Journal

SMART Goals

Once a year, my husband has to create a list of goals for his job. But they can’t be just any old goals, he has to make sure they fit the criteria of SMART Goals.

If you have not heard of these yet, SMART is a set of requirements for when creating a goal. Whoever thought of it, was quite intelligent to make a handy mnemonic device for remembering what criteria the goals should fulfill. So, here is what “SMART” stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

I know it seems like we should get through Christmas before talking about New Year’s, but I think this is something worth sharing now. In the past, I have always made New Year’s Resolutions, but I never follow through with them. I tend to get enthusiastic about something, jump headlong into it, and then get bored or overwhelmed, and then stop. I don’t want to do that this year, so I decided to set some SMART Goals for myself this year. I’m still working on ironing out some details for them, but I will share the gist of them now, and then you can expect a post with more specific details.

I am setting some writing goals for myself. I know at the minimum what I would like to accomplish next year, it’s a matter of how much I want to push myself. I have also made some household goals (since I am a stay at home wife…) as well as some personal goals.

It took a little bit to think of how to create goals that fit the practice of writing into these criteria. But after a bit of thought, I figured it out. So if you are interested in trying this for yourself this next year, here is how I planned my writing goals:

  • Specific:  It isn’t quite enough to just say that you are going to write. I have three projects I definitely want to finish next year. I started with those. To get even more detailed and specific, I listed a goal for outlining two of them (the first one is already in process currently), writing each one, and the initial revisions.
  • Measurable: For my writing goals, I have assigned a reasonable word count to each project. As far as outlining and revising, I’m not really sure how to measure those other than the fact that it is either done, or not done.
  • Attainable: This was probably the hardest one for me. As I have mentioned, I can be overly ambitious. You have to know what your own limits are and be painfully honest with yourself. You know how fast you can write or how much time you will have. You also know what resources you have available to you. It took me about a year and a half to write my first novella. Most of which took place between October and November. I know what I am capable of, I just need to focus my attention.
  • Realistic: This is quite similar to attainable. You don’t want to set your goals too high, but you also don’t want them too low. Low goals are easy to reach, and don’t offer the same motivation or reward upon completion. Make sure you are still challenging yourself. That is the point of goals.
  • Time-bound: Goals are really only effective when you set a time limit for yourself, or make them relate to time. For example, you may say you are going to do something daily. My goals fall in both sides of time. I have set deadlines for certain ones and others are set to be daily/weekly/monthly.

I am still ironing out my plans for my goals, because it currently looks like a long overly ambitious list. When I break it down though and consider what I would be spending a day on, it isn’t so bad.

This will probably be my last post for 2013 as the holidays tend to be a busy time around here.  But I plan to have a new post (a continuation of this one really) on January 2, 2014 for your reading pleasure in which I will share my 2013 SMART Goals with you. In the mean time, I would love to hear what goals or resolutions you plan to make.

Have a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!

-D.L. Kamstra

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