November 30th, 2011
It’s that time of year in my real world job where we’re asked: Have you met the goals drafted in your “Great Expectations Agreement” (note: this is a fictional name for the contract we write-up )?
It’s also the time where we’re asked to establish new goals, to challenge ourselves to learn from our accomplishments and raise the bar for personal achievement.
So, I’m sure many of you have heard of SMART objectives? Maybe, maybe not? It’s something my company uses to help us identify Specific and clear goals (with regards to employee performance and expectations) that are Measurable in quantity, quality or time, they are Achievable, practical and realistic while being Results oriented and are Time bound with a target date for completion.
I started thinking about this in terms of my writing. For instance, I had signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month, attempting and succeeding in my goal to write 50k words in 30 days or less. Is the goal of writing 50k in 30 days achievable for everyone? No, everyone’s circumstances are different. Even I had my moments where I questioned whether or not I would finish. However, the NaNoWriMo 50k in 30 days is a fine example of the SMART guidelines in action. The NaNo model gives us a structure to set ourselves up for writing success, how to make our goals SMART-er
That’s what I want to do, make my writing goals SMART-er.
So, my goal for the month of December will be to write one 5k short story and submit it on deadline by the 31st. This goal isn’t a “wishful thinking” one or vague, like saying “I’ll write more” or “I’ll write faster”, but rather, this goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results oriented and Time bound for success.
We set goals as a way to make a commitment to ourselves, as a way to stretch and grow our knowledge and skill sets. And regardless if we’re writers or not, we all want to succeed in our goals, right? So why set target achievements too high or have unrealistic expectations as to what we can accomplish? 50k in 30 days? That might be a bit much to ask of someone who only has an hour each day to write. But 5k in 31 days? That could definitely be attainable for some. Like me, hehe! And after participating in NaNo, I’ve learned what goals are realistic for someone like me, what goals push me to succeed and what kind of goals only doom me to failure.
So, with New Years Eve on fast approach, well, ’tis the season to set goals and resolutions, hehehe! How about resolving to make your goals SMART-er?