I’m sure by now you’ve heard the acronym SMART when referring to goals. That means that your goals should be:
Example: Instead of, I’d love to lose some weight this year, a SMART goal would be: I’ll lose 15 pounds by July 1st.
My Problem With SMART Goals
Really, I don’t have so much of a problem with them….as much as I think simply “SMARTing” your goals doesn’t necessarily fit our community. Don’t SMART goals sound—well, there’s no nice way to say this—boring? And as creatives, we want more than that from our goals, don’t we?
Here are five ways to create better goals in 2015 that’ll motivate you to get up and start moving!
Let’s start with this advice from Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. In an interview recently, Mayer said that she liked goals that “scared her.”
I love that idea. Scare yourself in 2015 by setting big, bold goals.
It’s easy to fall into the excuses trap:
– I’ll do it when my kids leave the house, when I have more money, more time, etc…
– I’ll be ready as soon as I “study/prepare” just a little bit more…
– I’ll go after what I really want when I really feel up to the challenge…
But over the years, I’ve realized just how short life is, haven’t you? If you don’t challenge yourself to push the envelope right here and right now, when WILL you start moving?
Push For More
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” = Michelangelo
Michelango warned that the problem with goals wasn’t in setting them too big, but in setting them too small. Think about it this way: if you follow Marissa Mayer’s lead and set a big, scary goal and you only r
each 90% of it, you’ll most certainly beat 100% of the sure, safe goal. Reach for more.
The best way I’ve found to do this is to write down my initial goal, let it sit for 24 hours, and then come back and ask, “What would I do if I were really stretching?” Instead of completing a short story, what if I wrote my novel? Instead of reaching the goal by the end of the year, what if I accomplished it by September?
Succeed, even if you fail.
Add Through Subtraction
“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings
Often my clients forget a whole different set of goals: to shed unwanted activities. We’re so busy trying to add more that we end up with both a messy calendar and a deep seated depression because we’re trying to tackle everything.
Don’t fill up your phone with random apps. You and I both know that technology won’t solve your problems, but adding one or two automation tools can help you focus more on the big picture: how to expand in 2015.Make your life easier by simplifying. Your money should be the first place you simplify. A few weeks ago I discovered a free tool called Finovera that will help you compile all of your bill statements in one place and set alerts to use them. Another hot app last year, Acorns, let’s you round up your bills to the nearest $1 or $5 and invest the change for your future. A third, Mint, will automate much of your budgeting.
Simplify and streamline.
Focus On Strengths
“We don’t see the things the way they are. We see things the way WE are.” – Talmud
Let’s face it: we aren’t going to change our internal selves very much. If we’re night owls, we won’t become morning people overnight. Why fight your character?
One big frustration people have with resolutions is that after filling up a page with shortcomings they feel obligated to list goals that will “fix” them. Lose weight. Squeeze more work into a day. Become a better speaker. Why not acknowledge your faults but also create goals that play on your unique talent?
If possible, delegate the parts of your life that represent your weaknesses. You’re a wonderful painter but can’t clean? Find a student looking for a job who’d work as an inexpensive maid to free up more time with your brush instead of taking out the trash.
Too many people waste time trying to correct our own innate human nature. Working against the flow will only frustrate you!
Realize your strengths.
Spend your time exploiting your unique talents.
Goal setting in January is nearly always marred by hurdles that don’t appear until later in the year. Why try to bite off a whole elephant at once? Instead, schedule milestones. If writing your novel seems like a huge job (and it is!), what if you commit to 30 pages every month? See how much easier that seems?
One of the reasons I really like milestones is human behavior. We don’t give up when we think we’re winning. If you schedule smaller, bite sized goals along the way, you’re more likely to stick with your plan than abandon it.
Get started! If you’d like, send me your goals and I’ll keep a copy. Together we’ll reach our most creative destinations in 2015.