Welcome to another Empowering Post, where I teach you powerful lessons that will help you build the writing ministry of your dreams.
I'm Felecia Killings, the Founder of LiyahAmore University, and it's my mission to give you the kind of support that you need to launch your vision this year.
For today's post, I want to continue with my teaching on various strategies that you can use to be most productive as a new Christian Author.
As I share in other lessons, being productive means employing multiple time-management strategies to your creative efforts so that you yield profound results.
Being most productive also means conditioning your mind to establish positive work habits, which form the basis for how you manage your ministry each day.
And with today's teaching, I want to discuss the power of setting clear goals for your work.
I'm not talking about establishing random goals, either.
Instead, I want to dive into what it means to set SMART goals.
This is one of the main lessons that I teach my students in my online school, and it has truly helped them to map out their ministry for the long run.
So, grab your notepad and pen, and let's spend some time discussing what it means to set SMART goals and how you can begin this productive strategy today.
SMART Goals Provide the Pillars for Your Ongoing Success
Back in 2015, I hit a road block in my writing ministry.
I wasn't attracting as many quality clients that I wanted, and I started to feel like I was wasting my time in this venture.
Because I didn't know what to do or how to help my situation, I started looking for traditional jobs to generate income.
In other words, I was looking to end my writing business and going back into teaching, but at the career college level.
So, I did just that.
I was hired to work as a Professional Development Instructor at a small college.
And while it provided a little income for me and my daughter, it didn't satisfy what I truly wanted internally: my own business and ministry.
Needless to say, my time at the career college was short.
And to be honest, I was grateful for that, because it pushed me to try my hand again at making my writing ministry a success.
After doing more research into understanding how to run a successful online business, I realized that I failed to create SMART goals.
In other words, I hadn't established a clear target for myself so that I could develop the faith to see this thing accomplished.
After reflecting on what made me successful years ago, I realized that back then, I had a very clear vision of my life and I knew the steps I needed to take to achieve them.
And that's what I needed to implement with my writing ministry.
Setting SMART goals, especially as a new Christian Author, is not only a wise endeavor, but it is truly necessary.
It's not enough to have a great idea or a wonderful vision.
We have to know the steps and plans that will help us reach those endeavors.
And creating SMART goals is the perfect place to begin this process.
Set SPECIFIC Goals, and You Will Thrive
Perhaps you are already familiar with this SMART Goal acronym. And if you are, that's great.
But if not, let's spend some time analyzing this.
The "S" in SMART stands for "Specific" Goals.
Quite often, when new Christian Authors are first developing their plans for their ministry, they say things like:
And they assume that because they've made these statements, then these serve as their goals.
But that's not a clear goal, because those statements don't actually specify what can be accomplished in their work.
Here's what I mean.
When creating a specific goal, you want to have details attached it.
Instead of saying, "I want to sell a bunch of books this year," your specific goal will be, "I want to sell 1,000 books this year."
If you want to be well-known in the Christian publishing world, then your specific goal should be: "I will host 100 speaking engagements this year that will help me become famous in this industry."
Again, these types of goals add substance to your vision, and brings it from the abstract world into the more finite one.
The more specific you are with your goals, the easier it becomes for you to create action plans that work.
Set MEASURABLE Goals, and You Will Thrive
The next letter in the acronym, "M," stands for MEASURABLE goals.
These types of goals build upon the specific details that you already have.
They provide a way to measure whether or not you are making progress.
Let's use the same example as before.
If you have a desire to sell 1,000 books in your first year, think about how you can measure or track that goal over time.
One way to do this is to divide the number of books sold that year into monthly objectives.
You may decide, "OK, I need to sell 83 books every month in order to reach my goal."
In this way, you are able to track your ability to meet your intended purpose.
And if you find that the goal you have set is not able to be measured effectively, then understand that your goal needs to be adjusted.
Here's what I mean.
It's not uncommon for me to hear new Christian Authors express how they want to sell millions of books through their ministry.
This is a great aspiration, and one that I have for my own work.
But selling a million books in one year is not something that I can measurably accomplish.
Why? Because I am not devoting sufficient time to my work in order to sell at least 83,333 books each month.
Therefore, it would be unwise for me to make something like this a goal of mine right now, because I would fail.
And failure is not something that you want to experience when you are pursuing a particular goal.
So, as you work to become more productive in your writing ministry, be sure that you are creating goals and objectives that are not only specific, but more importantly measurable.
Ask yourself whether or not you can track your progress and if the progress you are making is actually leading you to your goal.
If not, then you don't have a SMART goal.
Set ATTAINABLE Goals, and You Will Thrive
Think of this one as setting goals that you can achieve.
That's what the "A" stands for in this teaching on SMART goals.
Too often, new Christian Authors put so much pressure on themselves to achieve goals that are not achievable.
Consider the example that I used above.
If I put pressure on myself to sell 1,000,000 books each year, then I would easily wear myself out, especially if I have not mastered the ability to sell 1,000 books.
Yet, this is the kind of pressure that I see so many new Christian Authors endure.
They have so many ideas on what their writing ministry ought to look like.
And they try to rush things so much, that in the end, they burn out and even quit their mission.
PLEASE. DON'T. DO. THAT!
God wants you to enjoy this journey that you're on.
And more importantly, He wants you to do it in a spirit of excellence.
When it comes to setting goals for yourself, think about what you are capable of completing.
Maybe you're only able to publish one book a year and not ten books like the next author.
Great! Stick with what you can achieve.
Don't pressure yourself to be like other people, because you will disappoint yourself.
You will frustrate the process, and nothing hurts more than when you quit on yourself.
So, as you develop new goals for yourself this year, think about what you are able to do and achieve, and stick with that.
Once you've reached that goal, you will then be empowered to increase your ability to do more in the long run.
Set REALISTIC, RELEVANT Goals, and You Will Thrive
I can't emphasize the importance of only establishing goals that are realistic in nature.
By this, I mean don't put something on you that you are not able to bear.
Goals that are realistic and relevant are the ones that will always be reached.
For example, one of my long-term goals for my writing ministry is to have a university established where Christian Authors can actually obtain degrees or certificates in Christian publishing.
This is something that I've desired for a couple of years; and it's an admirable, specific goal.
What makes it a realistic one is because I have the knowledge, the plans, and the desire to see it come to pass.
But let's say I didn't have those things.
Let's say that I didn't have any idea of what it takes to create the curriculum to make it happen.
Then in my case, this would not be a realistic goal, because it's not something that I can achieve on my own.
In like manner, there are times when new Christian Authors do too much with their goal setting.
They say things that are simply irrelevant and unrealistic for their particular work.
They might say something like, "My goal is to have every person in the world purchase my book."
That "goal" is so irrelevant and unrealistic, because not every person in the world will know who that author is.
And neither will every person in the world care.
A better, more realistic and relevant goal could be, "My goal is to get my book on domestic violence into the hands of 10,000 battered women."
Now we are talking about something that is more powerful, more relevant, and certainly realistic to one's ministry!
So, as you construct your set of goals for this year, make sure that they are pertinent to your vision, your audience, and your mission.
Set TIMELY Goals, and You Will Thrive
Now that you have a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic goal, the next question to ask is how much time will it take to reach that goal.
Whenever you set goals for your writing ministry, it's important to put a time stamp on them.
And here's why.
Our minds work most efficiently when we tell ourselves that we must get something done within a set period.
If we simply say, "I am going to sell 1,000 books," but don't put a time clock on that, then that goal can go floating around our ministry for years.
Instead, it's important to say something like, "I am going to sell 1,000 books within the next 6 months."
Why? Because now your mind will go to work in acquiring the definite plans that will help make that goal a reality.
Time is crucial to your goals. It helps you determine how much effort you must put into the thing that you want to accomplish.
Time allows you to put perspective on your goals as well.
Let's say that you wanted to sell 1,000,000 copies of your book or you wanted to earn your first $1,000,000 through your ministry.
If you give yourself 10 years to accomplish this, then all of sudden that goal doesn't seem unrealistic.
It's actually attainable, because you have given yourself the proper time that you need in order to see it come together.
So, as you consider the many benefits of setting SMART goals for your writing ministry, remember that the more specific you are, the easier it will be for you to reach them.
Now, I pray that today's lesson helped you to see just how you can become more productive with your ministry.
Again, everything that you're doing will take time and patience.
But there are certain strategies that you can employ today that will help you move forward in the process.
These are the same strategies that have helped me manifest what you experience today.
And these are the same principles that I give to my students, who are making the most of their ministries.
Name Your Decade Bullet Journal
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This next decade belongs to you, Beloved. What will you do with it?
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