S.M.A.R.T. Goals For Songwriters

Man vs Row

Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

A while back, I wrote about the difference between goals and dreams. (Read it HERE.) Today, I’d like to dive further into the type of goals you should be setting.

You should be setting SMART goals if you want your best chance to be successful.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are: Specific. Measurable. Actionable. Reasonable. Time-bound.


A goal needs to be specific, not vague. For example, “Do more songwriting stuff” is not specific. However, “Finish more songs” is more specific.


Make your goal measurable so you can track your progress and know if and when you reach it. For example, “Finish more songs” is not measurable. “Finish 25 songs” is measurable.


A SMART goal is actionable. This means you have the ability to affect the outcome. You can do something about it. Setting a goal for something you can’t do anything about is like setting a goal for the sun to come up tomorrow or for it not to rain tonight. “I will finish 25 songs” is something you can do something about.


A goal should be something that requires effort (and is worth the effort), but it shouldn’t be unreasonable. For example, “Have 2 top 10 singles this year” is just not reasonable if you’re living outside of a major music center and haven’t even gotten a song published yet. A more reasonable goal might be, “Sign 2 single-song contracts this year.”


Your goal should have a deadline. Without one, it’s too easy to keep putting off the work. Without a deadline, it’s easy to tell yourself you’ll get around to it “someday.” Not only that, without a deadline, how will you know if you’ve actually accomplished your goal? “Finish 10 songs,” could take the rest of your life. “Finish 10 songs in the next 2 months” lets you know in two months if you accomplished your goal. It also gives you a sense of urgency.

Setting SMART goals can take you from a vague non-goal of “Do more songwriting stuff” to the SMART goal of “Finish 10 songs in the next two months.”

Here are some other examples of SMART goals:

“Record 5 new demos this year.”

“Select and join a PRO by the end of September.”

“Book my first cowriting session by the end of the month.”

“Attend one songwriting conference next year.”

When your goals are SMART, you’ll get more done and be more successful. And that’ll make you look REALLY smart.

What do you think?  What are YOUR thoughts on goal-setting?  What are some of your songwriting goals?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Also, if you have a goal of writing and finishing more songs this year (or this month or this week), I have a resource I’ve put together that I think can really help.  I’ve gathered 20 techniques to help you finish your songs.  It’s called… amazingly… “Finish Your Song!”  Click on the image of the book below, or click here to finish more songs.

finish cover 3D

God Bless,


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