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Passionate SMART Goals

January 6, 2017

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ~ Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So here we are, a snowy Friday on the farm.

We’ve decided which area(s) of our life in which we’d like to move forward in 2017. We’ve taken time to feel, to allow ourselves to go in the directions of our passions. We’ve visualized what it feels like to move forward with a goal and what it will feel like when accomplished. We’ve taken time to visualize how we can integrate such an important, passionate goal into our life in 2017.

Basically, we’re in the starting blocks and ready to run the race.

What now?

Now it’s time to go to work.

You’ll have to figure out what works for you but I use a Passion Planner (no, I am not sponsored, nor compensated by Passion Planner, I just love their stuff) and love their concise method of setting SMART goals. Of course SMART is an acronym for: specific, measurable, action-oriented, reasonable, and time-bound.

Let’s take those one at a time.

Specific – Sometimes our goals are admirable, but they’re just too general or too abstract. For example, lots of people say they want to be in better shape for the new year. Great! But what does that mean? It’s a great concept but there’s no energy because there is no focus, there is no articulable goal.

What about…I want to write more in the new year. Yes, a great goal. But more than what? More than last year? More than last week?

Let’s get specific. I’m working on a novel and I’ve been working on it for awhile. I want 2017 to be my year. So my first specific goal is to have my novel ready for beta readers by the first day of autumn, 2017. That’s pretty specific. I want it in a form where it’s ready to be sent out. That means I’ll go through another draft or two, do some polishing and be ready to hit “send” by that date. As one of my former mentors, Rane Arroyo, loved to say, “specific is terrific!” Corny? Yep. But I’ve never forgotten it and it’s true. Get specific. Specificity brings action and passion to the party.

Measurable – Is that measurable? Yes. There is a specific amount that needs to be done. Let’s take the first example again, getting in better shape for the new year. What if, instead, you said, I want to lose 15 pounds by first day of summer, 2017. That’s measurable. Going back to writing. What if you said, I want to have 250 pages written by the end of the year. Measurable? You bet. Specific. Yes. You have a target and you can tell whether you have met it or not. That brings energy to the party.

Action-oriented – This just means you must be doing something to achieve your goal. If you’re going to lose 15 pounds or write 250 pages, it’s not going to happen without you taking action and being active during your goal period. Action is passion in motion. There is energy in action. You’re being proactive and not waiting for the universe or the muses. While others are waiting, you’re going to work.

Reasonable – Okay, this one is a killer. Passion is vital, is critical to anything we do. However, we want to lead with both our heart and our head. Whatever it is you want to do, it has to be possible. If you shoot unreasonably high, you’ll become discouraged quickly and, in a lot of cases, give up entirely. So, using the above examples, are we being reasonable?

If you want to lose 15 pounds by the first day of summer, well, you have approximately 23 weeks until mid-June. Experts recommend that a healthy weight loss can be between somewhere between 1 and 1.5 pounds a week. So if my math serves me right, losing 15 pounds in 23 weeks is about 2/3 pound a week, on average, which is about half of what is recommended. That’s very doable. It also allows for weeks where you lose a pound or two and weeks you don’t. Basically, you want to lose 3 pounds a month. You got this.

How about the writing? 250 pages sound like a lot and it is. But there are about 51 weeks left in the year. So that works out to just under 5 pages a week. If you take weekends off, that’s a page a day. Can you do that? If you really want to. And you’ll have days you’ll write 2-5 pages which will cover should you have days on which you can’t write. Just make sure you get in about 20 pages a month. Again, you got this.

Time bound – If you look at the above we have articulable, measurable, time bound goals. What does time bound do? We have air all around us but there is little pressure to it. What if we put that air into a balloon? Now it’s compressed and pressured and is making something beautiful. Deadlines and accountability bring the tension necessary to get us up off our duffs and working. They also allow us to celebrate as we get things done by our deadlines. Never underestimate the value of a good celebration.

So your homework for today and through the weekend is to set your goal or goals. Write them down. Then take each one and make sure it’s a SMART goal by going down the list and write down how it’s specific, measurable, action-oriented, reasonable, and time bound. Have fun. Dream. Make sure whatever you put down is something about which you are passionate. Make sure it’s your goal.

We’ll continue on Monday with some thoughts as you begin your journey in owning 2017, owning your year, and owning your life.

Namaste, y’all,

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