With 2019 coming to a close and a fresh new decade on the horizon I’m taking stock of what was accomplished and sketching out ways I hope to grow and improve in 2020. Now you’re probably nodding your head and thinking, ‘okay, you’re writing resolutions. So what?’ But here’s the thing, I’m NOT writing resolutions! I’m writing goals – and SMART ones at that.
It’s not that I’m against resolutions, they’re alright, but I feel they don’t set me up to win – and I like to win. The very definition of a resolution is ‘a firm decision to do or not do something.’ Automatically whatever I write feels so definite, so black and white, so unattainable.
Goals, on the other hand, bring to mind the opportunity to work towards something. They reward progress toward the desired result but allow for encountering obstacles without punishment. With that in mind I’m going to push myself a bit further and require all 2020 goals be SMART. No, that doesn’t mean that some of my goals in the past have been dumb. I mean they will be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
For example, I have a sewing machine that I barely know how to use. I could set a SMART Goal of: Learning how to use my sewing machine well enough to create my own Halloween costume this year. It’s specific; I want to learn how to use my machine as opposed to 'learn something new’ or ‘sew more.’ It’s measurable; either I sew a costume, or I don’t. It’s achievable; although, I will probably need to sign up for a class. It’s relevant; I’ve had the sewing machine for a while and from time to time need to help my kids with projects or fix a favorite stuffed animal. It would be nice to know how to use my machine to its fullest ability. Finally, it’s time-bound; I’ve set a deadline of Halloween.
The exercise of creating SMART Goals takes time but is a worthwhile practice. It forces you to think more about what you’d like to accomplish and why. What’s great about this practice is that it can be applied to both personal and professional objectives. It also sets the stage for helping devise an action plan of how you’ll fulfill your goals.
I tend to get stuck on the ‘Relevant’ portion of drafting my SMART goal. I’m not great at introspection and admitting what it is I’d really like to accomplish. By elevating my goals with this method I’m compelled to make sure I dedicate my efforts on something constructive. If you’re using this approach for a professional goal, focusing on the ‘R’ can ensure you’re in-line with other company-wide initiatives, thus setting you up to truly be a rock star for the team.