New Year, New Me isn’t a mantra I bring into each new year, but it works for some people. Rather, I prefer to think about what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months and create goals for myself that are attainable.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In 1981, George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company, published a paper called, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” In the document, he introduces S.M.A.R.T. goals as a tool to create criteria to help improve the chances of succeeding in accomplishing a goal.
It’s brilliant in its simplicity and something anyone can do.
But why wait until the new year to create and begin implementing your goals?
For me, it’s the promise of a fresh start with the new year. Sure, each day is a new beginning, but I don’t want to change my goals or my life every day. Planning is important to succeed. I love being organized and well versed in what I need to do to achieve my goals.
I can’t do that every day. Failing to plan is planning to fail for this girl.
How many goals you choose for yourself is up to you and how you work. I usually have 3–6 actionable goals for the year, depending on where I am in life and where I want to be by the end of the year. Remember, these goals need to be attainable. You may choose “Writing 12 short stories” as one of your goals, but you can’t include, “and have them published by a publishing house”, as that relies on someone else to make it happen.
You can’t control what someone else will do.
Writing 12 short stories checks off all the factors.
You’re writing 12 stories by the end of the year.
You committed to 12 and can mark one off your list each time you finish.
Just one short story per month, and you’ve reached your goal.
You’re a writer, so write to become a better writer and increase your portfolio.
It’s a yearly goal, there are 12 months in the year. One story per month, you can complete it in a timely manner.
The key, for me, is planning. This year, I’m using Barbara Sher’s perfect day exercise to kick off my goal planning. Shaunta Grimes wrote about this recently, and I find it’s helping me pair down my goals. The exercise asks you to look into the future and plan your perfect day based on where you see yourself then. Like the SMART goals, it is for you, not everyone around you.
Although the exercise asks you to look further into the future than one year, it can still be helpful in creating your annual goals. Whatever your five-year goals may be, you must take actionable steps to achieve them in the short term. Use this to create goals for the next year that get you closer to your five-year plan.
There are two days remaining in this year, will you plan for the next year?