24 May, 2011

Guest Post: Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Blogging with Amy about The Journey of Becoming, and I’m excited to welcome Elizabeth from Adventures in Life, Love, and Librarianship  to Dillon Bailey:

People who are into personal and/or career development (or have to attend a lot of workshops like me) know a lot about goal setting.  Leaders, managers, and other general advice-givers tell us that goal setting is the best way to get what we want and if we set goals and work towards them, we should, eventually, achieve those goals.  

Sounds easy, right?

Except when it's totally not.

Saying you'll do something or work towards something, whether it's getting a promotion or simply getting to work on time, isn't enough.  You need to do more than just say (or write) "I'm going to do X".  You need a plan.  You need to lay out a way for you to achieve your goal so that you can actually achieve it.  You need to set a SMART goal.

What is a SMART goal?  A SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  Pretty fun acronym right?  So not only is your goal smart, it's SMART. 

Okay, enough with my cheesy puns.  What does setting a SMART goal really mean?  Let's take a look at one of my most recent goalsand decide if it is SMART or not.  One of my May goals was to organize my office; it's a big project and I've been dreading taking it on so I set it as one of my May goals.  Let's take it letter by letter and see if I set a SMART goal.

Is the goal specific? Probably not as specific as it needs to be.  I didn't lay out how I was going to clean my office or what I meant by "organize".  I admitted that I had a problem (that's always the first step, right?), but I didn't create a plan on how to attack it.  This part needs work.

Is the goal measurable?  No, it's not.  I didn't say how I would determine if I organized my office or not.  What counts as organized?  I need to write down more specifics about how I would measure my success.

Is the goal attainable?  This is not a huge project and it's definitely something I can do in a month.  I would say this is something I can achieve if I work at it.

Is it realistic?  Yes, this is a realistic goal.  I have all the resources I need (or the ability to buy what I need) and organizing my office is something that I know I can realistically do alone.

Is it timely?  Yes, I have set a time frame to when I need to achieve this goal (by the end of the month).

So this is this a SMART goal?  I would say yes and no.  It is attainable, realistic, and timely, but it is not specific or measurable.  I should have laid out a better plan on how I would organize my office and how I would measure when I was done.  So rather than simply saying one of my May goals was to organize my office, I should have said, "during the month of May, I would like to organize my office by filing all loose paperwork and decluttering my desk".  

This new goal is specific because I laid out what I meant by organizing, it's measurable because I know I will have completed the task when I've decluttered my desk and filed all my loose paperwork, and we've already determined the goals was attainable, realistic, and timely.  

Setting SMART goals can be applied to both your personal and professional life and it can be applied to both short and long term goals.  Want to get a raise; great!  Lay out a goal that will specifically guide you there and make sure to set a time frame.  You can achieve your goals, you just need a little planning to get started.

Have you ever set a SMART goal?  How did it go?  If you haven't, do you think you will now?

Elizabeth blogs about her cat, love, food, and occasionally libraries at Adventures in Life, Love, and Librarianship.  She is also tweeting all the randomness that doesn't make it on her blog as LibrarianLizy.

Visit Life...Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

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