (although I’m working on it). She’s got the type of brain that is both right- and left-focused. I do, too (thanks, Mom and Dad!). She just figured out how to really tap into her right brain when it comes to planning and goal-setting in connection to her left-brain life.

Anyway, I digress.

Here we are on April 11th and it’s time for a check-in. What did you hope or plan to achieve or accomplish during Q1? Did you do it? Make it? Get there?

Whether you did or didn’t—because I’ve been there, believe me—it’s okay. This check-in period is not meant to be a time to self-flagellate because you fell short.

It’s a time to celebrate the wins and acknowledge that there are some goals you’re still working on. Maybe some are even meant to cross over from one quarter to the next. Writing a book, for example, usually can’t be done in just 3 short months. Even if you’re on a rapid-release schedule, there is more to writing than… just writing. There’s thinking, planning, plotting, writing, revising, editing, copy editing, formatting, and marketing. The list goes on.

When you have a big goal like writing a book, think about it in achievable pieces rather than as a whole.

 

Look at this sample:
Q1:
  • Map out the Hero’s Journey for story
  • Write 1 chapter per week
  • Eat vegetables 3x per week
  • Walk every other day
Q2:
  • Revisit the Hero’s Journey map
  • Write 1-2 chapters per week
  • Eat vegetables 4x per week
  • Walk every other day + 1!
Q3:
  • Revisit the Hero’s Journey map
  • Write 1-2 chapters per week
  • Eat vegetables 5x per week
  • Walk every other day + 1!
  • Do yoga 2x a month
Q4:
  • Revisit the Hero’s Journey map
  • Write 1-2 chapters per week
  • Eat vegetables 4x per week (this is working)
  • Walk every other day + 1!
  • Do yoga 2x a month
  • Plan my end-of-Q4 celebration
Things to Notice

Notice how some of the goals change during the different quarters. This is just a sample, but some of this is exactly how I approach my goals. I love the ideas in Atomic Habits, specifically stacking your habits to help grow into them. If I start with the commitment of eating vegetables three times a week, that feels very doable, right? I’m setting myself up for success rather than for failure.

Once I’ve achieved that success of getting my leafy greens on the regular, I can bump up my goal to four times a week in Q2. Then to five times a week in Q3. If that number is working and bumping it up feels undoable, then I leave it as is.

Key Tenet

My Key Tenet is to ALWAYS set myself up for success, not failure.

 

Q2 Check-in

As we launch into Q2, I’ve looked at my progress and evaluated how I did on my Q1 goals:

WINS:

Goal: Earn XX/month— ✅ I achieved this, so yay!

Goal: Complete synopsis and proposal for Sky Girls—  ✅

Goal: Start practicing yoga again— ✅

Goal: Create covers for Lola Cruz re-release— ✅

Goal: Create covers for Bodice of Evidence and Bobbin for Answers— ✅ (for one of these)

Goal: Format Lola Cruz books—✅ (2 of 5 are done)

STILL WORKING

Goal: Write Bodice of Evidence Novella— 👩🏼‍💻

Goal: Continue (ongoing goal) yoga practice with 2x week— 👩🏼‍💻

Goal: Create cover for Bobbin for Answers— 👩🏼‍💻 

Goal: Format final 3 Lola Cruz covers— 👩🏼‍💻 

Q2 Goals:
  • Write Lola Baby novella
  • Write 2 scenes a week of Sky Girls
  • Finish Bodice of Evidence
  • Continue Yoga Practice 2x week
Wrapping Up

As you can see, many of my goals are ongoing or I’m still working on them. Had I set them as annual goals, I feel pretty sure my momentum would have waned and I would have felt less motivated. As it is, though, I’ve had some good wins.

I encourage you to think about your goals in a new way—breaking them into these bite-sized chunks and looking at what you can achieve in 3 months versus 12, at what you can work toward, carrying the goal on from one Q to the next, and how you can set yourself up for success.

*More about SMART goals

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