Saturday, January 11, 2014

The SMART method of setting goals

 By Mary Kennedy
     Now that January 1st has come and gone, I bet quite a few of you have made some resolutions for 2014. It might be better to call them "goals," because "resolutions" has such a do-or-die sound to it. As a clinical psychologist, I help clients identify behaviors they'd like to change and I recommend the S.M.A.R.T. Just five easy steps, here they are.
S. SPECIFIC. Be sure your goals are specific. “I want to eat healthier meals” is not specific. “I will eat three servings of salad and five servings of fruit a week, and eliminate sugary drinks from my diet” is specific.

M. MEASURABLE. “I want to be thinner” is not measurable. Instead, replace it with, “I want to lose twenty pounds.” This is something you can measure, the scales don’t lie. Either you lose twenty pounds or you don’t.

A. ATTAINABLE. “I want to take the family to Hawaii for two weeks and stay at a five star hotel” may not be attainable if you’re on a tight budget. A more attainable goal might be a week-long stay in a Myrtle Beach condo.

R. REALISTIC. “I want a 6-figure salary in finance even though I’m terrible with numbers and I don’t even have a GED.” This is unrealistic. A more realistic goal might be to return to school, get a college degree and work in the banking industry.
T. TIME-BASED. The difference between a “dream” and a “goal"” is that a goal has a deadline. “I want to write a best-selling novel," is not time-based. “I will write 1,000 words a day until I complete a full-length novel in three months” is.

With the SMART method, all your goals can be realized!

Mary Kennedy


Lynda said...

Those make a lot of sense Mary. I've fallen into a few of those traps myself and they are practically guaranteed to make you fail. Thanks for the tips.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Wonderful post, Mary! Thanks so much!



Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thanks so much, Lynda. It's so tempting to say "someday" when we talk about our dreams. The only way to nail them down is with a deadline--writers are lucky in this sense, because editors do it for us!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thanks so much, Mary Jane!

Lynn Cahoon said...

I love SMART goals Mary. Thanks for the quick review. I hate seeing people set goals that aren't obtainable or under their control. Like I'm going to sell a book or I'm going to get an agent. You can send queries, make sure your book is the best it's going to be, but you can't control someone else's actions. Well, unless you write and live paranormal. :)

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thanks, Lynn. Love your comment on the paranormal...if only we could invent our own world and our own reality. A tempting idea. Sign me up!

Dru said...

I love this concept. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thanks so much, Dru! Have a great new year! I love that recap you did of your reading list in 2013--amazing!