Develop a writing routine

Tuesday Tips | The Art of Creative Goal Setting that will Help you Get Stuff DONE | Free Printable Worksheet!

The Art of Creative Goal-Setting | Kris Windley | With a K Writing Services | Moncton, New Brunswick | Your Brand Plan 2015 | Free Worksheet

Be SMART. That’s the key.

I’m not yelling. SMART goals are a thing…I’ll get to that.

So you all know that I was a teacher for years, before I became KrisWithaK. I learned a lot from my students…like A LOT.

But I learned a lot from administrators, bosses and professors too. I know – I usually buck against the authority figure-types, and particularly when they are telling me how I need to organize and prioritize my dream-time, imagination place…

Let me have my daydreams! I don’t want SpreadSheets messing with my creative magic!!!

But sometimes, the folks with all the pragmatic advice and spreadsheets really get it right. And the SMART goal-setting method represents a time when they got it verrrry right for me.

The idea behind the SMART goals method is pretty clear.

SSpecific! Make your goals really specific, so that you can be clear on what you are working toward, and how you measure success.

MMeasurable! See what I did there? That was a master-segué. You need to be able to measure whether or not you’ve reached your goals, and how well your strategies are working to get you there.

AAchievable! Don’t set goals for yourself that are impossible, or will take more time than you can devote. Break them into steps if you need to, but don’t set yourself up for failure and then beat yourself up for the next year about how you couldn’t cut it. Not cool, kitten! Not cool.

RRealistic! I add the caveat “and Exciting” to this one, because realistic goals are important, but they have to be exciting so that you will be filled with enough intrinsic motivation to get them done.

T – Time-bound! Ok. This one is huge. If you don’t have a super specific time as a deadline for each strategy you use to get toward your goal, you leave a big ole space open for that sneaky term, “someday” to sneak in there and ruin everything. Also beware someday’s cousins – soon, sometime and when-I-get-a-chance.

These elements are necessary for a good, achievable goal-setting hangout, in my opinion. There are a lot of SMART goal spreadsheet looking printables out there too, but they don’t totally cover it for me, and you should probably have a worksheet to help you. Amirite?

Luckily, I want you to be prepared.

So I made one for you! Because I luv ya, and I want you to be prepared for your 2015. It’s going to be amazing.

Let’s DO this!

Now, download and print this worksheet 4 times (one per quarter), and then we can get to the planning.

SMART…er Quarterly goal sheet | Writing Tips With a K | Brand Plan 2015

So how do we use this worksheet?

There are 4 basic steps to this goal setting process (all with the SMART rules in mind):

  1. Come up with one really effective 2015 Business Goal for the year that will move you closer to your measure of success – your Great Big Why.
  2. Outline 4 Outcomes that are measurable and will make that big Goal happen naturally.
  3. Decide how you will achieve each of those Outcomes. Do your brainstorming, research and crowd-sourcing to decide on 3 solid Strategies to use for each Outcome.
  4. The last thing for you to do is outline the specific Tasks that you will need to undertake to make sure that your Strategies work effectively toward each Outcome, and ultimately to the realization of your 2015 Goal. Make sure that you are clear on who will do them, when and where they will happen and how you will measure their success.

I’m going to work on mine too; lets GO!

Personally, I need to be able to really focus on one goal at a time. I’ve learned over the years that if I am working on too many things at once, I lose a lot of them to the sidelines.

My overall goal for 2015 will be to focus on raising my revenue by 75%.

See how it’s measurable? It’s realistic too – I’ve crunched the numbers and I can do it if I work hard. It supports my Great Big Why because it will make it possible for me to teach more people in more interesting ways and get my own Voice out there more too.

Always be aware of your GBW when you are planning, and choose one big business goal for the year that will support it.

To make my path to my 2015 goal clear and bite-sized, I pick four really great outcomes from my long and dreamy list of business aspirations that will make the big 2015 goal inevitable. I decide which four things I want to see happen that will really move my business and life forward – toward my Great Big Why.

Then, I choose the best quarter to focus on each outcome – based on what my year will look like, what my industry calendar is like and based on what needs to happen first.

Once I’ve nailed down the four biggest and best outcomes I want to see and I know when they need to happen, I give one to each quarter.

Now – this doesn’t mean that the outcome for my first quarter will end on April 1st. It just means that I’ll have it set up to work with systems in place and move my creative focus to the next outcome, while I keep this one moving in the background.

Go write yours down now. DO IT!

Ahhhh! It already feels like I’m getting things done. Goal planning is so coooool.

My 4 outcomes for 2015 are all going to be geared toward that major goal. The first outcome I will work toward is to create higher visibility for my brand by doubling my list subscribers.

After you have nailed your 4 major Outcomes, It’s time to talk Strategy. 

To keep it simple, I choose 3 straightforward strategies to implement that will move me measurably toward the 1st quarter outcome – and my 2015 Big Daddy Goal.

First, I brainstorm as many possibilities as I can think of. Then, I cross off the crazies from that list and think more clearly about what remains. I do some research and choose the three I think will best move me toward my outcome.

These strategies have to be specific, measurable and clear. You’ll be expanding them into specific tasks in a minute, so don’t stress about that. Just pull the 3 best strategies and write them in the pink boxes on your sheet.

I have Strategies like guest posting, creating and automating an opt-in freebie and making a new blogging calendar – like this one or this one – for 2015.

Now, you bring it down to the nitty gritty

It’s always good to recognize that the tasks aren’t as fun as the dreaming, but having these tasks closely related to the bigger outcomes and overall goal makes them feel worth it…even when I want to just curl up in my jammies and snooze for a month (I’m talking to you, February! You make me so sleepy).

Break your strategies down into 3 tasks or routines that need to happen. You have to be super clear and detailed about how these guys are going to happen, or they’ll fall between the cracks.

  • If you are going to start doing some public speaking to raise your local profile, you could attend a toastmasters’ meeting every Wednesday at 7:00pm.
  • You could also meet with a writing coach every other Monday morning from 9:00am to 11:00am – to find your signature story to share with your audiences.
  • Or you could send 2 emails to potential groups to speak to every Tuesday morning at 8:30am.

Now put those tasks in your calendar, kitten!

For my first strategy – Guest Posting – I have these tasks listed:

  1. Create a master list of blogs I’d love to guest post to (December 15th 9:00 am).
  2. Write an intro note and query letter template to use as a backbone for query letters to potential guest post buddies (December 16th 1:00pm).
  3. Send at least 2 query letters to bloggers on the list every Monday morning, by 10:00am, geared to their blog and what I can offer them in particular.

I have similar lists for my other strategies, but you don’t need to hear about all of my homework.

Go do yours! And tell me in the comments section what your big 2015 Goal is and the 4 outcomes that will move you toward that goal. Let’s do the accountability buddy dance, and keep each other honest.

Click to Tweet: Be SMARTer about goal-setting and get things done. Print your #BrandPlan2015 worksheet from @TweetWithaK here —>

And come back next week to see how I’m making my 2015 planning *stick*…to the wall…with washi tape 😉 Happy Goal Setting!

See you next week!


Kris With a K | Writing Coach

Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

You mad? Excited? Have a perspective to share? Please do!


  1. […] wrote about SMART goals here, last year. Check it out & grab the printable there too, to make are that your goal for this year is SMART […]

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  3. […] Know your specific goal. Read about S.M.A.R.T. goals and get a free download here. […]

  4. […] The Art of Creative Goal Setting that will Help you Get Stuff DONE – this one has a Worksheet that will help you break it down. […]

  5. […] our next year’s goals and projects – and coming up with really awesome ideas and strategies to help us kill it in the next handful of quarters – and setting up beautiful systems and calendars to help us […]

  6. […] define my #GreatBigWhy, and hopefully convinced you to do so as well. I’ve used a quarterly Outcome-Strategy-Task worksheet (that you can use too) to figure out how to reach my biggest goal for 2015, while […]

  7. richelle on December 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Oh K-Dub, you know I need this!
    It’s taken me a while to get to this because I have been a busy bee getting out my holiday orders. I probably could have been done by now if i had planned a little better. That is one of my big goals for 2015, be organized so that I am ready to perform. Also, teach a class at CL. I have a couple more pretty lofty goals that I will be sharing with you and then the world after I work through these exercises.

    Thank you for being so awesome!!

    • KrisWithaK on December 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Yay!!! I would SO be there, if you taught at CL. That’s (not so) secretly one of my big goals too 😉


  8. Trish on December 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Luv it!!! Planning to print yo worksheet & goal set & refine over the Christmas break! Btw, luv when you share your homework. Helps me hone in. 🙂

    • KrisWithaK on December 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      I’m glad it helps, Trish! I’ll make sure to remember that when I put up worksheets, so I can help you guys as much as possible 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you’ve got cookin’ for 2015!


  9. Sarah LeDrew on December 9, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Ah, Kristie! My favorite thing about your blog is how it gives me a friendly kick in the pants when I need it most! I have these wonderful ideas, and tend to have 30 of them at once, so this post was just what I needed to help me focus and then do what I gotta do to make it happen! Thanks again 🙂

    • KrisWithaK on December 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Hhahahah Sarah! I love that. With a K Writing: A friendly kick in the pants 🙂

      I’m so glad the kicks are helping. Keep us up to date on those awesome ideas! I’m excited to see your next year.


  10. Jennifer Scerri on December 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Awesome, thanks Kris! And thanks for the worksheet. How do you organize your notes and goals for your biz? Do you keep it in a binder, a spreadsheet? I am trying to get ideas on how to organize things. I need to figure out what works for me, but would love to hear what you do. xo-Jen

    • KrisWithaK on December 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I’ll be posting next week about how I keep my year overview straight (it’s basically all over the walls of my office), but I keep everything else in a combination of binders for worksheets, programs and professional development stuff, temporary clear-backed duo tangs for current clients + projects and files for archived clients, bills and other icky paperwork type stuff 😉

      It’s an ongoing juggle-struggle, but I like to keep things in reach, but clear and away at the same time.

      The office supply store benefits greatly from that, I think 😉


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