Pat Wahler

Penning stories to savor.

What Camp are You In?

HAPPY 2018!

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.

It’s a new year! (photo credit to

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.


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)

Another one of my objectives. Read at least two books a month. (Photo credit Pixabay)


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.

Everyone needs a fun objective. Mine is to laugh out loud at least once each day. (Photo Pixabay)

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?


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  1. Hi, Pat! SMART is a good way to go, and something I do and then try to stick to. My personal word for 2018 is “courage,” because I know I have to step out of my comfort zone if I expect any of my goals to be met. It’s so much easier to hide in front of the laptop. I’m hoping to change that in 2018.

    • Pat Wahler

      January 3, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Lisa, you have accomplished so much in the tough business of writing. I wish I could be half as productive as you are. It’s tough to step outside the comfort zone, but if anyone will be successful, it’s you!

      By the way, I just downloaded The Write Man. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Pat–I don’t make resolutions, but I think I AM going to join/set up an accountability group. That might nudge me into accomplishing more.

    • Pat Wahler

      January 3, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      Sioux, I like that idea. Keep me posted. If this tracking sheet thing doesn’t work, then I may beg to join your group. 😉

  3. Well, my biggest problem is being TIMELY. So I suppose I’ll work on that little bugger. I do get things done, but not always in a timely manner.

    • Pat Wahler

      January 3, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Sheree, the main thing is that you meet your deadlines. Being timely certainly is a worthy goal, though. When I fall behind on any project, my stress level goes through the roof!

  4. Linda O'Connell

    January 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    That is pretty smart of you. A visual always helps me, so I keep my wall calendar on my desk to jot info and record my subs. I could use a little kick in the pants. My get up and go has gone under the covers due to the cold weather.

    • Pat Wahler

      January 4, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Linda, your submission rate is something most of us can only dream about.

      I think we are all hunkering down a bit during these frigid temperatures. It’s good reading weather, though!

  5. Lynn Obermoeller

    January 6, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Love that SMART idea!

  6. Best of luck to you. I like what you said about: When I got to the end of the year, I wasn’t sure if I had accomplished my goals or not. That is true if they are not measurable. Best of luck with all your SMART goals!

  7. I love this SMART method, and hadn’t heard of it. I’m not very good with New Year’s Resolutions, but my plan this year is to keep my goals in front of me where I can see them, because I have a tendency to forget about them around the third week of January!

    • Pat Wahler

      January 8, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Mary, I’d say that’s a pretty common time for most goals/resolutions to disappear. Here’s hoping this system will help!

  8. I’m starting my New Years Goal a week late, but my goal is to read 100,000 pages in one year. It’s a big goal, but I’m really excited about it!

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