A phrase I hate keeps coming to mind. “Smart Goals” I hate it because it reminds me of teacher Professional Development and that was one of the things that demoralized me most as a teacher. Professional Development done in our district is meant well but becomes too prescriptive, dogmatic, and negative. Smart goals. A great idea until it became something we had to do for many things, more meetings we had to go to to write these goals, documentation and tracking of these, and very little support or time left over on what to do if, for whatever reason, we weren’t meeting our goals. Only the blame put on us and fear we’d be in trouble. Oh, and there was all the time wasted on teaching us, again, what smart goals were and how to use them before we could even get started.
Ok, soap box had been dismounted, folded, and put away.
I’ve been thinking about smart goals because it has been a tool I have taken from my educational experience and applied to this new career.
Here is what a smart goal is:
It is useful in any area of your life where you are trying to achieve something. Since the school year ended every month I have written my goals. Here is why:
- Telling myself: I’m going to be a writer! and working as hard as I can toward that goal was going to make me loose my mind. Too, too big. And HOW?
So I began by observing, learning, introspecting and reflecting. I continue this throughout everything.
I want to monetize a blog, and need a lot of views, so what are other people doing that’s causing them to have a successful blog?
I want to publish my novel? What revisions does it need and how can I get perspective?
Then, like everything I do, I start with a rough draft. I list out and really think about what I want to achieve in a months time. I try not to run away with myself or get distracted from important things by taking on too much.
One goal for this month was to have 1,000 views on my blog. I think about how many a day that would be – rounded up it’s 34 – and I think of strategies of how to get those views… Another is to get to 15,000 words on a current WIP. I also want to submit something to a writing contest at some point this month.
I get up each day and think about what my goal for that day will be…
Annnnd usually by this point I’m an overwhelmed ball of volatile, effectual energy.
Then I have to think bigger and then think smaller.
I think of the month, I still have x number of days in this month to reach those goals, I can take a break and work on something else.
Then I think smaller, what can I work on right now?
And sometimes I need to do something other than writing.
SO these goals help me break it down and give it space to be successful. I haven’t met every goal that I’ve set for a month yet. I’m learning whether the problem is with me or with the goals. But, for some reason, writing down and tracking the goals is making that okay. I see what I haven’t accomplished, but I see what I did and there’s room for improvement and room for cutting myself some slack and relaxing.
I also notice that I have a very clear action plan and I am much more successful when the goals are on paper. Months where I have tracked my goals I’ve reached them most of them. Months where I haven’t it all just slips into the ether and I could clearly see my failures and could see less of my successes.
So today’s post posted? Check! Onto the next piece! I’m moving through this list of goals.