©2019 by Diana Ribeiro

Plan Your Way To Success: Goal Setting For Medical Writers

I believe that planning is part of success

As well as having to aspire to, having goals is creating as aspirational place to be, which allows you to plan your way there.

When you make your way towards a goal, you can collect small and big victories along the way, learn from mishaps and keep your motivation along the way.

Why wait for January 1st to set goals and start planning your journey? There’s a couple of months until the end of the year, and I say: make the most of them!

Setting a big goal can be daunting, especially if we can’t see how we’re going to achieve it. That’s why I enjoyed reading an article about the two things you can do now to stay motivated while working towards your goals. Reading it I could see the importance of breaking big goals into smaller ones, so that they’re not as daunting and seemingly hard to reach. Doing that also allows you to focus on what you can do today to achieve those smaller goals, and start taking the first steps of your new path.

So, having small, attainable goals is a good strategy for everyday actions, while having a bigger goal down the road keeps you motivated.

But what if you really have set yourself a gigantic, enormous mammoth of a goal? Like switching from academia to medical writing? From being an employee to a freelancer? Or both?!

Well, in that case, I suggest learning from those who made possible for Man to land on the Moon. I specially liked the way thinking inside the box is valued, because that means understanding that you already have inside you the knowledge and tools to succeed. The power of small actions and collaborative thinking also plays an important role in achieving big goals. Finally, when talking about goals, you might have heard the acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based), but when shooting for the moon or your mammoth goal it’s better to work HARD and set goals that are Honest, Actionable, Radical, and Detailed.

Of course, there’s no point in setting goals and let them collect electronic dust in your computer, so here are 8 ways to stay accountable and work towards your goals. Here are the main ideas, if you don’t have time to read the article:

  1. Be honest with yourself.

  2. Commit to a schedule.

  3. Create micro-goals.

  4. Get an accountability partner.

  5. Don’t self-sabotage.

  6. Know your why.

  7. Celebrate!

  1. Review you’re your goals.


When setting your goals, my top tips are:

  • Find balance: between aspiration and reality, having a mix of big and small goals makes a fulfilling path.

  • Be flexible: Sometimes the place where you end up is not where you thought to be when you planned your journey. And that’s okay.

  • Have patience: small and steady is my motto. Small steps also take you to your destination, and allow you to take in the landscape around you.


I’d like to share with you a resource to get you moving: Youtube video Yoga for writers, from Yoga with Adriene. It’s a beautiful, calm, 30-minute practice that will make you stretch those aching muscles. I found it perfect for a mid-day break.

And this week’s reading recommendation is the September MEW issue. The feature articles are open access, you don’t have to be an EMWA member to get them. Simply click on the article title and download it. I enjoyed reading Carolina’s article about lifestyle medicine and I am now going through Surayya’s one about trends in regulatory writing.


Until next time, stay curious.