Great Expectations of SMART Goals

Making SMART Goals

People view the new year as a time to create goals. Be explicit and be sure to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.The new year is upon us, looming on the horizon with possibilities and potential. People often view the new year as a time to shed their old skins and create new ones. And the goal setting and resolutions begin: great expectations of what can be if only willpower holds out.

The statistics for realized goals is staggeringly bleak: only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution. Why are the odds so stacked against success? One of the main reasons is that people often set unrealistic and vague goals. You are ten times more likely to attain your goal if you explicitly make resolutions. Ten times. So get specific.

If you are familiar with the acronym SMART in relation to goal setting, then you know that the “S” stands for specific. It’s not enough to say “I’m going to get out of debt.” You want the goal to be more specific. A more specific goal would be “I’m going to pay off my $3000 credit card debt in the next six months,” or “I will pay an extra 10% on my student loans each month for the next year.”

Now let’s see if one of our specific goals is measurable. We’ll be able to take a look at the monthly statements to see if the balance is decreasing, so yes, that goal is measurable. If losing 20 pounds is your goal, then having a scale so you can weigh in weekly makes that goal measurable. If reading 50 books over the year is your goal, then keeping a list of the books read makes that a measurable goal. Measuring isn’t difficult, you just have to have a means to track progress along the way.

How attainable is your goal? If you are between jobs and your goal is to pay off that $3000 credit card debt in six months, that may not be an attainable goal (at the moment – don’t give up yet!). If you want to get your weight down to 150 pounds (and you’re currently 250), think about when you were last 150 pounds. Was it a few years ago? A couple of decades ago? Middle school? Have you arbitrarily chosen 150 as the magic number? If you were 150 pounds within the last decade, it’s probably an attainable goal. If you were last 150 in middle school, and you’re middle-aged now, then revise that immediate goal to a more attainable number. That’s not to say that you’ll never get down to 150, just that you’re making the current goal more attainable.

What about relevant? By relevant, I mean how important is this goal to you? If it’s not important, then the chances that you will take any action towards the goal are slim to none. Do you really need to get out of debt? You are more likely to want to stick to the goal is you’re trying to get out of debt in order to buy a house or car versus just trying to get out of debt because you think that makes a good goal. Likewise, you’re more likely to want to lose weight if you’ve had a health scare and the doctor has told you if you don’t lose weight you will likely have a relapse. Think about what your motivation is to reach this goal. Is the motivation – the WHY you are doing this – strong enough to carry you all the way to the finish line? If not, you’ll want to revise the goal.

Finally we’ve come to the “T” in SMART – timely. Do you have a specific time frame in which to achieve the goal? With whatever goal you make, be sure to answer the question: by when. “Someday” is not a time frame that your mind can work with when it comes to achieving goals.

The new year brings great expectations, and you can bring those into realization with some thoughtful planning. Have you made resolutions or goals for the new year? Stop by and share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

No Hope for Me

It’s Not That I Don’t Have Hope

I believe in hope insofar as its meaning that what is wanted can be had. I have hopes and dreams, & I’ve been putting those hopes and dreams into action.I really thought it would be easier to write about hope than it proved to be. I wondered why that was. I consider myself to be a hopeful person, yet there was no hope for me.

I believe in hope insofar as its meaning that what is wanted can be had. I have hopes and dreams, but in the last year or so, as I’ve explored what those were specifically and more concretely, I’ve been putting those hopes and dreams into action.

I used to be more of a daydreamer. Lots of thinking about “what if…” and “if I had this, then….” type of mind ramblings. Now I frame my future with “what can I do now to make that happen?” Hope, in the sense of maybe one day it will come true, no longer has appeal. That’s the kind of hope that makes me feel powerless; that I don’t have control over the outcome. I’m no longer that person.

Taking Action

Now I take the bull by the horns and charge forward with a plan. Well, maybe not charge – most days I tiptoe cautiously forward, but definitely with a plan. So for my own personal goals and dreams, I know that I control the journey to get there. I still have hopes and dreams and goals, but I’m not waiting around for them to appear in my path. I’m actively taking steps to see them to fruition. Sometimes I stumble and make mistakes, but that is all part of the beautiful journey.

How to Stop Procrastinating: Finished is Better Than Perfect

Hung Up on Perfect

I start a lot of projects; I don’t always finish them all. Sometimes I get bored or I “figure out” the project before it is completed and the project looses its appeal or I get distracted. Often I get hung up on perfect.

In my mind, I’m not a “perfectionist.” I don’t feel the need to be perfect or have everything be perfect. I do, however, often feel I could complete a project better if… I had more time, more money, more resources, more…. something. Lately I’ve been taking this problem – because it is a problem – head on. It’s time to stop procrastinating.

Let me just interject here that “project” has a fairly loose definition. It can be anything as mundane as cleaning out a closet to something way more interesting, like writing a book. Size and scope of the project seem to have little bearing on my ability to complete it!

Tactics to Stop Procrastinating:

1. Don’t get distracted: Keep the original goal in the forefront.

Why did I take on the project to begin with? Cleaning out my clothes closet is not on the “fun project” list, but I know I need to get rid of stuff that’s not being used. The “do it better” me wants to completely re-do the closet: new shelving, new hangers, new containers, and everything will look like it could be on the cover of a DIY magazine on organizing. “Realistic” me knows that just going through and pulling out the clothes I no longer wear (ever) and the things I no longer use (why did I buy that wide-brimmed hat?) will make a world of difference.

Unfortunately, “realistic” me walks into that closet and “do it better” me butts in within minutes. The trick is to keep “do it better” me in check. There is always more that can be done. And truthfully, until the closet is decluttered, you can’t know what the “right” closet organizers are. Furthermore, if any other unfinished projects emerge from the closet (that box of photos that should be scrapbooked, for instance), “do it better” morphs into “that’s more fun, do that instead” me.

No! Stand firm! Goal for this project is: get rid of stuff. If I keep reminding myself of that, then “do it better” me can sit in a corner and pout while “realistic” me tackles the goal.

2. Plan ahead to make the process smoother.

This is one with which I’m getting better. Nothing is more discouraging than being all pumped up about a project only to dig in and find you are missing something. It can be disastrous if that something is critical; or potentially enlightening if you figure out a way not to need that missing something. Either way though, it is frustrating and time consuming, both of which take away from “getting it done.” So take a moment to think about what you need in order to complete the project before you delve into the project itself.

3. Set time boundaries.

What is the amount of time that is appropriate for the project? For writing a blog post, I like to set aside a couple of hours. It should probably take less than that, but I feel that’s a reasonable amount of time. If the post seems to be taking much longer, than it either needs to be broken down into multiple posts (perhaps I have a lot to say?!), or it’s not ready yet (the words just aren’t flowing). I also have a time boundary in the sense that I set a deadline for when I want to post. Without that I am likely to put off publishing a post so I can tweak it a bit further. Nope. Have to get it done today. Which leads me to my fourth point:

Stop procrastinating: finished is better than perfect4. As is, is better than not at all.

Which is, of course, much like saying finished is better than perfect. Only this doesn’t have to apply to finished. My closet is better even if I only get to clean off one shelf. It’s not finished, but it’s better than not cleaning that one shelf at all. Publishing this post today, even if some part of me thinks that four tactics is somehow not as good as five (odd numbers are better, right?) and I’m sure with a little more time I could think of something else to add… Nope. It’s time to hit the “publish” button (as soon as I find an appropriate photo to accompany this post, of course).

[By the way, one can come back a year and a half later and tweak things in the post. Just saying.]

 

7 Ways Clean Eating Changed Me

I’m wrapping up my 28 days of clean eating detox. I loved it, and am definitely adapting that way of eating into my life. Over the course of the last four weeks, I learned quite a bit:

  1. Cooking isn’t so hard. I didn’t really like to cook, which is what made processed food so appealing: open freezer, take out box, microwave it, eat it. Every time I stuck something in the microwave I chided myself for not serving myself and my family something healthier. In the last month, I only used the microwave to heat up homemade leftovers! My family ate about 80% of my clean meals; they occasionally ate processed food. I did try to provide as healthy as possible processed options.
  2. My only beverage was water. I’m not a coffee drinker, and if it had been winter I may have opted for herbal tea (no sugar or milk) on occasion.  I used to drink fruit juice and maybe some soda 2-3 times a week. Didn’t miss any of that at all. Drank bottled spring water at home and water with lemon when eating out.
  3. I missed pizza the most. The good kind of pizza, from the pizzeria, not frozen pizza. We’re lucky to have a great little pizza place in our tiny little town. I reintroduced gluten and dairy by having a couple of slices. I missed pizza more than sugar.
  4. I didn’t miss sugar. My meals were so satisfying and my body was getting the nutrients it needed. The only sugar I ate was a few grams (less than 5!) in the 2-3 pieces of Panda Soft Licorice I ate a few days a week. It’s all natural with only 4 ingredients (molasses [sugar], wheat flour [gluten], licorice extract, natural flavor [aniseed oil]). The other source of sugar was in the 70% dark chocolate bar a sometimes ate a segment of. Serving size is 1/2 a bar – which is 9 segments. A couple of times I had 2 segments, but otherwise 1 was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. [Amazon sells them, but only in bulk – check your local grocery store in health food or gourmet food sections. This one is my favorite.]
  5. My family’s attitude towards eating changed as well. While there weren’t on board with ALL my meal choices, they starting eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, and trying new things.
  6. I feel amazing! I have a ton more energy. I lost about 2 pounds (weight loss was not a goal). My thighs are less jiggly and my stomach is (and feels) flatter. The clean eating got rid of (or at least reduced) the fat around my internal organs; my workouts built up some muscle!
  7. This way of eating – clean, healthy, and plant-based – has inspired be to get my health coach certification!
  8. I’m going to keep going! While I will be reintroducing some of the food types that were banned (like dairy, gluten, soy, and corn), I am staying away from processed food completely – or as much as I can.

Are you interested in eating more healthily? Not sure if you can make a 28-day commitment? I know where you’re coming from! Three months ago I would have scoffed at the notion of taking on this challenge, but my desire to feel better and be healthier trumped my laziness and reliance on processed foods.

It’s really not hard if you are committed and keep the reason you are doing this forefront in your mind. If you want to take the plunge, contact me, and we’ll talk about a plan for you. If you’d like to ease into it slowly, then I recommend switching your beverage to water – as much as you can. If you still need that morning cup of joe, fine; but start cutting back and then eliminating soda. That, in combination with movement, will make a world of difference. So drink water and take some long walks!

[Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but I will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me spread my message!]

Overcoming Sedentary Inertia

In my last blog post, Inertia – Or What My Mother Calls “Lazy,” I discussed framing decisions around two questions:

  • what is the goal?
  • why do you have that goal?

If you can answer those questions, then you are firmly set to work towards achieving the goal. You have to know the answer in order to battle the inevitable force of Inertia, where it is much easier to “stay at rest” (literally or figuratively) than to self-apply a force to get you moving.

Keep the Goal Forefront in Your Mind Always
So imagine that you are going on vacation and you are starting on the drive to get to your vacation destination. If you have children, you know that not 10 minutes into the drive the question arises: “Are we there yet?” You also know that if it’s someplace you are really looking forward to going, your own excitement builds as you get closer. You are thinking about the destination all along the journey to get there.

It should be no different in working towards a goal. The goal is the destination, and if you’ve considered why you have that goal, the reason should be good enough to make you excited about reaching that goal. It’s a good thing to be thinking of that goal the whole time you are working on achieving it. We do need constant reminders about our goal.

I like to start my day with The Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S.[affiliate link] I’ve been doing this routine for almost 3 months now, and it has completely changed my focus for the better. I get up in the morning and start my day with meditation/prayer, affirmations, visualization, personal growth reading, and journaling. For exercise, I either go to the gym for about an hour or do about 10-15 minutes of light to medium cardio. Then I’m truly ready to start my day. I have more energy, more focus; I’m happier and I feel amazing! [You can read more about my experience with The Miracle Morning; and learn more about Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning.]

All those things I do, and all those positive results I have are directly affecting my ability to achieve my goals. That doesn’t mean I don’t run into the occasional bump, but I am able to power through it because I know that sleeping in an extra hour is only going to feel good for that hour. Getting up and doing my S.A.V.E.R.S. is going to make me feel good all day. The latter is the more valuable option.

Techniques to Put Your Goal Forefront

  • Create some affirmations. Say them everyday.
  • Create a vision board, or have some visual that represents your goal. Post it everywhere, and keep it on your phone (great as the wallpaper on your computer or phone!) Look at it everyday.
  • Get an accountability partner. You want someone who is encouraging, appreciates your goal and struggles to get there, and is willing to give you positive criticism. (Not yelling at you for eating the jelly doughnut while trying to loose weight, but rather gives you a stern, but encouraging talking to and cheers you for moving forward. Also not one who says, oh well, maybe tomorrow you won’t eat a doughnut!) Check in with him/her often enough to stay on track.
  • Know you will stumble on this journey. Prepare for this, but committing beforehand to stop and take a look at what caused the stumble and why. This is a learning and personal growth opportunity (good things!). Commit to seizing that opportunity rather than looking upon it as a failure or reason to give up.

It’s important to know what your goals are and why you have those goals, but it is equally important to remind yourself daily of those goals.

This post is part of a series:
Part I: Inertia – Or What My Mother Calls “Lazy”
Part II: Overcoming Sedentary Inertia

No Motivation – Or What My Mother Calls “Lazy”

No motivation? It's easier to stay in bed than get up and go to the gym. While that satisfies an immediate desire, it doesn't get you closer to your goal.

No Motivation

Inertia, also known as Newton’s First Law of Motion, “is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line.” More simply put, if it’s not moving it won’t move unless something makes it move. And when you apply that to a person, my mother would call that “lazy.”

This is the law that makes the TV remote so appealing. Want to change the channel? Click! You didn’t have to get out of the chair and walk the less than ten feet to press a button on the actual television. Of course, if you are younger than 40, you probably didn’t even realize that there are buttons on the TV itself. And I’m sure that I’m not alone in suffering through a television program (or two) because the remote was on the other side of the room.

But my point is that without an outside force we’re likely to just sit still. Admit it, you’ve skipped lunch once or twice (or at least put off having lunch for an hour or two or three) because you were “really busy” at the computer. That computer time, of course, was actually spent writing one rather short paragraph for a report and then reading and posting on Facebook.

So what can make someone change their state of no motion?

Why get up early in the morning and head to the gym? It’s much easier (and warmer) to just stay in bed all snuggled under the comforter. To go the gym involves not only getting out of a warm bed, but getting dressed, driving to the gym, it might be crowded, that sweaty talkative guy might be there and I don’t like talking to him, I forgot to download the latest podcast and there’s no WiFi at the gym, and so on. Those are all immediate excuses – excuses that address the now of the matter, but none of those hold up against the big picture.

Why are you going to the gym in the first place? Whether your goal is to lose weight or be more fit or something else, you had an initial reason. Focus on that reason. Let that be your motivation. Pit every excuse against the reason: will staying in bed instead of going to the gym get me to my goal weight? Answer: going to the gym. Will going out in the blizzard to the gym or staying home get me to my goal weight? Staying home is safer, BUT doesn’t excuse you from working out. You can still do some push-ups and crunches at home. Get the point? The easier option is often not the answer. It’s much easier to stay in the warm bed than to get up and go to the gym; it just that it’s not the best solution to your health goal.

The Two Big Questions

This technique of framing decisions based on the long term goal works for any type of goal. The two important points to know are:

  • what is the goal?
  • why do you have that goal?

If you can answer those two questions, then you are set to tackle the goal. But you do have to remind yourself, quite often, about the goal and the why. Our minds (and bodies) are programmed for inertia, but it is possible to rewire our minds to focus more on the big picture and less on the immediate gratification impulses that sabotage reaching our goals.

Keep the Goal Forefront in Your Mind Always

So imagine that you are going on vacation and you are starting on the drive to get to your vacation destination. If you have children, you know that not 10 minutes into the drive the question arises: “Are we there yet?” You also know that if it’s someplace you are really looking forward to going, your own excitement builds as you get closer. You are thinking about the destination all along the journey to get there.

It should be no different in working towards a goal. The goal is the destination, and if you’ve considered why you have that goal, the reason should be good enough to make you excited about reaching that goal. It’s a good thing to be thinking of that goal the whole time you are working on achieving it. We do need constant reminders about our goal.

I like to start my day with The Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S.[affiliate link] I’ve been doing this routine for almost 3 months now, and it has completely changed my focus for the better. I get up in the morning and start my day with meditation/prayer, affirmations, visualization, personal growth reading, and journaling. For exercise, I either go to the gym for about an hour or do about 10-15 minutes of light to medium cardio. Then I’m truly ready to start my day. I have more energy, more focus; I’m happier and I feel amazing! [You can read more about my experience with The Miracle Morning; and learn more about Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning.]

All those things I do, and all those positive results I have are directly affecting my ability to achieve my goals. That doesn’t mean I don’t run into the occasional bump, but I am able to power through it because I know that sleeping in an extra hour is only going to feel good for that hour. Getting up and doing my S.A.V.E.R.S. is going to make me feel good all day. The latter is the more valuable option.

Techniques to Put Your Goal Forefront and Keep you Motivated

  • Create some affirmations. Say them everyday.
  • Create a vision board, or have some visual that represents your goal. Post it everywhere, and keep it on your phone (great as the wallpaper on your computer or phone!) Look at it everyday.
  • Get an accountability partner. You want someone who is encouraging, appreciates your goal and struggles to get there, and is willing to give you positive criticism. (Not yelling at you for eating the jelly doughnut while trying to loose weight, but rather gives you a stern, but encouraging talking to and cheers you for moving forward. Also not one who says, oh well, maybe tomorrow you won’t eat a doughnut!) Check in with him/her often enough to stay on track.
  • Know you will stumble on this journey. Prepare for this, but committing beforehand to stop and take a look at what caused the stumble and why. This is a learning and personal growth opportunity (good things!). Commit to seizing that opportunity rather than looking upon it as a failure or reason to give up.

It’s important to know what your goals are and why you have those goals, but it is equally important to remind yourself daily of those goals.

 

Daily Routine: Goals and Tasks

Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan. – Margaret Thatcher
Yesterday I wrote about wanting to nail down a workable daily routine and my homework was to create a list of the goals and tasks that would be part of this routine. Because I work from home, I have integrated some home tasks with work tasks.Here is what I have so far, broken down by goal and supporting tasks:Increase the visibility of my blog

  • Tweet 5-8 times a day
  • Post new content 4-6 times a week
  • Interact on Facebook
  • Read/write email
  • Weekly email newsletter

Further self-growth

  • Read book(s) 15-20 minutes
  • Read blogs 15-20 minutes
  • Listen to podcasts (when traveling in car)
  • Social interaction in person and social media

Write e-books

  • Research
  • Write
  • Prep and Publish

New Year, New You Series

  • Develop content
  • Research
  • Write
  • Schedule venues
  • Promote

Arbonne (MLM company)

  • 10 calls/interactions
  • Check stats and website for updates
  • Place orders
  • Interact with team
  • Coaching

Fine Needle (online yarn shop)

  • Read emails
  • Ship packages
  • Update web store
  • Knit on sample(s)

Domestic

  • 1-2 loads of laundry
  • Sort mail
  • Pay bills
  • 15-20 minutes organizing
  • Plan meals

Wow! Will there be enough hours in the day?! Seems a bit daunting, but some of the items don’t necessarily have to be done every day. And some of the items may be outsourced, although most of the tasks listed will be handled by me at this point.

The next step, other than continuing to refine my list, is to determine how much and how many. How much time should be devoted to task and/or how many tweets/posts/calls in daily quota. Some of those numbers I already listed, but now I want to see what things I can group together, even if they are tasks from different goals.

How do you combine or group your daily tasks?
This post is Part 2 of a series on Daily Routines:

Daily Routine: Getting One

Having been self employed for close to 20 years, I’ve had a very flexible schedule. I’ve generally lived each day as “what do I need to accomplish today or this week?” With launching this new business, I’m finding that my usual lackadaisical attitude just isn’t going to cut it. I need a real daily routine.

Between making connections on social media, writing blog posts, and working on my Network Marketing business, there are a lot of little things that fall through the cracks if I’m not careful to keep a checklist of tasks and goals.

Notice I mentioned goals. Because every task, no matter how mundane, should be contributing to a goal. Otherwise, why would you do it? Equally important is to make sure that time is wisely spent. No sense in spending 3 hours on something that ultimately won’t make a significant impact on the goal.

Now this new daily routine isn’t going to magically come together in one day – or probably even one week. Most likely it will require constant tweaking as my goals are met and change. But I’d like to get a basic foundation in place within the next couple of weeks.

So today I am going to list my goals and the daily and weekly tasks associated with those goals. If you are interested in developing or revamping your daily routine, then join me on my journey. Make your list of goals and tasks. If it seems daunting, then focus on one goal and the tasks required to make it happen. Check back tomorrow to see my preliminary list!

What tasks are part of your daily routine?

This post is Part 1 of a series on Daily Routines. Read more of the series: