Be S.M.A.R.T., 5 Tips to Reach Your Goals

I hope you’ve begun re-acclimating yourselves to ‘normal’ world now that the holidays are over. Mom, Dad, kids, relatives are all back where they belong. The house is back in its usual state.

Remember my post from last month on Gary Gauthier’s blog, 10 Tricks to Ward Off the Post-Holiday Blues? I gave you a variety of ideas to avoid the feeling of letdown. So you should be feeling pretty good right now. You have a list of activities to keep you busy and upbeat. Maybe you planned a vacation for later this year to anticipate, as well.clear goals

I thought this would be a good time to reassess your annual goals and to bring back an older post to help you with that task. As the new year gets under way, we usually have a few leftovers hanging around. Oh, not turkey or pie leftovers. Leftover goals. We aren’t always able to complete the steps to reach our goals in the time we planned. So, rather than give them up or feel badly about not reaching them, we just need to set a new timeline for them.

Of course, there will new goals you want to achieve, too. So let’s review the S.M.A.R.T. way to get there:

Everyday we maintain our surroundings, cleaning house, weeding the garden, laundering clothing and going to work to earn a living. At the same time, we all dream about things we could be enjoying now or someday in the future – travel, a new home, new car, a healthier lifestyle, retirement.

 How do we attain those things? Wishing for them won’t do it. Some of us will cut back on our food portions to lose a few pounds. Others will take on a part-time job to save money for a vacation. But, how long do these efforts really last? Usually they don’t last very long, we accomplish very little and feel disappointed in ourselves for not being able to stick with it.

 This doesn’t make you bad, lazy, inept, or any other critical label you choose to hang around your neck.

 You just didn’t have the best tools for reaching those goals.

 We’re going to remedy that problem. What makes the difference in successfully reaching your goals and losing steam after a short period, is what I’m about to lay out for you here. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. has been used by business consultants and coaches for many years and it’s been proven to work, if you follow the guideline.

Specific: If you set a vague goal such as ‘I want to be healthy’ or ‘I want to travel’, how will you know when you’ve reached that goal? Specific goals provide you visualization of the goal and a route that will lead you there, if you follow it. Ask yourself,

 Who is involved?

What do I want to accomplish and what are the obstacles to overcome?

Where will it take place?

When will it begin and end?

Measurable: Create the criteria you need to measure your progress toward the goal. For the sample goal, ask yourself,

 How much/many?

How will I know it has been accomplished?

 Attainable: Once you have defined the desires most important to you, you’ll begin to imagine ways to attain them. You’ll brainstorm ideas. As you develop these ideas, you also develop a confidence in your ability to achieve anything you plan wisely. Ask yourself,

 What method will I employ?

Do I have the ability/tools to accomplish it?

 Realistic: A realistic goal requires that you are both willing and able to do the work to attain it. Choose a goal that you believe you can reach. Ask yourself,

 What conditions would have to be present in order to accomplish this goal?

 Time-Frame: Without giving yourself a set time period in which to accomplish the goal, there is no sense of urgency, no fuel for forward movement. Anchor it, and your mind will be set on your goal. Ask yourself,

 How long will it take?

What is the start and end date?

 To Illustrate:Cape Cod, MA

 Vague goal: I want to travel

Specific goal: I want to travel to Cape Cod, MA on July 4, 2012 for one week. I will need $2000 and will work 2 hours overtime every week for six months.

 Measurable: Keep a log of how much I am saving every week and mark the start and end of the six months on the calendar.

 Attainable: I will need to request the time off in advance and clear my desk the week before the trip.

 Realistic: It will be tiring to work longer hours so, I will go to bed earlier, and the reward will be a week of lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean.

 Time-Frame: I will begin working overtime on today, January 6, 2012 and I will have enough money saved by July 4, 2012.

I wish us all good luck in attaining  our goals and look forward to sharing the journey with you. 

Before you go, check these links to some pretty wonderful blogs:

On writing:

The brilliant Donald Maas, at Writer Unboxed, tells us how to decide whether we are Warm vs. Cool writers and how to balance those elements in our writing.

Janice Hardy, from The Other Side of the Story, uses the Bruce Willis movie, Die Hard, to show us how to write a seamless story. In her usual clear voice, she outlines three elements of the movie and how we can use to the same effect in our writing.

On Marketing and Publishing:

Joel Friedlander’s blog, The Book Designer, is one I never miss. He always has something valuable to offer. His recent interview with Dan Blank, of We Grow Media, they discuss how “he helps authors build their writing careers as a business, and also consults for publishers. He has a unique vantage point on what’s going on in the industry.” Find the time to watch this valuable video.

And another one of my go-to favorites is Copyblogger. Pamela Wilson’s post, Zen and the Art of Good Web Design, is a must-read to make your blog appealing to your readers.

On Social Media:

Judy Dunn, of Cat’s Eye Writer, asks the question, Is Twitter Making Us Crappy Writers? She illustrates 5 ways Twitter can helps become better writers.

Justine Musk’s blog, Because You’re a Badass, is always an enlightening place to hang out. Her recent post, How To Flunk Social Media and Lose Me as a True Fan, will make you stop and think about the image you portray on your blog and on social media sites. Justine writes like no other I know. You’ll be glad you visited her. 

For Laughs:

An Old Man’s Hopes for 2012, written by blogger Don Mills who calls himself The Crabby Old Fart, has a unique list of New Year wishes that made me laugh out loud. But don’t stop at this one post, everything he writes on his blog entitled The Problem With Young People Today Is… cracks me up and he’ll do the same for you.

And last, but never least, Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds is always a fun romp. Read about his baby’s first Christmas in Transmissions from Baby-Town: “This Chorus of Mirth and Madness”.

You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments! Please share some of your goals or fun things you’ve planned to get through the winter doldrums. Have any fun links of your own to share?

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23 thoughts on “Be S.M.A.R.T., 5 Tips to Reach Your Goals

  1. Pingback: Sunday Summary & #ROW80 « Raelyn Barclay

  2. Drat you Marcia! I was just about to turn off the computer when I read your great summaries with those links. I must go visit them. 🙂 I’ll blame you when my girls complain about my crabbiness in the morning. lol!

  3. Pingback: My fab 5 for 2011 – Natalie Hartford

  4. This is a fabulous post. I’m a big goal maker, but this just adds to what I need to do to accomplish those goals. A few of the tips I wasn’t doing before, but will now.

    Your blog links have me hopping all over the blogosphere to check them out. It never occurred to me to subscribe to Donald Maas’ blog. Duh! He’s awesome.

  5. I learned about SMART goals by working special ed. in an elementary school. They do make all the world of difference in helping get to a goal, because it clears up exactly where you’re going and what you need to do to get there! Great post!

  6. Great tips. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed (at least I do) by everything we need & want to do. You laid out a plan that breaks down & puts our goals in perspective. Thank you!

  7. Fantastic tips and tricks Marcia – I am totally printing this off and pinning it on my resource board. Another bang up post. And I’ll come back this weekend to check our your mash-up – looks fantastic!

  8. Ah to be SMART…I tried this prescribed method but it is just not my personality. I go for a feeling…a theme and then I work on that trying to refine it and make the picture clearer…my version of SMART…I think I can attain the goal in this way for me…love the blogs to check out…will do that later…will have the info you need by the end of the weekend….

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