Many of you will have some vacation time in the next couple of weeks, so this is a great time to finish up planning for next year. In the last post, I shared how I chose my areas of focus for 2018. It's great to have a word or words that you can keep at the top of your mind for the year, but it is difficult to make any real change without specific and measurable goals related to those areas of focus.
Goal setting can be an overwhelming endeavor, so working within a framework will help you to create goals that you will actually want to work to achieve! Back in 1981 the S.M.A.R.T. goal was born (and I don't think it's a coincidence that's also the year I was born...) George Doran authored the article, "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives." in the November 1981 issue of Management Review.
The acronym S.M.A.R.T originally stood for:
S: Specific - target a specific area for improvement
M: Measurable - quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
A: Assignable - specify who will do it
R: Realistic - state what results can be realistically achieved given the available resources
T: Time related - specify when the result(s) can be achieved
Over the years, this has been tweaked, stretched, and molded to help people set not only business and professional goals, but personal ones as well. One common edit (and one that I find helpful) is to change the A word to "achievable" or "actionable."
So how does this work in real life? First, follow the spirit of this framework without getting caught up in doing it the "right" way so you don't fall victim to planning your planning without ever actually planning anything! Don't miss the free printable goal setting worksheet at the end of this post!
To set S.M.A.R.T. goals of your own, first take the areas of focus that you established previously and make one or more goals related to each. Here's a couple of real-life examples on how I put this into practice during my 2018 planning.
Area of Focus: Sleep
S - Specific: I will get at least 7 hours of sleep on nights before workdays to improve my health, mood and energy level.
M - Measurable: I will wear my FitBit to bed and review my sleep logs each week.
A - Actionable: I will set a bedtime alarm to remind me when to get ready for bed
R - Realistic: I would love to get 10 hours of sleep, but I know that with all my responsibilities, that can't happen on a regular basis. I worked backwards from the time I have to get up to be at work on time to determine a realistic number. I also know that weekends are different than weekdays, so I'm focusing on nights before workdays.
T - Time related: From now until the end of January, I will set a bedtime and review my sleep logs to determine if I'm getting enough sleep. In February, I will adjust my bedtime if needed. I will do this process each month.
Area of Focus: Steps
S - Specific: I will get at least 7,500 steps 5 days per week.
M - Measurable: I will wear my FitBit to track my steps and alert me to be active.
A - Actionable: I will change the goal on my FitBit app, I will park as far away as I can in the parking lot, take the stairs and walk on the treadmill.
R - Realistic: I will lower my step goal to 7,500 (as opposed to the current 10,000) so that I have a better chance of achieving the daily goal giving me momentum to meet it on a regular basis. I'd like to try to crush that goal sometimes, but want to keep it lower so on days that I'm in the car for my 2 hour commute and at my desk for 8 hours and come home with a pitifully low step count, that I don't feel like "what's the point, I might as well just sit on the couch" and instead think, "I can walk on the treadmill while I watch HGTV and get those extra steps!"
T - Time related: Starting in January, I will look at my step count weekly. In February, I will determine if I need to change my goal.
I'm not a goal setting expert, and it's very possible that I got the T (time related) and the M (measurable) mixed up or didn't make my S specific enough, but who cares?! What matters is that I thought through what I want to achieve, why and how I'm going to go about it and have at least one action that I'm going to do to get started. Download the goal setting worksheet, and give it a try yourself! I'd love to hear from you about other goal setting tips that have worked for you. Leave a comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A woman with many roles in life who knows the necessity of keeping things in order!