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Easy Guide To Goal Setting & Completion!

Easy Guide To Goal Setting & Completion!

Is there really an easy guide to goal setting?  Yep.

And getting them done? Yep.

At the beginning of the year you see so much opportunity. You have a dream, but can’t really see the steps to getting there.  You need a plan!

But things like defining your goals, objectives, some measures, the strategies and tactics to get there, etc. all sounds complicated, too nerd-like and probably takes a long time!

So here’s a simple, high-level version that will help you get started setting up a plan, establishing your path and providing some steps to start meeting your goals.

And, to make it even easier, we’ll follow Hitson G.W. Riter as he pursues his dream and creates his plan!




Having goals is great, but if you have no plan that holds anyone accountable, including yourself, not much will move forward.

But I get it – plans can feel complicated, overwhelming and to be honest, just winging it is so much easier!

But what if you could create a plan pretty easily?

What if that plan, each year with a few updates helped you become the person you want to be? The songwriter you want to be? The business owner you want to be?

Is it worth an hour of your time?

Probably.  So let’s get started!


The Article Rundown
  • Parts of a Plan & Definitions
    • The WHAT: Objectives & Goals/Results
    • The HOW: Strategies & Tactics
  • Building Your Plan: Goal Setting To Execution
    • 5 Steps To A Plan
    • Hitson G.W. Riter’s Plan
    • Worksheet & Evernote Links



I consistently use Objectives & Goals for my personal planning, and not Goals & Objectives. Why? It’s more intuitive for me because I use S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

And, when I coach others, I suggest they do this as well. At my corporate day gig I stick to the standard planning terms, but you’ll find that even in most companies no one really understands the terminology!

My #1 rule: go with what works best for you to understand and execute on!

Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about the correct terminology. It’s about consistent terminology and everyone who’s executing on the plan being on the same page around that terminology or language.

After all, if you don’t get anything accomplished, who cares that you used the right words!



Plans have two parts:

1 – What you’re trying to achieve

2 – How you get there

That’s it!



“OBJECTIVES” are the “WHAT” you’re trying to achieve in general.

“GOALS/RESULTS” are the “WHAT” you’re trying to achieve specifically – and these are usually Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (usually a timeframe like Q1, end of March, etc.) – or S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

Notice I added “RESULTS” to the mix.  This is to reinforce that you need a measure for your success. All plans should include deadlines and success measures. S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a way to do it easily as part of your planning for tracking purposes later.




“STRATEGIES” are “HOW” you’ll achieve each objective in general and are easiest to write if you start your phrase with “To support this I will . . .”

“TACTICS” are the specifics of the “HOW” and are best thought of as “who does what by when” portion of the plan.  They help you plan your daily and weekly activities and are very specific.  These are always time-bound and should have a specific deadline (3/15) rather than a general timeframe (e.g., Q1 or March). To write these start with the phrase “To achieve this I will . . . ”

You may have heard “Actions & Tactics” before.  “ACTIONS” are the grouping title for a set of activities or “TACTICS” and becomes a way to summarize the plethora of “TACTICS,” making your plan seem less overwhelming. We won’t be using these just to keep it simple.

That’s it: the simple definitions and funnel effect of plan creation.  Think of the items as a drill down from aspiration to daily execution.




A whole plan seems overwhelming, so we’ll chunk it up into the main components.

Give yourself some time to think about each of the components, but try to complete the two main “chunks” within 3-4 days each.

Chunk 1:  Objectives & Goals/Results

Chunk 2:  Strategies & Tactics

The whole plan should take you no more than 7 days to think through.  And, you’ve probably already done quite a bit of thinking so this will likely just be organizing, documenting and putting a little discipline around your thoughts.

Once the thinking’s done, writing it down will take you less than an hour!

Basically, we’ll be following the steps I outlined in “Know Your Strengths To Create Goals”.


Step 1: Create A BHAG

What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal?

If you’re not shooting for the moon, then it’s hard to make it out of your neighborhood!  Give yourself a big dream to chase, but make sure it’s reachable.  E.g., I can see the moon – so all I need is a rocket! Not so far fetched if you’re in Houston and the space center is nearby.

Kidding aside, you get what I mean.  Dream big and then create a plan.

Two BHAG examples for two different types of plan creators:

Songwriter BHAG: Win a Grammy

Music Biz Entrepreneur BHAG: Generate $500K annually in sustainable Income


Step 2: Identify 3 - 5 Key Objectives (Chunk 1)

INSTRUCTIONS:  Write down at least 3 items, but no more than 5.

Think of these items as building blocks.  To “Win A Grammy” what are the steps that might occur? Is there a specific genre you’re pursuing? Are the steps to a Grammy in the pop world composed of networking and co-writing?  For the country genre is it co-writing in Nashville, or a different route through Texas.

You get the idea.  Think of the scenario that would get you there and start filling in the infrastructure gaps you have by creating objectives and goals.


Plan Example: Hitson G.W. Riter

Let’s follow Hitson G.W. Riter as he pursues his dream and creates a plan!

Hitson G.W. Riter goals plan

Freestyle Writing To Help Me Get My Direction Down & My Head Around The Big Picture

Who am I?  I’m a songwriter pitching to Nashville, but I perform so people will hear my songs and I like being a performer.

My BHAG is? “Win A Grammy”

To get there I need to?

  • Have killer songs that can compete with people like Lori McKenna, Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark, Luke Laird, etc. – I’m not there yet (that’s a gap I need to fix).
  • Even if I create killer songs, how are people going to hear them?  I need some way to get them to people, but I’m not sure how (a gap). It could be in the industry I guess, but I don’t know anyone (another gap).
  • I play out a bit, but I’m don’t really do my songs justice when I do play them.  I need to be a better presenter of my songs and
  • I need a pretty large inventory of songs to make sure I’ve got a catalogue that gives me the most opportunity to be successful. I only have 100 songs right now, and they’re not all pitchable.  That’s another gap I need to fix!


Hitson’s feeling pretty overwhelmed by now, and worse, he’s making himself feel awful!  The whole thing seems pretty daunting. He’s thinking that maybe it’s best to just go back to writing songs as a hobby.

Hold up Hitson!

Gaps are what create objectives!  You’re on the right track here!

By knowing what you’ll need to get where you’re going, you can create a plan to close those gaps and start moving down a path to your destination.

So he doesn’t get discouraged, we’ll help him out a bit and turn those “gaps” into objectives that tie to a BHAG of “Win a Grammy”:


Hitson G.W. Riter goals planHITSON’S OBJECTIVES

  • Create stronger songs that can compete at a national level for song pitches.
  • Be part of the country songwriting scene both locally and in Nashville where I can network and pitch.
  • Have my songs out there in multiple ways so people can hear them outside of the standard pitch process.
  • Build a songwriting process and that results in adding 30 songs annually to my song catalogue.


Step 3: Define What The Success Of Each Objective Looks like With Specific, Measurable Goals

S.M.A.R.T. Goals are important because they’re a way to hold yourself accountable. They create specific, time-based milestones for you.

Build your activities/actions around each of the objectives in the prior step, with a deadline date associated with each action and something that’s measurable. What will you produce? What’s the outcome that you’ll use as your yardstick?

Hitson G.W. Riter goals planHitson’s first OBJECTIVE broken down into GOALS, STRATEGIES & TACTICS:

  • Create stronger songs that can compete at a national level for song pitches

Goal (To measure this I will): Have one song considered “contemporary, w/unique melody” among my songwriting peer group by April 1st.

Strategy (To support this I will): Create songs with different grooves that are outside my comfort zone musically

Tactic (To achieve this I will): Write a song using a bosa nova groove [DUE: 1/30]

Tactic: Write a song with a reggae groove [DUE: 2/28]

Tactic:  Write a song with a swing groove [DUE: 3/30]


Set more than one goal, or measure, associated with an objective. I usually have a couple and use them to create milestones during the year.

This keeps me on track, makes me feel like I’m moving forward, and provides momentum. There’s nothing worse than having everything due on the same date.

Give yourself success milestones in 30, 60, 90 or 120 day time frames. Create blocks of success.

Seeing movement is a key part of keeping your momentum going!

Creating measures that have a check-in on December 31st makes it easy to procrastinate.


Hitson’s getting the hang of this, so he’s going to add another GOAL to OBJECTIVE #1 with some additional strategies and tactics to help him achieve those success measures:

Hitson G.W. Riter goals planGoal (To measure this I will): Have one song considered “pitchable” by a song plugger, NSAI critiquer or my songwriting coach by June 30th.

Strategy (To support this I will): Develop a more diverse song catalogue that aligns with the type of songs being pitched to Nashville by top songwriters.

Tactic (To achieve this I will):  Create song maps for 3 of my songs to find melody patterns I’m consistently using so I can proactively create different patterns in my songs as I write them. [DUE: 4/30]

Tactic: Choose 4 songs in country genre and write a song from each using the Ghost Song Exercise [DUE: 5/30]

Tactic: Create a variety of song structures across different time signatures by finding one song a month with an interesting structure and write a new song with that structure [DUE: 30TH OF EACH MONTH] (12 songs)

Strategy (To support this I will): Grow my songwriting skills by addressing my largest weaknesses first.

Tactic (To achieve this I will):  Identify a songwriting coach, class or resource that focuses on melody writing (my biggest weakness).  [DUE: 4/15 – Attend by 4/30]

Tactic:  Identify a songwriting coach, class or resource that focuses on concise story telling (another big weakness).  [DUE: 4/15 – Attend by 4/30]

Tactic:  Identify a songwriting coach, class or resource that focuses on imagery and figurative language “showing not telling” (another big weakness).  [DUE: 4/15 – Attend by 4/30]

Tactic:  Map 4 songs I admire melodically in the country genre and understand how those songs are “moving” and add one element from each to a song. [DUE: 5/30]


A side comment from Hitson “I’m getting the hang of this! Go check out my full plan – it’s pretty impressive. And best – it’s doable! I’m pumped!”


Step 4: Keep Yourself Moving Forward

This part is extremely important: make sure your objectives and goals are where you can see them.

Out of site, out of mind is so true!  Make your objectives and goals part of your daily life.  Review them weekly to make sure you’re taking steps to complete each of them by the dates you’ve set.

I usually take a peek on Friday afternoons because I tend to do most of my songwriting activities on the weekends.  Find a time for you that gives you a quick review window just before when you have time to focus on one or two of the items.

Checking on a Monday when you won’t be able to touch anything until Saturday will hurt more than help.


Step 5: Review And Revise Mid-Year

Life happens and things change, so make sure you’re morphing with it.  Your objectives and goals should be looked at like a ship (objectives) on the ocean with a mast full of sails (goals).

As the winds change, you may need to adjust your sails.  If you hit a rock, you’ll need a new boat!

Don’t be afraid to make adjustments.  Your journey is an evolving thing. Pull your objectives and goals out in early June and make sure they’re still relevant.

Remember – the goal isn’t to check things off a list.

The goal is to reach your destination (BHAG)!


Your Plan Doesn’t Need To Be PerfectHitson G.W. Riter Plan Funnel

Yes there are a bunch of definitions and instructions, but your take away from this article isn’t “learn how to be a strategic planner” – it’s “write down a plan you can use”!

As long as you have the following elements, you can call them anything you want:

A big goal/dream that I want to achieve
The large step I need to take
A time-based success measure for my objective (OK to have a few)
An approach to support achieving the goal
An activity that will help you achieve your strategy


Free Stuff To Help You Get Things Done!


1 Know Your Strengths

To create objectives and goals that will get you to the next level of your songwriting, you need to know your songwriting gaps. This article will provide a process for determining what you do well and where you need for focus growth efforts.


2 Know Your Strengths Worksheet

This worksheet will help you understand your songwriting strengths and weaknesses in order to develop objectives and goals to build your skill set. [You’ll be asked to sign up for the FREE Member Library]


3  Goal Setting Worksheet

This simple worksheet walks you through the steps of creating Objective to then identifying specific, time-based Goals (Chunk 1) and creating Strategies below each goal, with the activities or Tactics you’ll need to complete to reach them (Chunk 2).


4  Hitson’s Full Annual Plan

Examples are always good to have!  Hitson’s provided his full plan so you have an idea of how it all fits together.  And, you can use his Evernote Goals Tracker as a template for your own Objectives and Goals! What a guy!

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