It’s here, on day 17 of our 31 Days of Goal-Setting challenge, that we start getting into what I think is the fun stuff. It’s time to take what we’ve learned by looking inward and looking backwards, and use it to look forward! Hooray!
Today’s question is: Brainstorm – who do you want to be? How do you want to feel?
Since we’re getting into goal-setting territory, let me take a moment to talk about SMART goals.
If you’ve ever read about goal-setting, you’ve probably seen SMART goals mentioned as the gold standard. If you read five articles on SMART goals you’ll probably see five different definitions of the acronym terms, but here’s my favorite version:
- Specific (you understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve)
- Measurable (you have a clear way of telling when you’ve achieved it)
- Actionable (you have a clear path forward of how you will go about achieving it)
- Realistic or Relevant (I like both – you feel this goal is possible to achieve, you care about achieving it, and it will get you where you want to be)
- Time-bound (you have a deadline of when you’ll achieve this goal)
Sounds good! A very reasonable framework! But today, what you are brainstorming are not SMART goals. They’re far from SMART, in fact. If you have a goal that can be time-bound and is easily measurable, it probably doesn’t belong on this list.
I deliberately split out identity goals from dreams and achievement goals because otherwise it’s really easy to make your achievements your identity. What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing…until you get fired, or don’t get the big gig, or get divorced, or the stock market crashes, and you feel like you’re lost your identity along with your goals.
A word on specificity. Make sure you’re using language that make sense to you. If a certain word has personal connotations that make a statement meaningful to you, perfect! Someone else, just glancing at your list, may not get exactly what you mean, and that’s okay! You’re not writing this for anyone else. So long as YOU are perfectly clear on what you mean, you are in good shape.