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Happy New Year to every lucky person who accidentally stumbles across this blog! I’m still in awe of how quickly time is going by, we’ve entered into an entirely new year, and the first week of it is already almost over! 

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It’s hard not to reflect on the year when it’s coming to an end. In 2017’s final days, I looked back and realized, I hadn’t accomplished much, well at least not anything significant. It can be a bit disappointing, but there wouldn’t be anything more disappointing than not learning from it; taking away something from the old year, and mastering it in the new year, and years to come. I had an epiphany, and I realized it wasn’t that I had no ambition, or that I was incapable, it was because I had not set any solid goals for myself. I had a few things in mind I wanted to see realized before the end of the year, and I actively pursued them, but I wasn’t SMART about it, and so the promise of having these things come into fruition were nearly impossible or more difficult to achieve.

So this year, I’m doing things differently, I’m doing things SMART. Very similar to the phrase etched in every students mind, “don’t study hard, study smart”, life and your life goals follow a much similar fate. No matter how hard you may try, if there is no structure and organization in your method of retaining information, you probably won’t succeed. Much like studying, there needs to be a format in how you plan and execute a goal. On the subject of school and studying, the acronym S.M.A.R.T may not be new to you and has probably been taught in many of your courses/subjects from an early stage. If you didn’t know…

S.M.A.R.T stands for:
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Timely.

Specific; The goal should not be vague, and must target a particular area you wish to improve on. The goal should be able to answer; who, what, when, where, how. Define your goal in great detail. An example of a weak goal and common mistake many including myself make is “get fit” (very vague). Who will be included in this goal(solo/with a partner)? What do you want to achieve from getting fit (less fat, more muscle, more energy, toned arms/legs)? When will you be exercising (daily, every other day, twice a week)? Where will you work out (at home/gym)? Why do you want to become fit (the reason should always be self-motivated, not because of other people)? How will you accomplish the goal (what will keep you motivated/what will keep you consistent)?

Measurable; How will you measure the success of your goal? Measuring the outcome may not always be quantifiable, in which case you should analyze what it is you’re trying to accomplish. For instance improving/strengthening relationships with friends may be measure in the end by how you feel about the friend. Do you feel closer/more connected? Do you feel a sense of security with your friend? Can you go to that friend for advice, and be able to reciprocate? Not quantifiable, but still measurable.

Attainable; while goals are each within themselves a challenge, they should be within reach, and able to be completed. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself is practically setting yourself up for failure. Nothing is impossible, but you can’t achieve something that isn’t practical if your current circumstances don’t allow it. For instance; if you’re planning on saving $1,500 a month, and your salary is $1,500, the likelihood of saving every penny earned is not realistic. You’re bound to spend a few dollars from your income for expenses or other wants. Set goals that are possible and reachable with the resources that you have; assess your limitations. A challenge is always good, but don’t frustrate yourself trying to accomplish something that you probably can’t get done this year.

Relevant; Goals are all about a bigger picture, each goal guides you closer to where you see yourself in the distant or near future. Therefore, each goal you set for yourself should be in alignment with where you see your overall life goal. Is this goal worth the effort for the bigger picture? Is it minuscule and irrelevant to the bigger goal? Assess the relevance of your goal to your overall life-journey.

Timely; Each goal should have a rough deadline or a time-frame, otherwise you’ll end up going into 2019 with these same goals. Goals can be long-term and some short-term, the latter should be given priority, especially if it can only be done in a certain time-period (Eg. registering for a course to advance your academic career/applying for a scholarship to improve your financial burden).

While this may not be new to some, to others it might be new in how they may integrate it with their goals for this year. Putting your goals into perspective by asking “Is it SMART?” will certainly help you create a more in depth understanding of how you can have a successful and fulfilling year.

Not only should you think SMART, but categorizing your goals also creates a clearer vision and you can actually visualize each goal and what category of improvement they belong to. Creating a clear cut vision might help drastically in decluttering your mind, and putting your goals into sections so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by what you have to accomplish for the year. Here are a few common categories for your goals:

Spiritual & Mental Wellness
Physical Health
Career (Academic/Professional)
Business
Financial
Family
Social/Relationships
Personal Development (Character Development, Emotional Development, Intellectual)
Passion Projects
Travel

By the end of the year, I’m certain that you and I would have accomplished half, if not more than half of the goals we’ve set out. If you want to be smartER for the following year, 2019; Evaluate and Review the goals that you set, and accomplished in 2018.

Happy New Year again guys, and all the best this year!

x

Hi!
I'm Erica!

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