Setting SMART Goals
Goals. Everyone's got to have them. At least that's what Kyler's dad says.
Goal setting is on trend! There are motivational quotes, bullet journals, articles, tips, tricks and advice everywhere you turn. Who doesn't love sitting down with a cup of tea and a journal to outline your plan for world domination, am I right? My problem is this: goals, in my humble opinion, are a lot like New Year's resolutions; everybody has them but not everybody succeeds.
So what's the difference between these two types of people? How can you make sure your goals are attainable? Aside from being realistic, (it's my GOAL to win the lotto one day), they should be SMART goals. Aren't all goals smart ones to have, you ask? Well yes, sure they are, but there's more to it than that.
I learned about SMART goals a lifetime ago when I worked in a corporate office in downtown Calgary, and although I have vowed I will never do that again, I learned some very valuable things over the course of my career there, among them: goal setting.
So, what in God's name is a SMART goal?
When setting goals, be SPECIFIC. Make sure your goal is well defined. Details should be plentiful because vague goals leave too much wiggle room.
Let's say your goal is to write a novel in the next six months. Sure, you could simply say, "I want to write a novel in the next six months," or you could have a little madlibs style fun but completing the following sentence:
I want to finish the first draft of a novel in the next six months. I want to write __ words per day and dedicate ___ hours to writing daily.
The second one is only a few sentences longer but has a lot more impact because it is detailed, well thought out and defined.
Make it MEASURABLE. Without any way to quantify your results, how do you know if you succeeded or not? How can you possibly know when to pop the bubbly in celebration?
If I set a goal to write a novel in six months and didn't keep track of my writing word count each day, where else can I can an indication of my progress?
In order to make your goals measurable, add precise timelines to them. I'm going to write a novel in six months. I will be done approximately half of the manuscript after three months at _________ words.
Besides, tracking your progress is fun and allows little mini celebrations, even if that's taking an hour off of writing to meet a friend for coffee!
"I'm going to be the next JK Rowling,"
Ummm, no, you're probably not. Make your goals ATTAINABLE.
Sometimes this concept is a hard pill for me to swallow. I'm a firm believer that your mind is the only thing that limits you, so I do in fact have some lofty, lifetime goals.
But if you aim too high, right from the beginning, the chances that you will become overwhelmed by it increase. If you're overwhelmed, you're less likely to achieve the goal and self confidence can take a major hit. This isn't saying you can't have HUGE, MASSIVE, goals. You can and you should, but remember that slow and steady wins the race. Each smaller goal you are able to set and crush, is just a brick, building a step to the stairway of your dreams.
Does not apply. Do NOT waste your time on goals that aren't really RELEVANT to you as a person. If a goal has nothing to do with things that you want to achieve in your life or your career, it doesn't need to be on my list?
Do I have a goal of seeing certain bands play live before my time is up? Sure I do, but nothing about that is relevant to my life's plan, so it's more like a wish and not an actual goal.
Think of it in writer's terms. Much like when you're looking at a completed manuscript and need to cut scenes, you bust out the red pen and ask "does this scene develop the characters or move the plot forward?" If not, cut.
Only this time, YOU are the character and the plot is your LIFE.
Every heard the term "lighting a fire" -- something that propels you forward, knowing the day of your self reckoning has come?
Well I mean obviously your goals should be TIME SENSITIVE. It's not like your boss walks into your office and says hey, I need that report done by some day. No, she says, "I need that report on my desk first thing Monday morning."
It's true that common sense isn't so common, but if you really think about it, everything in your life is time sensitive. School, work, even basic functions like eating food is time sensitive and your goals should be no different!
Remember to dream big, think big and be SMART.