That sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? At the beginning of each new year it takes me at least a month before I remember to write the correct date on a check. No doubt anyone who receives my check wishes I’d join the rest of the modern world and pay electronically. However, dinosaurs move slowly, so people will simply have to wait until I’m brave enough to do all my banking on line.
As you can probably surmise, I’m more on board with tradition than with change, so I join the rest of the crowd to write down New Year’s resolutions. For the last few years, I’ve been quite nonspecific. For a while my yearly mantra was simply “Do Better”. In 2017, I went even shorter, selecting a single word – “Persevere”. Although these tactics were meant to encourage me, on December 31, I found I had no idea whether I’d achieved anything or not.
A (SORT OF) NEW IDEA
This year I’ve decided to do things differently and use some of the techniques required back in the days when I wrote grants. This notion refreshed my memory on the SMART philosophy. SMART is an acronym developed by George T. Doran in 1981, describing how to effectively set goals and objectives. (For more on the topic, click HERE) In a nutshell, here’s how to use the SMART method:
S – Specific (Don’t be vague with objectives)
M – Measurable (How will I measure success?)
A – Achievable (Chances are I will never become a Supreme Court judge)
R – Relevant (Is the goal meaningful for me?)
T – Timely (Setting a time limit helps eliminate procrastination)
WHAT GOES ON MY LIST?
With SMART in mind, I put together my list. First, I set one general, overall goal to make better choices in various areas of my life. A bit vague, right?
To fix that nagging little problem, I set nine objectives to help me reach my main goal that are specific and measurable. Here’s one to show what I mean: Stick to my written work schedule at least three days per week (specific and measurable). Here’s another: Write for at least 15 minutes every day (specific and measurable).
Once my objectives were written, I had fun creating an Excel spreadsheet so I can track what I do each day. I’m just geeky enough to love making little check marks beside the objectives I accomplish. And when I review my plan, I’ll know for sure whether or not I made my target. If I didn’t hit an objective, I’ll review to decide if it’s achievable. If not, I’ll revise.
So there you have it. My game plan for the new year. Time will tell if using the SMART strategy will make a difference. I’ll be reporting on my findings as I go, since I’m such a scientific person (snort).
What camp are you in? Did you set resolutions or goals for the new year? If so, how will you measure success?